Apple to switch notebooks to ARM?

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by iMacmatician, May 5, 2011.

  1. iMacmatician macrumors 601

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    Jul 20, 2008
    #1
    (Someone let me know if this has already been posted and I missed it)

    Wow… before I clicked on the link I thought the report was saying Apple would switch to AMD… I'm taking this with a little grain of salt, but it seems interesting.

    http://semiaccurate.com/2011/05/05/apple-dumps-intel-from-laptop-lines/
     
  2. endless17 macrumors member

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    Mar 8, 2011
    #2
    i find that a little hard to believe at the moment - even with the rapid acceleration of ARM development, even by 2013 i can't imagine it'll come anywhere close to even Sandy Bridge's performance.

    also, worth noting that the article is tagged 'humor'
     
  3. NintendoFan macrumors regular

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    Massachusetts
    #3
    It's interesting that this comes on the heels of Intel's 3D transistors. Could lend credence to the whole A6 being fabbed by Intel. Or it might not. I think Apple's at the point and many people may be by 2013 where the processors will be "fast enough" especially for laptops, that I can see them doing this. They are already kind of proving it with the Air.

    But honestly, I don't know what Apple is privy to concerning Intel, but Ivy Bridge and by 2013 Haswell are pointing to being beasts of processors concerning low power consumption and speed.
     
  4. cotak macrumors regular

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    Feb 24, 2011
    #4
    Not before they make an iKatana because this is seppuku by CPU choice.

    You can say that the fast enough MBA is prove. It proves nothing. Ultra portable has always lagged main stream in performance since the class was created. Apple switch to ARM suddenly will have people using photo editing, video editing etc jumping ship to windows and PC like a mass of rat off a ship hit with a ton of burning dog poo.
     
  5. AppleScruff1 macrumors G3

    AppleScruff1

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    #5
    This will bring Apple one step closer to total control. That is their goal.
     
  6. *LTD* macrumors G4

    *LTD*

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    #6
    It's anyone and everyone's goal. Some are just better at achieving it.

    As for Apple's cpu plans, they shouldn't be any concern to anyone. Apple seems to know exactly what they're doing, and they certainly seem to know better than everyone else, even when critics swear they're wrong.
     
  7. AppleScruff1 macrumors G3

    AppleScruff1

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    #7
    I see that they've achieved it with you.
     
  8. roadbloc macrumors G3

    roadbloc

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    #8
    I hope not. Switching to ARM would only lead to further confusion and create more problems. Not to mention that ARM is just not suitable for running a full blown OS on it.

    So that is why I think this rumour is fake. Apple wouldn't be stupid enough to go through another chipset change, especially when this chipset doesn't benefit them in any way, like the PPC -> Intel switch did.
     
  9. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #9
    It makes little business sense to make yet another platform change. The switch over from PPC to intel disruptive enough. While the rosetta technology used, helped. It was not perfect.

    The huge boost apple enjoyed with the Mac line can be attributed in part because they're now with intel. Leaving that platform will put apple back in a similar position they were prior to the intel chipsets. Slower chips relying on foundries to produce chips in sufficient quantities for their lines. Motorola and IBM were unable to provide chips to apple in a timely fashion when they used the G3/G4/G5
     
  10. KnightWRX macrumors Pentium

    KnightWRX

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    #10
    Intel to ARM would be much less disruptive. In the case of PPC to Intel, the endianess issue probably caused a few headaches for 3rd parties. For ARM, Apple can keep the same endianess and unless 3rd parties have a lot of hand written assembly (doubtful for the vast majority of software in 2011), a recompile and re-link to the appropriate ARM ported frameworks should be all that is required.

    Commercial software vendors can use a clue from the open source world here : Open source software builds accross a vast number of processor architectures (ARM, PPC, MIPS, Alpha, x86, x86_64, ia64, PA-RISC, etc.. etc..). Make your software portable and you'll never have to port it at the last minute.
     
  11. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #11
    Perhaps but its the whole mentality of using non-intel chipsets that will scare away customers. Right now apple has a customer segment that they never had. Folks buying Macs solely for the hardware, they either run windows in bootcamp or in a VM. Switching to a different platform will cut them off.

    Then there's the general mom and pop type of consumers who would worry about buying something so nonstandard. I used to sell/fix computers in computer stores back in the day and that was one concern. They didn't voice it in a way saying the PPC chipset was underpowered compared to intel but rather apple was different and it may not be a wise move for them.
     
  12. rookiezzz macrumors regular

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    WA,USA
    #12
    My Opinion:

    1. Nvidia issues the new intel chipsets??
    Intel's starting to use their own vga and apple's famous for multimedia right?
    How many of u are going to hold until intel allow nvidia to reunite with intel again??

    2. Unique, I'm not sure about hackintosh back in the past when apple's still using g3/g4/g5 etc. The different architecture might give difficulties to they who want to simulate the os x..

    3. Profit, why??
    Nowadays, there're a lot of pirated mac apps and with new processor it could be different.. (maybe, just an opinion anyway)

    4. Cheaper Processor?
    Logically, if u use something in your product, which is famous and kind of the best in lay community, the price is dominating. If they use ARM processor, the RAW price to produce a computer might be cheaper and ... (profits??? lol)

    5. Apple's behavior for changing processors?
    Intel's processor for example, when you heard about the new icore family, you might think the c2d as an ancient core family. Guess what? from the posts i've seen from the rumor's page (I think it's still on the first page) most of them worried about the new feature, just like the old g series compatibility with the new macs' applications'.

    that's all i guess, thank you..
     
  13. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #13
    So far apple is getting in bed with AMD (ATI) for GPUS

    There weren't any and a "virtual PC" was done by emulation and not virtualization so performance was horrid

    No, unless apple and other vendors start embracing activation and other such technology, piracy is always going to be an issue on the apple platform.

    I'm guessing that intel is giving apple a hefty discount and apple has stuggled before with moto and ibm (as I noted) with producing volumes that they needed. So why bother buying cheap chips if you cannot get them in volume.
     
  14. *LTD* macrumors G4

    *LTD*

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    #14
    The last thing Apple's target market cares about is what name is stamped on the cpus. Intel is useful not for the name itself, but for compatibility, availability, and their roadmap for development. Apple did not leave IBM/Freescale because of the popularity (or lack thereof) of the name, or because of the brand. Apple left them because they had no coherent roadmap that fit Apple's needs.

    Now Apple is the most valuable company in tech. They have enough cash on hand to probably purchase some these chipmakers and go wherever they want.

    Does the cpu do the job? Is performance decent? If so, Apple gear SELLS, whether Mac, iPad, iPhone, etc. This isn't PCs where the geek contingent looks for "Intel Inside." And Joe Average doesn't really care, either way. They see the Apple logo and begin to make associations. What stuff inside is labeled is a secondary concern, and is usually of no concern at all.

    Apple doesn't need to worry about non-standard anymore, because they *are* the standard now. This is the Apple of 2011. They are not the ones who become the marginalized, they perform the marginalizing on others. Apple can create a standard in the blink of an eye and consumers won't even make a peep about it. They'll just continue to form long lines outside Apple Stores.

    Regardless of whether this is a rumour, if Apple does have long-term plans with ARM, you can bet that it's for a good reason and very likely a smart decision that you or I can't really comprehend at the moment.
     
  15. roadbloc macrumors G3

    roadbloc

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    UK
    #15
    I heard that is what transcendent Christians believe. God created life and we have no chance in understanding how or why it works the way it does.

    Sorry. Reading that just reminded me of my religous education classes from when I was at school. :p
     
  16. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #16
    agreed and by going with intel, there's a peace of mind that consumers have.

    Oh please, this is a reach even for you. Apple is not the standard when it comes to computers, they maintain a tiny marketshare percentage (what 7 or 10%) Windows is the standard because most people use windows for their operating system.
     
  17. AppleScruff1 macrumors G3

    AppleScruff1

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    #17

    You need help. Seriously.
     
  18. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #18
    This does make a kind of sense. When Apple had the PowerPC chips it was hard to compare PCs to Macs, and therefore price comparisons were hard to do. Macs were more expensive, but it was hard to quantify just how much more expensive. But, the PowerPC CPUs were made by somebody else, and there were some delays, and no sense of a roadmap, and Apple was left stranded, I believe, on occasion.

    When Apple went with Intel, they still didn't have control - but at least they had predictability. At least they thought so. There was the whole Nvidia/Intel thing that Apple had to work around. Plus, Intel may be predictable... but their schedule is not Apple's schedule.

    So, I think they want to have the control over the CPU. They can then release new ones when they want. They can go back to making Macs and PCs hard to compare (price-wise). They can pair their CPU with any d*mn GPU set they want. I would predict that Apple will simply pay Intel to Fab the chips designed by ARM. Intel is happy, they get paid to do the profitable work (R&D may be necessary, but it's not a profit centre). And if the design screws up, it's not their problem.

    Plus, with a single CPU design that works from workstation systems through on down to iPhones, Apple could unify the OS, or big chunks of it, down the road. When Apple went with Intel, I doubt they ever thought that iOS was going to be this huge.

    So - how does a Mac with an ARM chip virtualize a PC? Easy. A 2nd (Intel CPU) on the logic-board. Run Windows/Linux/etc on the Intel chip as a "remote" PC and let OS X connect to it as if it's over a network. You just need enough supporting chipset stuff to make the PC chip happy. It probably won't be great at gaming, but I think Apple doesn't much care about selling to gamers. It would certainly work to support most other VM uses, I would think.
     
  19. GFLPraxis macrumors 604

    GFLPraxis

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    #19
    Or, Intel CPU in the "Pro" series, multicore ARM in the Air's and Mini's.

    The iPad's dual 1 GHz CPU is approaching the low end MBA's of only a year or two ago, and it's a $499 device. With quad-core ARM processors available soon, it'd probably be possible to get a quad-core MBA that matches the current one's in performance but costs a decent amount less pretty soon.
     
  20. *LTD* macrumors G4

    *LTD*

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    #20
    Writing's on the wall.

    Wait about 2 years. Sometimes I'm off by a year, so let's say 3.
     
  21. roadbloc, May 6, 2011
    Last edited: May 6, 2011

    roadbloc macrumors G3

    roadbloc

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    #21
    You're on. I'm predicting nothing but decline for Apple as Android Tablets get more and more popular (just as they did do with mobile phones) and WP7 hits the shelves properly.

    If Apple do switch chipsets again (which I doubt highly), it will drive developers and loyal users away in a greater numbers than the previous chipset change did. Which will be an even bigger decline as the Mac user-base will also shrink.
     
  22. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #22
    I agree about the performance... but wouldn't that mean maintaining two sets of code for the OS? I think Apple would want a single code base....
     
  23. calaverasgrande macrumors 65816

    calaverasgrande

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    Brooklyn, New York.
    #23
    absurd.
    Don't confuse market cap with actual value. Intel may have a lower market cap than Apple but they have WAY more going on in terms of tooling. Fabs and such. At this stage in the game it is almost impossible for another chipmaker to jump in and keep up with the R&D costs as well as die shrinks, managing yields etc. Intel and AMD have been duking it out for decades now and AMD is amazing in that they have held on at all.
    The MBP line is Apple main line as far as computing devices go. I have worked at companies where every single person was on a 13 or 15. A few uber-nerd engineers where in 17" models. We were all running Vm's, local server stuff like Mamp along with various adobe apps.
    I seriously do not think any of the Arm stuff is up to par. They are just now getting to dual core. Intel has had dual core/hyper threaded quasi 4 way cpu for mbp for over a year and half. They have real quads in them now. By the time Arm or Apple field a quad core, intel will be fielding 8 and 12 core laptops with on die graphics.
    nonsense
     
  24. KnightWRX macrumors Pentium

    KnightWRX

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    #24
    Uh ? The iPad's dual 1 GHZ CPU is no where near the Core 2 Duos used in the Macbook Airs. Not even the Rev A's.
     
  25. TSE macrumors 68030

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    St. Paul, Minnesota
    #25
    I had a thought.

    Could Apple perhaps turn the MacBook into an ARM based computer, lower the price to ~$699, redesign it and make it incredibly thin and small like the Air, and call it good? It seems the MacBook is the most underutilized product in the Apple lineup at the moment. A true ARM based laptop with a competitive price, iPad like battery life, and the size and design of a MacBook Air sounds pretty darn enticing for a secondary device. The only thing I dislike about the iPad is the lack of a keyboard.
     

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