"hello again" Connecting the dots

Am I

  • Crazy?

    Votes: 9 19.6%
  • Possibly on to something!?

    Votes: 9 19.6%
  • Setting myself up for disappointment?

    Votes: 27 58.7%
  • Setting my sights too low (ARM all the way!)

    Votes: 1 2.2%

  • Total voters
    46
  • Poll closed .

Malus120

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 28, 2002
313
367
“hello again.”

Apple has thrown down the gauntlet, invoking the slogan of Macintosh (and iMac) past to (hopefully) imply that they’ve got something mighty impressive for us next Thursday.

And I’d like to think I may just have an idea as to what it could be.

Now, maybe I've just been overthinking it. Maybe I'm just connecting imaginary dots from what are really just coincidence. Or maybe not.

Let's think about some of the oddities in Apple’s current lineup.

The Retina MacBook was released in the spring of 2015 as one of the first computers to support the USB-C port.

Soon after, it was announced that Thunderbolt 3 would be using the same connector as USB-C and would be available in the fall of 2016.

And yet, when Apple updated the Retina iMac in the fall of 2015, neither USB-C nor Thunderbolt 3 were included despite the fact that they would have been relatively easy upgrades to make.

Similarly, while the MacBook Pro’s have been rumored for a Skylake refresh with “AMD graphics chips,” and an OLED function bar, all of the pieces for that refresh have been in place since early summer with the release of Polaris.

What if, the reason Apple has held off introducing USB-C across the wider Mac lineup is because they don’t want to talk about new Intel CPU’s (and Thunderbolt 3?), because they won’t be supporting them (or at least not across the full lineup).

Yes I’m talking about (partial), architectural change. Not the kind most people are imagining though. There is always talk of Apple moving to its own in house A-series chips, but while Apple’s been on a roll with chip design over the last five years, I just don’t see this happening (at least not across the whole lineup). The fact of the matter is a full move away from X86 would be both extremely costly and risky for Apple, and given that the Mac is no longer the primary driver of their revenue, I just can’t imagine that they want to put in quite THAT much effort.

No, the architectural change I speak of is moving from a traditional Intel x86 computing model to an AMD x86 APU model featuring HSA, high performance “integrated” graphics (Vega?) and high speed memory (GDDR5?).

Think about it, Zen was originally supposed to be released in the fall of 2016, but was suddenly pushed back to early 2017. At the same time, Vega, which was supposed to launch in early 2017 has been pulled forward for a (supposed) 2016 launch. What if Zen wasn't actually delayed, but diverted for (temporarily) exclusive use by Apple. What if Vega was pulled in specifically so that it could meet Apple’s needs. What if Apple and AMD’s deep partnership over the last 3 years has been about more than just providing Apple with cheap prices and semi-custom design work.

IMO this would make a lot of sense for both Apple and AMD.

AMD wants a platform to show off not only Zen and Vega, but HSA (unified system/GPU memory), and the only computer manufacturer vertically integrated enough to both own their own OS software stack and be willing to optimize it specifically for HSA is Apple.

Apple, for their part would love to be able to have Macs that not only save space and run cooler (by having the CPU/GPU/memory on one chip), but that can also offer a unique performance advantage (HSA) over Windows (and Linux) PCs.

And of course moving to HSA would likely mean the end of user upgradable ram so that’s another “bonus” for Apple.

Maybe I’m just crazy. Maybe I’m over thinking this. Who knows. But I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if the “architectural change” or “paradigm shift” some people seem to be expecting is a lot closer to home (and reality) than one might think.

Anyway, its just a thought I've been kicking around and we'll probably be lucky to get Kaby Lake, let alone something like Vega, but a guy can dream right :)
 

Krevnik

macrumors 68040
Sep 8, 2003
3,530
804
Two things that I would ask about when considering this:

1) What product is Vega aimed at?
2) What product is Zen aimed at?

If we consider that the iMac really is their main desktop line for the mainstream user market, starting to eek into the professional market, things get a little weird. Zen in a Mini or Mac Pro to bring a lot of cores to the Mini as a microserver, or bring prices on the Mac Pro down by not relying on Xeons? I could see that. Less so for the iMac when single-thread perf is still important for more mainstream apps (i.e. not Lightroom/Photoshop or Final Cut/After Effects).

Vega is also interesting, but Apple historically hasn't really been putting focus on anything beyond general compute for GPU performance. And with the Vega aimed at being the super-high end of AMD's line, putting it in an iMac would also be a little weird. Apple seems fit to keep a slow HDD so they can put in a 5K display on the iMac. I don't see them doing a redesign so they can put a ~600$ MSRP GPU into it as a BTO option.

Things like HSA would be interesting, and something Apple might go for if it offered an advantage. But that looks more interesting in the Mini than the iMac right now. Considering one of the things Apple is doing is making the fastest Quad Core Skylake chips Intel offers available to customers.

My own bets are that Intel is here to stay in the iMac for the time being. AMD has a couple of good niches, and Zen offers some options in those niches, but I don't think the iMac aligns with those niches all that well. And I don't think ARM is even equal to AMD. I agree that if there is a switch, AMD is a better bet than ARM, but I don't think AMD is a great bet either.

That said, if Zen could make the Mac Pro a bit cheaper again while being generous with the cores, and offer up some serious GPU hardware in the form of Vega... I might just consider buying a Mac Pro again instead of an iMac. But I would miss that sweet single-thread perf the i7 line has. :)
 

Malus120

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 28, 2002
313
367
Two quick thing, I should have elaborated, I was talking more about the Mac lineup in general, and not about the iMac specifically (I posted it here because it's where I make most of my posts). I believe Zen, Vega and HSA could all be very relevant to the iMac but seeing as it's 3:00AM here I will try and elaborate later. Also I don't see it being an immediate transition across the whole product line, if anything it would likely be a gradual change beginning with the desktop line (and maybe the Macbook Pro).
 

keysofanxiety

macrumors G3
Nov 23, 2011
9,534
25,261
I'm loving your train of thought. It's an idea I hadn't considered. Personally I don't think it'll happen. Swapping Intel for AMD still leaves the big problem — you're at the mercy of another company's pipeline, pricing, and innovation. It won't address the long-term, underlying issue.

If they're going to change the architecture, I think they'll go full blooded and courageous. In-house chips and drop their dependencies for good. Imagine if they'd been working on this for years, then suddenly out of nowhere, leapfrog Intel's best mobile chips by an absolute country mile.

My head and my heart both say that this'll happen next week. But I just can't bear to believe it until I see it in the flesh. Make no mistake; I'll be thoroughly disappointed if this 18-month wait was just for slightly quicker Intel chips.
 

Macmamamac

macrumors regular
Mar 21, 2015
146
51
The first one was "Hello". The second "Hello again". The third, also, "Hello again".

If a redesign is revealed, then we know "Hello again" is the new code word for big, dramatic, changes. If not, then the next dramatic change will need a new slogan different from the first two.

If it was me, I would be self depreciating. How about: "Hello, beta-cucks. Your redesigned iMac is finally F*****g here!!"
 
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2ilent8cho

macrumors 6502
Mar 9, 2016
359
1,014
I don't know enough about the subject to know if its technically possible , but could they release a dual architecture Macbook? ARM + x86 ? So Mac OS moves to ARM , so when using anything Apple (like Safari) or any new apps compiled for ARM it uses the very low power ARM processors giving massive leaps in battery power, but then if i click The Sims it kicks the x86 processor in? A fusion processor for the desktop class equipment almost.
 
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Sirmausalot

macrumors 65816
Sep 1, 2007
1,072
275
If you look at all of Apple's upgrades, they tend to be incremental. Sometimes they go with a new form factor, the graphics, screens, CPUs tend to march upwards consistently with some or other upgrade usually at the fore for a talking point. There isn't enough profit, especially in the iMac, certainly the Mac Pro to put a lot of effort into R&D. Eventually they might make a paradigm shift to their own processors for the MacBooks, which is essentially what they've done with the iPad Pro. But I don't know how well that's doing.
 

Sirmausalot

macrumors 65816
Sep 1, 2007
1,072
275
IMHO, Apple just uses it to catch attention.
A new iMac-formfactor should be introduced now.
There was a recent PC World article that says we should expect an iMac Pro. Perhaps that will include a redesign? It certainly is time to retire the Mac Pro as it doesn't sell well enough to justify any sort of marketing resources (including valuable web page space) to it. An iMac Pro with super high end graphics will be welcome.
 
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MacsRgr8

macrumors 604
Sep 8, 2002
7,858
1,182
The Netherlands
There was a recent PC World article that says we should expect an iMac Pro. Perhaps that will include a redesign? It certainly is time to retire the Mac Pro as it doesn't sell well enough to justify any sort of marketing resources (including valuable web page space) to it. An iMac Pro with super high end graphics will be welcome.
I'm 50-50 on this one:
Will there be a nMP 2?
What about Apple displays? Waiting for USB-C or discontinued?

Or, new iMac with the high-end high enough spec'd to eliminate the need for a Mac "tower"?
 

Sirmausalot

macrumors 65816
Sep 1, 2007
1,072
275
I'm 50-50 on this one:
Will there be a nMP 2?
What about Apple displays? Waiting for USB-C or discontinued?

Or, new iMac with the high-end high enough spec'd to eliminate the need for a Mac "tower"?
As an editor, I see no need for the tower. All the peripherals you need can plug in at full speed and although you can't use 8 core, it seems a lot to justify a fully separate machine with a tiny market share. The only thing truly not quite pro are the graphics, and they are nearly pro at this point. But it looks like that will be cracked either with the iGPU on Kaby or a killer dGPU
 

danielwsmithee

macrumors 65816
Mar 12, 2005
1,119
402
I do think Apple is taking a strong look at an integrated AMD design using HSA. I don't think it will happen this year though. I think everything likely stays intel for this year, 2017 could see the option of Zen/Vega/HSA.

This year will likely be Kaby Lake/Polaris/TB3/USB3.1.

I think the "Hello Again" tag line is going to used on the updated and redesigned MBP in combination with a TB3 display.
 

cynics

macrumors G4
Jan 8, 2012
11,586
1,886
I've found with Apple you should never set your expectations too high or else you are setting yourself up for disappointment.

I think we will see the standard spec bump with maybe some sort of nifty (some will say gimmicky) new feature.
 

vlug

macrumors 6502
Jul 18, 2009
276
186
I've found with Apple you should never set your expectations too high or else you are setting yourself up for disappointment.

I think we will see the standard spec bump with maybe some sort of nifty (some will say gimmicky) new feature.
Same as me mate, yet it will get the Apple fans creaming their pants and yet be overpriced and under specced. With form over function regards the GPU and ports available

Hope I'm wrong!
 
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Traverse

macrumors 604
Mar 11, 2013
6,898
3,137
Here
I've found with Apple you should never set your expectations too high or else you are setting yourself up for disappointment.

I think we will see the standard spec bump with maybe some sort of nifty (some will say gimmicky) new feature.
I'm super excited, but I am expecting disappointment just because the expectations are too high. I think the new rMBP will look identical aside from the ports and a new touch bar. iMac will look the same with a mild spec bump, and maybe the mini gets a spec bump.

Still I'll take it. But Apple, for the sweet love of currency, PUT 16GB OF RAM IN YOUR $2,300 BASE IMAC. It's a $2,000+ plus machine and it's 2016 out here.
 

cynics

macrumors G4
Jan 8, 2012
11,586
1,886
Same as me mate, yet it will get the Apple fans creaming their pants and yet be overpriced and under specced. With form over function regards the GPU and ports available

Hope I'm wrong!
And if you are you and I will be only happy Mac users since everyone else is expecting quantum computers. :D
 

HJM.NL

macrumors 68020
Jul 25, 2016
2,081
3,702
Netherlands
If you look at all of Apple's upgrades, they tend to be incremental. Sometimes they go with a new form factor, the graphics, screens, CPUs tend to march upwards consistently with some or other upgrade usually at the fore for a talking point. There isn't enough profit, especially in the iMac, certainly the Mac Pro to put a lot of effort into R&D. Eventually they might make a paradigm shift to their own processors for the MacBooks, which is essentially what they've done with the iPad Pro. But I don't know how well that's doing.
If you're only going after profit, like Apple is doing lately, you'll lose market share. After losing those market share you show (not tell) the public you're not going to invest because there's to little money making in it... Then the circle is round again. It's a negative spiral though. And looking at the numbers they hold thruth.
 

briloronmacrumo

macrumors 6502
Jan 25, 2008
488
302
USA
“hello again.”
Apple has thrown down the gauntlet, invoking the slogan of Macintosh (and iMac) past to (hopefully) imply that they’ve got something mighty impressive for us next Thursday.
Possibly/hopefully, but consider "Hello" was one of the slogans used at WWDC2016.
 

chfilm

macrumors 68030
Nov 15, 2012
2,848
1,645
Berlin
I think there'll be just the new MacBook pros, and eventually a speed bump with TB3 for the iMacs. The Mac Pro is not going anywhere, the old model is still going super strong and hardly ever being pushed to its limits, so besides TB3 not much need for an upgrade actually. The gpus yes of course, but seriously most apps that people would run on the pro for professional purposes have yet to support OPEN CL properly. It's a joke for example how bad the support across adobe creative cloud still is.
And cpus, has there's been any significant performance enhancements??
 

Icaras

macrumors 603
Mar 18, 2008
6,091
2,626
How about the iMac just being named Mac? I see it as less likely the notebooks.
And "Mac" could be the only desktop Mac available (no more Mac mini, no more Mac Pro)..?
It sure would be courageous...
I'd really like to see this name change actually happen this Thursday.

Getting rid of the mini and Mac Pro would be an incredibly courageous moment, but something I could see happening.

By the way, great post OP.
 
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