ARM based MacBook Pro discussion [merged]

high heaven

macrumors regular
Dec 7, 2017
231
46
That was one major concern with Apple with their PPC to Intel transition, and so they included an emulation so that legacy apps would still run (albeit poorly) while giving the developer the opporunity to recode for the new platform.

I suspect the move to running iOS apps within macOS is the firs step to the migration to ARM.
But there aren't any pro apps for serious pros like Final Cut Pro, Davinci Resolve, Blender, CAD, Capture One Pro, and more. This is the biggest concern I have and if they can't solve this, then it will be meaningless for pro users.
 

Stephen.R

macrumors 68000
Nov 2, 2018
1,821
1,628
Thailand
Where’s your evidence, where’s your proof?
you’re asking me to prove something won’t happen? You want evidence to prove a non-event? Ok sure let me whip out my time machine and go get you some future non-evidence.

you are apparently supportive of the claim that Apple will switch to arm processors. The burden of evidence is yours mate: if you think it’ll happen where’s your proof? A bunch of articles repeating each other over some unofficial conjecture is hardly proof.
 

skipjakk

macrumors member
Jun 24, 2004
43
1
This thread is riddled with linked articles about Apples eventual switch to ARM for the macs, it’s not some random posters opinion, it’s based on information coming from industry reporters, Intel, and a prominent analyst with a pretty accurate track record. Throw in Apple’s internal effort to merge API‘s and the Mac iOS code base under Marzipan, and it looks credible.

Now everybody's entitled to an opinion, but I take issue when people exaggerate and mischaracterize my statements in their response and then proceed to argue against something I never stated, it’s trolling behavior, and I’m going to call it out...
 
  • Like
Reactions: Viamusic10000

Stephen.R

macrumors 68000
Nov 2, 2018
1,821
1,628
Thailand
This thread is riddled with linked articles
Many of which reference each other as "evidence". To give you an example of how this is misleading, if there is 1 article claiming <something>, and then 4 other articles that re-publish the same information citing the first as their source, that isn't "five articles". It's one.

it’s not some random posters opinion, it’s based on information coming from industry reporters, Intel, and a prominent analyst
Yet again, you're conflating Intel, and people who work there. I previously worked for the Australian Federal Government. If at the time, I'd told reporters (who knew I worked for the government) "Australia will make cheese illegal in 4 years time", no one in their right mind would interpret that as "evidence from the Australian Government".

"Industry Reporters" have also told us the following:
- Apple will release Plasma TVs
- Apple will buy Universal Music
- Apple, AWS, etc etc were "hacked" via compromised SuperMicro boards
- Apple or Disney will buy the other


How many of those turned out to be true?

Throw in Apple’s internal effort to merge API‘s and the Mac iOS code base under Marzipan
I think you're drastically misunderstanding what Catalyst does, and how significant it would be for an x86 to ARM conversion for macOS.

Now everybody's entitled to an opinion
Well thank you for that allowance at least

I take issue when people exaggerate and mischaracterize my statements in their response and then proceed to argue against something I never stated
.... You think that when I mentioned you treating those articles as "gospel" that was mischaracterising your view... but you then make claims like:
about Apples eventual switch to ARM for the macs
Do you know what "eventual" means? Did you perhaps mean "possible", or "potential"? Because "eventual" does not mean "something that may or may not happen".

it’s trolling behavior, and I’m going to call it out
.... This is literally what you said, when you called me a "troll":

YOUR the dissenting opinion on the thread(aka, troll)
A dissenting opinion is not a troll. If you seriously believe that, I'm sorry but you're wrong. This isn't about opinions or interpretations, you're just wrong.
 

skipjakk

macrumors member
Jun 24, 2004
43
1
as a developer, I am aware of the limitations of catalyst, Apple usually needs 2-3 iterations before it’s solid, so I expect by WWDC 2020 it should be a lot further along. Long term it’s Swiftui anyway.

The linked articles were ABOUT Apples eventual switch to ARM for Macs, that’s what many of the titles say, For example: https://www.tomshardware.com/news/apple-mac-arm-cpus-2020-intel,38668.html
Its not a claim I made, it’s a claim the article made. Look at my sentence again...
That is what the ABOUT is for in the sentence. I’ve only ever claimed the material looked credible...

and I also just stated “about Apples eventual switch to ARM for the macs” , just now, long after you misstated me, so it’s irrelivent anyway...

I mean you’ve done the same thing in your post above, taken sentences out of context and claimed I said something I didn’t....

i don’t know maybe it’s a reading comprehension issue. I had assumed English was your first language but maybe not the case? Not trying to be sarcastic here...

can’t speak to the other rumors as I’ve never heard them...
 
Last edited:

Stephen.R

macrumors 68000
Nov 2, 2018
1,821
1,628
Thailand
I am aware of the limitations of catalys
And yet you referred to it as Marzipan, and don't seem to understand that Catalyst is about making application level APIs iPadOS apps use, available on macOS, to facilitate easier porting of those apps.

Apple has been doing ARM/X86 compilation of iOS apps since the very first iOS SDK was available for Xcode - from the perspective of compiling existing macOS apps to ARM compatible binaries, I don't see how Catalyst has any baring, at all. If anything, it proves that there's no inherent "need" to use the same processor architecture to run iPad/Mac versions of the same app - the build toolchain already handles all the processor specific stuff anyway (i.e. running iOS/iPadOS apps in the X86 simulator, or building ARM binaries on the Mac and deploying to an iOS/iPadOS device).

The linked articles were ABOUT Apples eventual switch to ARM for Macs, that’s what many of the titles say
Let me rephrase this for you again. That article, is "republishing" a mish-mash of other articles: one from Axios, and one from Bloomberg. They don't even link to the Axios article, but by date it's likely this one: https://www.axios.com/apple-macbook-arm-chips-ea93c38a-d40a-4873-8de9-7727999c588c.html, which has one single line of "unique" input, and then reverts to rehashing other articles.

Their one 'unique' input is this single line:

developers and Intel officials have privately told Axios they expect such a move as soon as next year
I mean, developers or "officials" can be anyone when theres no name attached to it, and there are clearly people who believe it will happen. But that's literally it - they have some opinions, and post them as a "source" - as they're not the first to break this "story" its entirely possible, and I'd suggest likely that those people they're using as sources, are themselves influenced by existing "articles" about this same topic. Once enough people talk about the same thing, others start to believe it, regardless of how true it is.

The other Article/theory Axios referenced is from Bloomberg, who, like you, supposes some kind of "Mac/iPhone/iPad" "single app" benefit to Arm CPUs - Catalyst, and the apps that have been released using it, are evidence that CPU architecture is not a "blocker" in this space: the blocker is in making an App designed for an iPad screen/interactions/window model work on a Mac. No amount of CPU similarity will make Apps magically have logical menubar entries or resize behaviour or whatever other inconsistencies people are seeing in Catalyst apps.

That is what the ABOUT is for in the sentence
"About" is not the word I was commenting on.

and I also just stated “about Apples eventual switch to ARM for the macs” , just now, long after you misstated me, so it’s irrelivent anyway...
It's not irrelevant at all. I suggested that you are treating the collection of republished articles about this as fact, or "gospel", purely as my interpretation of your comments on the matter. You've then argued that I'm mischaracterising your views, and in the process, you've described this as-yet-completely-unconfirmed potential change as "eventual". So as I said, either you do believe it is eventual or you just keep mis-using that word. Arguing that you didn't say it until after, is what's irrelevant. I presented my interpretation of how you'd reacted to those articles, and your followup has just confirmed what I first guessed about your views.

taken sentences out of context and claimed I said something I didn’t....
Where?

i don’t know maybe it’s a reading comprehension issue.
Well I agree I certainly have trouble comprehending what you've written, because you use words that apparently you don't know the meaning of, which leads you to get upset when someone makes a comment on what you've said.

I notice you didn't clarify anything about calling me a troll. Was that deliberate, because you got it wrong, or because you had just wanted to insult me, or do you just not understand why a difference of opinion is different to trolling?
 

skipjakk

macrumors member
Jun 24, 2004
43
1
Your misrepresentations and exaggerations of my posts and my opinion have only convinced me that your just here to argue, nothing else. And longer posts do not make you look right, only desperate.

calling you a troll really isn’t necessary, your posts provide pretty compelling evidence....
 
Last edited:

Stephen.R

macrumors 68000
Nov 2, 2018
1,821
1,628
Thailand
Your misrepresentations and exaggerations of my posts
And yet again, where?

here to argue, nothing else
I'm here to express an opinion. If you read older posts in the thread you'll see I commented on how I thought any kind of "ARM in a Mac" was likely to eventuate.

I'm interested in actual evidence of this supposed change, or discussions about actual benefits it would bring/compromises or issues it would cause.

"Discussion" about the same rehashed articles that all largely reference each other without any actual evidence or even believable arguments is pointless and IMO shows a lack of critical thinking.

"Developers expect <blah>". Ok, why? Does no one else find it weird that the only benefit cited in any of these articles - easier iOS/macOS app builds - is already possible, and has essentially been done in reverse (iOS apps running on x86) for over a decade, with essentially zero rumours of "iPhones will run x86 processors" coming from it?

Every article I've seen about it, rehashes and re-phrases the same old thing, over and over "<Person> expects Apple to switch to Arm processors in Macs by <Date>, because iOS". Not one of them has gone into the depth of discussion or thought that this thread did earlier - compatibility with existing software, the cluster-**** that is Windows on ARM without native binaries, not to mention issues like all the things taken for granted in a modern Intel x86 processor that Apple's existing Arm chips have none of, or very limited support for: PCIe lanes, Ethernet, USB, Thunderbolt, etc.

So, you know what. If you want to keep posting the same link, to the same article that references two other articles, one of which then references a third, unnamed article and one of which is a Bloomberg article which cites anonymous sources and, of course, previous Bloomberg reporting about the same thing as its "evidence", you keep doing that.

But don't for a moment try to suggest that someone who dares to question the credibility of Chinese whispers style reporting is "trolling" because they don't agree with what you believe.

As I've said multiple times: the status quo is what it is, asking for "proof" of no change is just ridiculous. But if you believe there's a change coming, surely there's some evidence about it, not to mention some justification for said change. So far, besides "someone anonymous said they think this will happen" repeated and republished ad nauseam I've seen very little of the former, and pretty much zero of the latter.


How's that for ****ing trolling?
 

skipjakk

macrumors member
Jun 24, 2004
43
1
Stephen.R, you lost credibility with me when you mischaracterized what I said and then continued to argue against a position I never took(straw man argument). Taken all together, I find unofficial conversations from Intel developers, Intel officials, and forecasts from respected industry analysts credible. Trying to convince me otherwise is just a waste of your time.
 
Last edited:

firewood

macrumors 604
Jul 29, 2003
7,669
905
Silicon Valley
Finally, given the differences iin thermal requirements, Apple might create custom silicon for their Mac lineup, without the thermal limitations of the A series chips...
Apple regularly designs new targeted custom silicon for watches and earbuds. If Apple introduces a macOS product with an ARM ISA application processor, it almost certain will have yet more custom silicon, instead of just being an iPad/iPhone A series chip. Thus potentially a lot more performant (IO bandwidth, etc.)

Who's gonna develop and change their apps to ARM-based Mac?
There are a lot more ARM-targeted app developers (iOS and Android) than pure Mac developers. The number of macOS apps might actually increase... maybe after a year to two. But tons of developers would buy in on day one, boosting sales ahead of the ramp up of more consumer macOS apps.
 

high heaven

macrumors regular
Dec 7, 2017
231
46
There are a lot more ARM-targeted app developers (iOS and Android) than pure Mac developers. The number of macOS apps might actually increase... maybe after a year to two. But tons of developers would buy in on day one, boosting sales ahead of the ramp up of more consumer macOS apps.
Well, then that's a huge problem cause most professional software and programs exist in macOS.

What about Adobe software? FCPX? Logic Pro? Davinci Resolve? Nuke? Blender? Autodesk? etc? You see, no matter how many iOS app developers, there isn't many pro grade app available in iOS especially for serious works.
 

DHagan4755

macrumors 6502a
Jul 18, 2002
998
657
Massachusetts
Apple regularly designs new targeted custom silicon for watches and earbuds. If Apple introduces a macOS product with an ARM ISA application processor, it almost certain will have yet more custom silicon, instead of just being an iPad/iPhone A series chip. Thus potentially a lot more performant (IO bandwidth, etc.)
Right. Given how performant the A12X is in the iPad Pro, imagine Apple creating an ARM processor that uses active cooling — even if it's half the TDP of an 8-core i9 used in the 16" MacBook Pro. What will that do for ARM performance in a Mac notebook? Remains to be seen but the thoughts of what could be are tantalizing. I believe these ARM chips will be different enough from the ones used in iPads and iPhones that Apple will call it the X1 processor — or something along those lines.
 

firewood

macrumors 604
Jul 29, 2003
7,669
905
Silicon Valley
What about Adobe software? FCPX? Logic Pro? Davinci Resolve? Nuke? Blender? Autodesk? etc? You see, no matter how many iOS app developers, there isn't many pro grade app available in iOS especially for serious works.
It's easy to play that game.

Think of all the Absolutely Must Have professional apps there were back in the day for Intel 32-bit, PowerPC, and 68k Macs. How many do you still use because they weren't replaced with something better?

Plus think of all the professionals and business executives who use iPhones and iPads for business applications, but don't use Macs. Advantage ARM for that serious work.
 

danwells

macrumors 6502a
Apr 4, 2015
590
443
I have no problem seeing an ARM MacBook - running a mix of Apple internal apps (many if not most of which share codebase with iOS, and would be easy to port), apps from developers who do make the transition (again, if they have relatively similar iOS and Mac versions sharing a lot of code, it's not too hard), and Catalysted iPad apps. It's probably going to be locked to the Mac App store.

What I can't see is a MacBook Pro, which requires access to a wider range of apps, including some specific apps with massive legacy codebases - Adobe, I'm looking at you (and the iPad versions with a fraction of the functionality don't count). There are also many pro applications made by smaller companies who have little interest in iOS...
 

high heaven

macrumors regular
Dec 7, 2017
231
46
It's easy to play that game.

Think of all the Absolutely Must Have professional apps there were back in the day for Intel 32-bit, PowerPC, and 68k Macs. How many do you still use because they weren't replaced with something better?

Plus think of all the professionals and business executives who use iPhones and iPads for business applications, but don't use Macs. Advantage ARM for that serious work.
We are talking about the present, not the past. If Apple fails to have pro-grade software for ARM-based Mac, it would be a failure. How come ARM-based Windows still not have pro-grade software?
 
  • Like
Reactions: DHagan4755

DHagan4755

macrumors 6502a
Jul 18, 2002
998
657
Massachusetts
We are talking about the present, not the past. If Apple fails to have pro-grade software for ARM-based Mac, it would be a failure. How come ARM-based Windows still not have pro-grade software?
Many were expecting Final Cut Pro 10.5 last fall. Still nothing. Could this be partially the reason for the hold up?
 

firewood

macrumors 604
Jul 29, 2003
7,669
905
Silicon Valley
We are talking about the present, not the past. ... How come ARM-based Windows still not have pro-grade software?
Apple rarely cares about the past or even the present. Mostly only the future. That's why they can remove the absolutely necessary serial ports, floppy drives, and headphone jacks (etc.).

There are a ton more active iOS developers (and paying customers) than there are for any MS ARM product. Just compare the competing app store revenues.
 

high heaven

macrumors regular
Dec 7, 2017
231
46
Apple rarely cares about the past or even the present. Mostly only the future. That's why they can remove the absolutely necessary serial ports, floppy drives, and headphone jacks (etc.).

There are a ton more active iOS developers (and paying customers) than there are for any MS ARM product. Just compare the competing app store revenues.
I said that's meaningless for professional users. No matter how many iOS apps there are, there arent any professional software that people can work with. Do you wanna make ARM based Mac without or only few pro apps?
 

Unregistered 4U

macrumors 6502a
Jul 22, 2002
843
453
it will be meaningless for pro users.
So, just taking that statement at face value... it would be meaningless to 10-20% of their users. The other 80% will be perfectly fine. Apple has dumped Pro users before in order to suit their own view of the future (64-bit only in Catalina cutting off 32 bit Pro apps, FCP7 users). Just saying... don’t be surprised if “being a pro” doesn’t hold a lot of reverence with Apple anymore
Not one of them has gone into the depth of discussion or thought that this thread did earlier
The main reason why this rumor has legs is because it’s from Intel. There have been rumors sources from random areas previously, but never has anyone ever been able to claim that the info came from Intel. And someone at Intel, of course, would be in a unique position to know with some certainly that “something” is happening while still having no idea what is happening.
which requires access to a wider range of apps, including some specific apps with massive legacy codebases
Won’t folks that need access to those massive legacy codebases just keep the computer they have? There are people currently working on systems that are 5-8 years old, still doing professional work on them. Today’s MBP’s will last those folks well into the future. In my mind, any future MBP just needs to run Apple’s Pro apps. Adobe could decide to recompile their apps, or maybe not. They’ve got a subscription model now, so they don’t care what platform you’re running it on, just as long as you’re running it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: whg

Woochoo

macrumors 6502
Oct 12, 2014
352
178
To all the "you can't do professional/scientific stuff in ARM" guys: there are ARM-based supercomputers, and supercomputers are precisely used for that kind of stuff.

ARM is just like x86, they are both RISC based and the only difference is x86 has a decoder for complex instructions that translates into reduced instructions (actually it only has that from CISC, the rest is RISC. The pipelines and the rest are really similar. Heck, you can even compile the same binaries for x86 and ARM with their respective toolchains.

The problem is people has a mindset of ARM being low power because that's what they've been used for till now: mobiles with limited power constrictions (small battery, passive dissipation on a small enclosure). But there isn't any architectural limitation that stops them going for high clockspeed and high single core/multicore performance, for instance an old 28nm A9 already hit 3,1GHz and it wasn't even designed for that.

So if Apple is already delivering laptop performance ARM chips in their horribly thermal designed iPhones and iPads (compared to active thermal designs with fans and heatsinks), why couldn't they deliver something much better specially designed for high performance in a laptop? An iPad Pro already beats a 2018 15" MBP in rendering an edited video, I'd say that's not a "misleading synthetic benchmark" (see Geekbench or any other crossplatform)

Now on the apps part like Blender and all that stuff that someone was mentioning before: they can be recompiled with the right toolchain into ARM, they already have the code done. Maybe they will have to change some optimizations like AVX/SSE instructions to NEON, but not much more. Also if Apple implements Catalyst in the right way both x86 and ARM should be able to run in the same OS and processor without not much overheat (unlike that infamous Windows 10 running in a SnapDragon 835 with tons of layers translating the instructions making it slow).
 

bo-waleed

macrumors 6502a
Oct 15, 2009
506
5
Isn't 2020 the year apple supposed to release them ?

Instead we are seeing rumors for update just for Intel last CPUs,

I want Apple to move to ARM as soon as possible to make App Devolpers take their time and focus on ARM and utilize it's potential.

And hopefully make Apps that emulates old Intel based Apps.
 

theluggage

macrumors 601
Jul 29, 2011
4,371
3,094
Isn't 2020 the year apple supposed to release them ?
Only according to a sketchy hearsay rumour about something that "Intel expected" which could be:
(a) Complete hogwash
(b) A snippet from Intel's "due dilligence" worst-case scenario risk register.
(c) Arguably fulfilled if Apple updates the iMac with a T2 chip, in which case all Macs will have an ARM chip - just not as the main CPU. OK, that's a bit of a stretch, although...**

Instead we are seeing rumors for update just for Intel last CPUs,
If an ARM transition did happen, it couldn't happen overnight, and they'd need to be selling credible Intel Macs alongside ARM NewMacs for a few years. As I said below, I think some people are over-blowing the difficulties, but I think that's partly because they're imagining being forced to switch overnight. What they really stuffed up with the 2016 MBP, the 2018 Mac Mini and the 2019 Mac Pro was letting their predecessors get so out of date that people were desperate to upgrade, then introduced drastic functionality and pricing changes - forcing people to re-think their workflow overnight (or stick with their old hardware).

I want Apple to move to ARM as soon as possible to make App Devolpers take their time and focus on ARM and utilize it's potential.
In 2020 the vast majority of developers writing new code shouldn't need to know or care what CPU their code is running on and use hardware abstraction frameworks wherever possible (Metal, Accelerate, Core Audio etc.) even most hardware drivers can and should be written in compiled languages and work through OS calls. Including specific CPU code without very, very good reason (of course, there are always exceptions) - is just bad design, and might not take advantage of even future hardware in Intel Macs (e.g. the Afterburner cards for the new Mac Pro).

...bear in mind that testing iOS apps in XCode already works by compiling the code for x86 and running it in an iOS-for-x86 sandbox.

In a way, Apple have been preparing for ARM, in the sense that all of the App Store guidelines, dumping 32-bit, promoting Metal have been pushing people towards CPU-independent coding.

The big exception, of course, is established applications with legacy code dating back to Stonehenge (or, worse, 16-bit DOS/Windows). However, I have no idea how much of that has survived the transitions from PPC to x86-32 and x86-32 to x86-64 - and neither does anybody else unless they're actually working on such a codebase. The recent switch to 64-bit only will have culled a lot of ancient code and abandonware anyway.

Still, yes, "feasible" doesn't mean "trivial" and the first step would have to be a development system to allow applications to be re-compiled and tested. That's actually what happened with x86 - Apple produced what was basically a Hackintosh as a developers-only system about 6 months before launching the MacBook Pro (...and maybe key developers got it under NDA before that).

And hopefully make Apps that emulates old Intel based Apps.
...that could be the problem. Of course it is technically possible, but there might be some IP issues with emulating the x86-64 instruction set (I believe the emulator in ARM Windows is 32-bit only).

The fundamental problem is that the raw processing speed of an ARM core is unlikely to be much faster than the Intel core it is replacing. Previous transitions (6502 to 68k, 68k to PPC, PPC to x86) have all come with a substantial boost in raw speed to offset the overhead of emulation.

The advantage of ARM is more about being able to cram on more cores and more on-chip accelerators and GPUs which will only be available to applications using standard MacOS frameworks (which will be strongly correlated to being relatively easy to port to ARM). So I'm not sure that emulation is going to be as key as it was in PPC-x86 or 68k to PPC.

Thinking about it, what if a new Mac couldn't run MS Word on day 1? In 2005, that would have been suicide. In 2020, with so many alternatives (like Pages, platform-independent web apps, or LibreOffice which already supports ARM Linux) it might be merely "courageous".

** Now, this is just speculation, but how far could Apple extend the T-series chips to include things like GPUs and USB4 (i.e. Thunderbolt in all but name) - effectively making them into A-series-like systems-on-a-chip, replacing a load of Intel motherboard & Thunderbolt chippery but keeping the Intel (or AMD) processor...?
 
  • Like
Reactions: bo-waleed