Apple to drop Intel in 2015?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by avemestr, Jan 18, 2014.

  1. avemestr macrumors regular

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    #1
    Came across this article today: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13924_3-10264290-64.html

    There's an excellent quote from Jobs in 2005:

    "Looking ahead Intel has the strongest processor roadmap by far," Jobs said in a statement at the time. "It's been ten years since our transition to the PowerPC, and we think Intel's technology will help us create the best personal computers for the next ten years."

    So, will the Apple/Intel alliance come to an end in 2015?

    One can only hope, but most likely Apple will switch to ARM chips, but one could dream of a POWER8 desktop :) Most likely, though, we're stuck with Intel for the next several years.
     
  2. barkmonster macrumors 68020

    barkmonster

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    #2
    You're in cloud cuckoo land if you think they'll change to yet another CPU architecture. 68K -> PowerPC -> X86 (Intel)... AMD would still be X86, just a different vendor and CPU/Chipset family. ARM and Power8? Not a chance!
     
  3. trewyn15 macrumors 6502

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    #3
    Im not sure, sinces jobs has been gone apple has tended to go away from some of the things that he believed in.

    Althought I could see them going away from intel, I believe intel holds a big name in the industry just like apple themselves. Again like apple themselves, intel is liked and many people dont even know why they like them. They just like the name or heard cool things 10 years ago.

    In my opinion the computer consumer market isnt about what is the most for the money or the best performer, its about whats cool.

    Now I dont feel that way for everyone because there are so many people that actually know what they're looking for and paying for as well (most of us on this site for example).
     
  4. takeshi7 macrumors newbie

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    #4
    I can always dream that they'd go back to PowerPC, but the truth is probably more likely everything will go to ARM. A Mac with an nVidia Tegra K1 would be interesting to see.
     
  5. Goftrey macrumors 68000

    Goftrey

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    #5
    I predict ARM will become the standard one day. But that day is a LONG way away. Apple are relatively happy, Intel are relatively happy. Why change?
     
  6. avemestr thread starter macrumors regular

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    @barkmonster

    Funny.

    Of course my post was tongue-in-cheek, but you actually provided a solid argument that Apple might switch away from Intel in the future. Their track record shows, that they don't mind switching architecture, if it benefit their business.

    In 2020 all Apple devices will be based on non-Intel processors. Most likely various ARM families.
     
  7. barkmonster, Jan 18, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2014

    barkmonster macrumors 68020

    barkmonster

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    #7
    How you can misinterpret from what I wrote that they'd switch from X86 based to ARM or Power8 is beyond me, you need to read into the architecture itself to see how insane and impractical that would be.

    There's no way they'd switch from X86 now. What ARM or Power8 CPU do you think can not only offer significantly more CPU power than current Xeon and Haswell CPUs (Or their AMD equivalent), emulate the X86 code to an acceptable level to make the transition possible in the first place and still be competitive with the power of existing systems?

    PowerPC destroyed 68K so emulation was possible, Intel/X86 destroyed the PowerPC so again, emulation was possible at more than acceptable speeds, what ARM or Power8 CPUs are going to be able emulate 12 core Xeons or Quad i7s without being 2 x faster or more than either?

    You're dreaming. Universal Binaries only work when apps are completely re-written so that's no help and as so many apps are cross-platform, you'd lose a huge amount of existing software overnight because it just wouldn't be viable for a lot of software to be re-written from scratch.

    Of course if ARM or Power8 come out with a quantum CPU in the meantime, you'll have a point. Until then, remember the days of VirtualPC and then imagine your shiny new Mac running your old Macs software at snail pace speeds because the emulation can't even keep up to run a basic text editor or display a simple web page at acceptable speeds.
     
  8. rjcalifornia macrumors 6502a

    rjcalifornia

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    #8
    Yeah I don't think so. Intel is focusing resources in low powered fast processors. Intel is seeing ARM as a threat and they are trying to make a low powered and fast chip to compete with ARM, and Apple knows that. This isn't like the AIM alliance, where they were focusing on big and high powered chips, with no interest in the desktop or laptop market.
     
  9. avemestr thread starter macrumors regular

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    #9
    You need to read what I write, and not what you think I write.

    You pointed out, that Apple have changed arch before. Based on that I concluded that they could change arch again (have a look at how Jobs praised PPC until the very moment they dropped it).

    I'm not talking "now", but in the future. The only certainty we have in the computer business is that change is coming. Always.

    None.

    But as far as I recall Apple didn't switch to Intel because of processing power, but because of less electrical power consumption (and less heat). AIM was playing one game, when Intel managed to change the rules. Who can deny the possibility, that Apple, Google, ARM, Nvidia, or somebody else (or all of them ganging up against Intel) is able to change the game again?
     
  10. barkmonster macrumors 68020

    barkmonster

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    #10
    Apple obviously gained native X86 code compatibility switching to Intel. Virtualisation, Bootcamp, a multitude of open source software became a reality without emulation overnight. They could have been planning a switch Intel for years.

    Think about it, get them hooked on iGadgets, offer iTunes for free, then allow PC switchers to run their existing software on the same CPUs they're used to with windows.
     
  11. avemestr, Jan 18, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2014

    avemestr thread starter macrumors regular

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    #11
    You're right. When Jobs announced the switch to Intel he pointed out, that all OS X versions going back 5 years had been compiled for both PPC and Intel.

    (Who knows, they might be doing ARM compiles of the full OS X as we speak :) )

    Yes. I was one of the millions of Wintel-users that didn't switch to Apple before it became easy to run Windows virtualised with reasonable performance.

    But things are changing. Windows also comes in both i386 and ARM flavours now and both desktop and laptop sales are declining very fast , including Apple computers.

    You are of course right, that Apple will not switch to PPC or ARM tomorrow for their desktop/laptop offerings. But a lot of changes are happening in the market at the moment, so I find it hard to believe we'll be at status quo in 5 years time.


    EDIT:
    Also, note the shift of focus to GPUs in the nMP. CPU-bound geekbench-performance:

    Fastest 2013 nMP: 33000
    Fastest 2010 MP: 27000

    The nMP of course suffers from the fact, that it only have one CPU. Instead Apple has tried pushing OpenCL.

    So, for the next 4 years Apple will let people grow accustomed to their workstation only having one CPU, and then *BAM* they release a dual-processor Power8 machine which wipes the floor with the nMP3, even if Rosetta2 needs to be running. Also, all the OpenCL-optimized apps would hardly notice the switch in CPU arch. :D
     
  12. jrsx macrumors 65816

    jrsx

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    #12
    Some people I know who's dads work for Intel say that it's been a rough year working with Apple lately. They were having some trouble keeping up with all of Apple's new computers, and then the Surface as well. But it seems like they're up to pretty good speed still. It would be amazing to see POWER8 one day...

    One can only dream! That would be incredible to see the headline: "APPLE SWITCHES TO ARM PROCESSORS!"
     
  13. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

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    #13
    PowerPC was dying when Apple switched to Intel. All of the Intel to ARM rumors stem from the fact that Intel doesn't have a low-power solution. They were caught completely off guard with low-powered devices, instead always going for more megahertz.

    They won't make that mistake again. They'll focus on where the hockey puck is going, not where it is. Apple won't need to switch.
     
  14. OneMoreMacUser macrumors member

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    #14
    You guys have to also remmember that apples iPhone 5s was the first 64-bit arm device, and if you had a bunch of room (like in a mac) compared to a small area (a phone) you could make it pretty cheap, or you could pack in a TON of power for processing and graphics, I mean look at the nexus 10 display!
     
  15. old-wiz macrumors G3

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    #15
    I can't picture Apple dropping Intel that quickly; there is nothing to switch to at the moment that provides the same power and low tdp. Apple is almost certain to stick to Intel for the next several years.

    We won't see a power8 - those days are gone - they could never turn out the chips in the quantity apple would need
     
  16. Zotaccian macrumors 6502a

    Zotaccian

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    #16
    Apple switched to Intel because they wanted to make best possible personal computers. G4 was lagging behind competition and G5 needed massive cooling plus never made to laptops. I think Apple just thought "f##k it" and chose to use manufacturer who could offer competitive CPU's in laptops, desktops as well as in servers. Motorola and IBM could not deliver.

    Now ARM is designed for low power devices, it is evolving but Intel ain't stopping either. Some ARM CPU's are already powerful enough and laptops are build by using them, but such laptops, as far as I know, can only be considered as low end laptops by their performance....
     
  17. Anonymous Freak macrumors 601

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    #18
    "that quickly"...

    The irony is that they were on 68k for only 12 years. From the first original Macintosh in 1984 to the discontinuation of the PowerBook 190 in 1996.

    PowerPC was also only 12 years. From the 6100/7100/8100 in 1994 to the discontinuation of the entire PPC line in 2006.

    If anything, Apple is due! They should introduce a new architecture for the main Mac line in 2014 if they keep with tradition. Of course, Intel did come a LITTLE late, so we might see 2016 or even 2018 and still be "on track" based on historical record.

    .

    Of course, all of that may be factual, but it is also tongue-in-cheek. The prior transitions were made because Apple was using a "minority" architecture that had reached its dead-end in terms of desktop+mobile computer development. Yes, both lines still exist - but neither line is developed for use in a mainstream desktop or mobile computer. Intel has a strong roadmap ahead, and is not going to be overtaken by another architecture in the foreseeable future.

    ARM does have the possibility, but not by 2015. Doubtful even by 2020.

    Yes, A7 is the fastest mobile/ARM chip ever made. But it still absolutely trails behind even the slowest x86 chips. (Note that Apple has emphasized GPU performance over raw CPU performance, and *THAT* is where it is competitive - but only with the lowest end.)
     
  18. MrPilot macrumors 6502

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    #19
    I wouldn't be surpriced if Apple switchted to ARM and completely abandon Intel a year or so after.

    Apple has for a long time used forced obsolescence to push sales... this would definately be a very good opportunity.
     
  19. RedCroissant Suspended

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    #20
    Of course they're going to switch!

    Well the trend has been and is moving more toward mobile computing and the decreased power consumption of CPUs in those devices. Now they might now switch completely fro Intel until the find a manufacturer that can make comparable CPUs, but they're already not using Intel CPUS in their non-Mac line and I don't see why they wouldn't be able to design and manufacture their own chip that could one day serve to replace Intel CPUs in their laptops that require less power; like the MBA. The Mac Mini would also be a good candidate for this. But the Mac Pro will most likely NOT be based on anything but Intel for some time to come since the need for low power CPUs is not there for the professional level machines.

    The Power 8 (as has been discussed in another thread I think) is way too big and power hungry for a machine at the moment and I think is only a server class CPU at the moment until IBM decides to make a variant of it.
     
  20. old-wiz macrumors G3

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    #21
    Abandoning intel would kill Bootcamp and easy funcitoning of Parallels..not going to happen any time soon.
     
  21. Anonymous Freak macrumors 601

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    #22
    Devil's advocate: There is Windows RT now. And Microsoft has said that if/when ARM "takes off" on the desktop/server realm, that they would port the "mainline" versions of Windows, too.

    (Note: I don't actually believe that Apple will switch to ARM any time soon, certainly no earlier than 2020, but Boot Camp isn't the reason why.)
     
  22. jrsx macrumors 65816

    jrsx

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    #23
    Intel and Apple are pretty well of right now. Intel may fear that Apple will take up ARM in the future, but right now no switching will happen. If Apple's happy, they'll continue on for the next 6 years, at least.
     
  23. mcnallym macrumors 6502a

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    #24
    There have already been siting of MBA like machines with ARM processors, so clearly already is an OSX on ARM available, however we are still some way off seeing ARM chips powerful enough to replace the i5/i7 in the mini and iMac, and way off seeing Xeon like chips.

    Microsoft doesn't seem to making much progress with Windows RT either.

    Apple are also using the capability of the i5/i7 GPU's QuickSync for the Airplay so would have to recode that capability as well.

    At the moment there is no compelling reason to change CPU vendor.

    68000 to PPC - Motorola stopped development of the 68000 series processors
    PPC to Intel - Chip development not keeping pace - no G6 available, no suitable cpu's for further laptops.

    As long as Intel develop the chips that Apple need then don't see any reason for Apple to leave Intel.

    I am sure they will continue to look at AMD CPU's, same way as they play AMD and Nvidia off against each other for the GPU's, however x86/x86-64 is pretty much locked in for mainstream.
     

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