Apple Developing ARM-Based Mac Chip to Handle Low-Power Functions Alongside Intel Processors

Constable Odo

macrumors 6502
Mar 28, 2008
409
179
Looks like the Apple-is-Doomed circlejerk is going to need some extra courage in the coming months.
I'm sure those dumbasses are going to do whatever possible to drag Apple's value back down. Fake news works pretty well on Apple shares. It's only going to take a few days for the Apple-is-Doomed crowd to be spouting their crap anew. How Apple will never be able to sell another iPhone or how AppleWatch is one of Apple's biggest failed products on record or some other value-stealing story about Apple. Those Apple-hating turds are nothing but crooks or D-bags trying to get people to lose their money.
 
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coolfactor

macrumors 601
Jul 29, 2002
4,299
3,844
Vancouver, BC
MacOS doesn't have as large of a software ecosystem as, say, Windows so Apple can afford to risk switching CPU architecture away from x86-64 to ARM. Wouldn't be surprised if Apple follow Google Chromebook that's architecture agnostic and can run on x86-64 or ARM.
Disagree with this reasoning. macOS still has a massive software base, so it's not the size that matters, but the transition plan.

I'm happy to hear that they are exploring non-traditional computer designs. Build in specialized processors to really maximize the potential of the device without it being fully powered-up in every way. Think of it like multiple system working together in unison.

I don't believe that Siri on the Mac will truly take hold unless there's dedicated, low-power voice recognition on the local system, not relying on an internet connection.
 

Daniel Reed

macrumors 6502
Sep 9, 2016
278
283
San Francisco
MBPro 2016 = Transitional Product
MBPro 20xx = Fusion Product with x86 and ARM
MBPro 20xx = ARM Product

This is just the transition occurring.
Yup, and lets not forget, Intel makes more then just CPU chips - Thunderbolt!

AND, Intel will fab the X86 replacement ARM SOC/CPU for :apple:
 

MagnusVonMagnum

macrumors 603
Jun 18, 2007
5,144
1,356
MacOS doesn't have as large of a software ecosystem as, say, Windows so Apple can afford to risk switching CPU architecture away from x86-64 to ARM. Wouldn't be surprised if Apple follow Google Chromebook that's architecture agnostic and can run on x86-64 or ARM.
Switching to ARM would kill off the Mac permanently for probably half the user base if not more. I would drop the Mac in a heartbeat, for instance (and I hardly use Windows at all, mostly just for some old games). The ability to run Windows (even if only in something like VMWare) at full or close to full speed along with even more important, the ability to more easily port Windows software is what made/makes the modern Intel Mac so versatile and changed the Mac from a glorified TOY (outside a few Pro Apps, many of which Apple made sure no longer exist since they seem to think Pros don't matter) into an actual competitive computer.

Really, even if you never touch Windows itself, the ease of PORTING software that made the switch to Intel not just a good idea, but a GREAT one given the market size of the Mac. Before 2006, you could run a few commercial packages and some limited ported games by Aspyr. Not long after 2006, the amount of commercial software ported to the Mac (including Steam and a LOT of games by other companies) went through the roof because it's so much simpler to port software for the same processor and easier still for things like games that are both Intel and OpenGL (e.g. Half Life series).

Move Macs away from Intel and you are going to lose over half your market (I mean developers) overnight and it won't likely come back because there is no ARM market of commercial software to port FROM. You put all the onus back on the developers to port TO and that's all the difference. You're right back to 2005 with a limited software base and users that need/want Windows compatibility will jump ship overnight. Boot Camp will be 'NO CAMP' and macOS will start to look like Linux's lesser known cousin that we might as well call DUMBIX because that's what the idea is, dumb. Do we really want to have to run an emulator (again) to use existing software? It was worth it before because it meant a lot of new software would be ported from Windows. NO ONE wants to port to ARM on top of porting from Windows just so Apple can make a few extra bucks in house or make their notebooks even thinner.

I'm sure some Mac users that do little more than email, Facebook, browsing and Twitter won't know or care what the difference is as they would be pretty much unaffected either way and I'm sure more than a couple of Mac users would love to share NOTHING with Windows (including the common CPU and maybe even the bus standards and even printer standards like the "good old days" when the Mac OS sucked to high hell but Mac users acted like it was awesome compared to DOS (hard to say there, but I had an Amiga so both sucked to me). But 'normal' people that aren't obsessed with Apple have absolutely no reason to like the idea of moving to ARM what-so-ever. What's good about it? What's even SLIGHTLY good about it? Possible slightly better battery life on notebooks? That's about it. Honestly, I have NO CLUE why so many people continually bring up the idea and worse yet seem to LIKE the idea. WTF are you people thinking? You want the Mac to die off permanently? That's EXACTLY what would happen. They would be FORCED to merge iOS and macOS because the only software that would be written for ARM would be for iPhones and iPads.
 

69650

Suspended
Mar 23, 2006
3,342
1,861
England
Apple stopped being a serious computer company long ago. Now they make high tech toys for rich people, most of whom know nothing about technology. Why? Because that's the way you make 40% margin. Are we stupid for buying into it? Yes probably (including me).
 

IG88

macrumors 6502
Nov 4, 2016
490
479

itguy06

macrumors 6502a
Mar 8, 2006
800
1,048
Move Macs away from Intel and you are going to lose over half your market (I mean developers) overnight and it won't likely come back because there is no ARM market of commercial software to port FROM. You put all the onus back on the developers to port TO and that's all the difference. You're right back to 2005 with a limited software base and users that need/want Windows compatibility will jump ship overnight.
I've been a Mac guy since 2002 and I never had issues finding software but I don't game.

Here's where your theory falls flat on its face:
  • Mac didn't suck prior to 2006.
  • Nearly all developers, including MS, Adobe, Autodesk, etc. already code for ARM. They have iOS Apps which are ARM Apps.
  • During the PPC -> Intel transition Apple stressed the ease of transition.
  • Rosetta existed for many years and ran PPC stuff very well.
  • Initial demos of x86 on ARM from MS are promising and I bet Apple has similar stuff making performance fine.
  • Win10 will run on ARM and even MS is pushing that so developers will be versed in both CPU's.
  • It wasn't until after the release of the iPhone (2007) that Mac sales really took off. Halo effect is real.
  • I don't think people care what is in their computer as long as it performs well and lasts a while (both on battery and in years)
 

blackcrayon

macrumors 68000
Mar 10, 2003
1,991
1,483
Disagree with this reasoning. macOS still has a massive software base, so it's not the size that matters, but the transition plan.

I'm happy to hear that they are exploring non-traditional computer designs. Build in specialized processors to really maximize the potential of the device without it being fully powered-up in every way. Think of it like multiple system working together in unison.
Same here. Sortof reminds me of Apple with the Quadra 660 | 840/AV Macs way back. With their custom DSP chips (which may not have been designed by Apple, but same idea of including non-standard processing parts since they can guarantee their own OS supports it).
 

a.gomez

macrumors 6502a
Oct 10, 2008
924
726
seeing how the iPad pro has complete access to an ARM chip and nothing has come of it outside: A- Time wasting games for people who seem to have nothing better to do with their free time. B- Water down Mickey Mouse Apps. Chances are This will Just power another random nonsensical feature to join the touchbar stupidity (for an extra 200 dollars)
 

Delgibbons

macrumors 6502a
Dec 14, 2016
683
1,437
London
I foresee Apple basically compiling an ARM MacOS that runs on an ARM-Intel Combo machine. In other words, macOS will run natively on ARM along with web, email, etc. It will be super efficient. Like an iPad. But it will be macOS.

Photoshop and any power-hungry apps will run inside macOS in an intel wrapper. Totally transparent to the user. No recompiling needed. Like running PPC on intel was, except it fires up the (now secondary) Intel rocessor only when needed and saves power giving the best battery life.

The only question is if Apple would ever build an ARM-only MacBook that either could not run intel (like Microsoft tried) or emulated it fast enough to use.

Does the average consumer need an Intel processor? Probably not if an iPad can do what they need, but they just don't like iOS and the touch interface.

Does Apple really need Intel to succeed? If they're letting the Mac pro die, how long before the iMac follows?




Just thinking out loud....
As I mentioned earlier Microsoft have learned from their mistakes and soon Windows 10 will run on ARM and run native x86 code applications:- (relevant time 4:35)

[doublepost=1485999656][/doublepost]I can see ARM working for Chromebook style or standard consumer computing scenarios but for high end music composition workstations and video editing/After Effects.....still going to need that Intel chip.
 
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TheShadowKnows!

macrumors 6502a
Sep 30, 2014
800
1,563
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Switching to ARM would kill off the Mac permanently for probably half the user base if not more. I would drop the Mac in a heartbeat, for instance (and I hardly use Windows at all, mostly just for some old games). The ability to run Windows (even if only in something like VMWare) at full or close to full speed along with even more important, the ability to more easily port Windows software is what made/makes the modern Intel Mac so versatile and changed the Mac from a glorified TOY (outside a few Pro Apps, many of which Apple made sure no longer exist since they seem to think Pros don't matter) into an actual competitive computer.
...
I'm sure some Mac users that do little more than email, Facebook, browsing and Twitter won't know or care what the difference is as they would be pretty much unaffected either way and I'm sure more than a couple of Mac users would love to share NOTHING with Windows (including the common CPU and maybe even the bus standards and even printer standards like the "good old days" when the Mac OS sucked to high hell but Mac users acted like it was awesome compared to DOS (hard to say there, but I had an Amiga so both sucked to me). But 'normal' people that aren't obsessed with Apple have absolutely no reason to like the idea of moving to ARM what-so-ever. What's good about it? What's even SLIGHTLY good about it? Possible slightly better battery life on notebooks? That's about it. Honestly, I have NO CLUE why so many people continually bring up the idea and worse yet seem to LIKE the idea. WTF are you people thinking? You want the Mac to die off permanently? That's EXACTLY what would happen. They would be FORCED to merge iOS and macOS because the only software that would be written for ARM would be for iPhones and iPads.
MagnusVonMagnum, you freaking nailed-it!

I run a Windows VM using Parallels Desktop for Mac. And, as benefit, I gain a duo-persona environment, with the underlying devices, filesystem, networks, and shares managed exclusively by MacOS -- with no need for low-level Windows drivers.

You take away that capability, and I am a goner.
 
Last edited:

OldSchoolMacGuy

Suspended
Jul 10, 2008
4,202
8,906
Please come out by spring 2018! I need a laptop desperately and can wait till then but not much longer
If you need a laptop bad, just buy it. There's no use waiting until then as there is ZERO guarantee it'll happen at that point. It could be years.

Look at how long most of these rumors have been around and none have come true.

If you need it, buy it now. If you can hold off, then you don't really need it.
 

Cosmosent

macrumors 6502a
Apr 20, 2016
922
956
La Jolla, CA
The author of this article completely missed the key point ... its purpose it to UNIFY image processing & Game app GPU processing across iOS / tvOS & macOS-based products !
 

Wowereit

macrumors 6502a
Feb 1, 2016
893
1,339
Germany
Also this report from PC World: "Even with a battery that is 25 percent larger, the older 2013 MacBook Pro 15 can’t beat the efficiency of the new 2015 MacBook Pro 15 model."

So in other words, Apple made the battery smaller and improved power efficiency rather than improve power AND making the battery thicker. Okay.
Problem being: you can optimize power consumption in idle mode and during low usage way more than at peak performance.

So exaggerating a bit, 2025 MBP will be 0.4 cm thick with 10 hours of browsing, 30 days of standby and 5 minutes when fully utilized.
 
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dgdosen

macrumors 68000
Dec 13, 2003
1,587
361
Seattle
Security aside - I like this. My Amazon Echo is always on, or 'triggerable', why not your mac? Having computing resources always available even when asleep means there are more ways to leverage the the resources for some solution. Refreshing your inbox is the tip of the iceberg. I'm no fan of the touchbar - but this can have many uses, especially in some iOT stack.
 

Paul Dawkins

Suspended
Dec 15, 2016
367
955
Stonehenge
So it begins ...
[doublepost=1486001892][/doublepost]
Switching to ARM would kill off the Mac permanently for probably half the user base if not more. I would drop the Mac in a heartbeat, for instance (and I hardly use Windows at all, mostly just for some old games). The ability to run Windows (even if only in something like VMWare) at full or close to full speed along with even more important, the ability to more easily port Windows software is what made/makes the modern Intel Mac so versatile and changed the Mac from a glorified TOY (outside a few Pro Apps, many of which Apple made sure no longer exist since they seem to think Pros don't matter) into an actual competitive computer.

Really, even if you never touch Windows itself, the ease of PORTING software that made the switch to Intel not just a good idea, but a GREAT one given the market size of the Mac. Before 2006, you could run a few commercial packages and some limited ported games by Aspyr. Not long after 2006, the amount of commercial software ported to the Mac (including Steam and a LOT of games by other companies) went through the roof because it's so much simpler to port software for the same processor and easier still for things like games that are both Intel and OpenGL (e.g. Half Life series).

Move Macs away from Intel and you are going to lose over half your market (I mean developers) overnight and it won't likely come back because there is no ARM market of commercial software to port FROM. You put all the onus back on the developers to port TO and that's all the difference. You're right back to 2005 with a limited software base and users that need/want Windows compatibility will jump ship overnight. Boot Camp will be 'NO CAMP' and macOS will start to look like Linux's lesser known cousin that we might as well call DUMBIX because that's what the idea is, dumb. Do we really want to have to run an emulator (again) to use existing software? It was worth it before because it meant a lot of new software would be ported from Windows. NO ONE wants to port to ARM on top of porting from Windows just so Apple can make a few extra bucks in house or make their notebooks even thinner.

I'm sure some Mac users that do little more than email, Facebook, browsing and Twitter won't know or care what the difference is as they would be pretty much unaffected either way and I'm sure more than a couple of Mac users would love to share NOTHING with Windows (including the common CPU and maybe even the bus standards and even printer standards like the "good old days" when the Mac OS sucked to high hell but Mac users acted like it was awesome compared to DOS (hard to say there, but I had an Amiga so both sucked to me). But 'normal' people that aren't obsessed with Apple have absolutely no reason to like the idea of moving to ARM what-so-ever. What's good about it? What's even SLIGHTLY good about it? Possible slightly better battery life on notebooks? That's about it. Honestly, I have NO CLUE why so many people continually bring up the idea and worse yet seem to LIKE the idea. WTF are you people thinking? You want the Mac to die off permanently? That's EXACTLY what would happen. They would be FORCED to merge iOS and macOS because the only software that would be written for ARM would be for iPhones and iPads.
If Microsoft is going to make Windows run on ARM then nothing changes for you.
 

Wowereit

macrumors 6502a
Feb 1, 2016
893
1,339
Germany
If Microsoft is going to make Windows run on ARM then nothing changes for you.
Windows 10 runs on ARM just fine today.
It's the same problem as in good old PPC to Intel days.
All your applications have to get partially rewritten or at least recompiled.
Microsoft wants to address this by developing emulation with close to native performance - something basically unheard of.

As long as I can't get developer access and throw random applications at it myself, consider me not convinced.

There is a chance that Intel might address all complaints about x86 with their FPGA-x86-Hybrid currently in development. FPGA could be the solution to lots of things.
 

rezwits

macrumors 6502a
Jul 10, 2007
635
324
Las Vegas
This is awesome news, dual CPU machines with x86_64+ARM that sounds amazing! I can't wait for this to be true. I love power nap already, but I SOOooo.... want more out of it! NICE NICE NICE