If Mac went ARM tomorrow, would you jump?

Would you buy an ARM iMac?


  • Total voters
    215

russofris

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 20, 2012
160
57
I've been watching Apple's ARM development with great curiosity and interest.

If the next iMac came out tomorrow, and had comparable performance with Intel based iMacs, would you make the change?

I would (provided Logic worked).
 

turbineseaplane

macrumors 601
Mar 19, 2008
4,932
7,019
Yep

To clarify, I'm assuming you mean "it was announced tomorrow" and the insinuation there is Apple is ready with core Apps and some key developers had already been in the fold and prepared also.

That's the only way Apple would do it anyhow, so I assume that's what you meant and I voted with that in mind.
 

SecuritySteve

macrumors 6502a
Jul 6, 2017
743
858
California
Hell No! I think people under appreciate how awesome it is that most free or open-source linux software can be so easily installed on macOS, or converted to be native on macOS. All of that goes away with ARM.
ARM packages for Linux distros are easily made available as soon as retail ARM machines come to market.

There is supposedly going to be a 128 core ARM chip this year. That would be a 256 2U server. You can bet Linux distros will release packages for that.
 

oneMadRssn

macrumors 601
Sep 8, 2011
4,738
11,030
New England
ARM packages for Linux distros are easily made available as soon as retail ARM machines come to market.

There is supposedly going to be a 128 core ARM chip this year. That would be a 256 2U server. You can bet Linux distros will release packages for that.
I'm only going on history. It was pretty easy to make Linux software for PowerPC back in the day too, but almost nobody did. Idk about servers, but user level software (chat app, web browsers, music, etc.) was x86 only for the most part. I just don't have that much faith that most of the great x86 software we have available to us today (going back decades) will ever be ported to ARM.
 

SecuritySteve

macrumors 6502a
Jul 6, 2017
743
858
California
I'm only going on history. It was pretty easy to make Linux software for PowerPC back in the day too, but almost nobody did. Idk about servers, but user level software (chat app, web browsers, music, etc.) was x86 only for the most part. I just don't have that much faith that most of the great x86 software we have available to us today (going back decades) will ever be ported to ARM.
I just think that our distribution technology has advanced since the PowerPC days. I think the transition will be more seamless between x86->ARM than from PPC->x86 as a consequence. No longer do we have to pass CDs around to get the software we want running, it's all open source and online, and once compiled it just gets stored in an online repository.
 

jerwin

macrumors 68020
Jun 13, 2015
2,453
4,448
I've been watching Apple's ARM development with great curiosity and interest.
If the next iMac came out tomorrow, and had comparable performance with Intel based iMacs, would you make the change?
I would (provided Logic worked).
Hold on there.

comparable performance implies not only that Logic works, but it had the same, or better performance.

If it doesn't, why get the arm mac?
 

Icaras

macrumors 603
Mar 18, 2008
5,832
2,214
California, United States
I've been watching Apple's ARM development with great curiosity and interest.

If the next iMac came out tomorrow, and had comparable performance with Intel based iMacs, would you make the change?

I would (provided Logic worked).
My thoughts exactly and would love to see Logic Pro X optimized for it! If it is, ARM iMac would be an instant buy for me.
 

phunigai

Suspended
Nov 12, 2018
193
187
I would purchase an ARM mac in a throttled heartbeat if the laptop was sold for 99.99 as the pinebook
 

oneMadRssn

macrumors 601
Sep 8, 2011
4,738
11,030
New England
I just think that our distribution technology has advanced since the PowerPC days. I think the transition will be more seamless between x86->ARM than from PPC->x86 as a consequence. No longer do we have to pass CDs around to get the software we want running, it's all open source and online, and once compiled it just gets stored in an online repository.
It wasn't THAT long ago. Apple rolled out Intel support and Intel hardware all in 2006 for the most part, and iirc PowerPC support pretty much ended by 2008. For comparison, the original iPhone launched in 2007, the cd-drive-less MBA launched in 2008 and most Macs had no disc drives within 4 years after that.

My point is, in 2006, there was a mountain of free or open source software available online already. It was just like you said, compiled and stored in an online repository such as sourceforge or others. I remember it seemed like overnight the amount of free and open source third-party software for OS X went from barely any to hundreds and then to thousands of apps available. Everything from chat apps, disc image utilities, text editors, image editors, and more. It was awesome.

I fear a lot of that will go away with ARM Macs. For example, they don't have an official ARM version of GIMP - not for iOS, not for Android, not for Windows on ARM. It might be ported if Macs to go ARM maybe. But I can just as easily be convinced that they would sit out the first year or two and wait to see how adoption goes.

I also especially fear that Apple would use the switch to ARM macs as an opportunity to fully lock down macOS like iOS is - meaning the App Store is will be the only way to install applications and there won't be any way to download and install developer-distributed apps.
 

jerwin

macrumors 68020
Jun 13, 2015
2,453
4,448
I'm trying to think of a reason why imac would be better on arm.

Performance per watt?
Why? The imac is plugged into the wall. It's already too thin, with no benefits for the consumer.

ARM performance keeps climbing, while Intel delivers no performance gains.
Have you considered the benefits of a hexcore design? or AVX-512?

One platform for IOS and macos.
Yawn.

We need to escape the shackles of legacy hardware.
Is that really what's holding us back now? Be serious.

Yes, ARM in the HPC space is interesting (many many cores, SIMD with longer word lengths than 512 bits) but unless Apple adopts those innovations, there's no real benefit.
 
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theluggage

macrumors 601
Jul 29, 2011
4,032
2,714
Hell No! I think people under appreciate how awesome it is that most free or open-source linux software can be so easily installed on macOS, or converted to be native on macOS. All of that goes away with ARM.
The vast majority of free or open-source linux software is written in C/C++ with care taken to either avoid or deal with processor-specific features and is already available for x86, amd64, ARM, PPC and a bunch of other processors. Obviously there will be a few exceptions but in most cases it will be something that anybody with a bit of SW development experience can step up to the plate and do. Ideally, it will just be a case of merging any existing MacOS patches with existing ARM64 patches. Where there's a Mac-optimised version (e.g. with a Cocoa frontend so it doesn't need XQuartz) the majority of that work is still in C/C++/ObjC or Swift and shouldn't be processor dependent.

So while there might not be anything on day 1, as long as the move is not a total flop - and as long as Apple doesn't use it as a pretext for locking-down MacOS iOS-style - there's no technical barrier to MacPorts/Homebrew etc rapidly filling up with all the old favorites.

My point is, in 2006, there was a mountain of free or open source software available online already.
I'm not sure that was directly attributable to the move to x86. Mac usage was on the rise - as was Linux - and it was the shift to OSX, not x86, that made Unix/Linux software easy - sometimes trivial - to get running on a Mac. Macports (just) pre-dates the announcement of Intel macs. Linux ran just fine on PPC Macs.

I fear a lot of that will go away with ARM Macs. For example, they don't have an official ARM version of GIMP - not for iOS, not for Android, not for Windows on ARM.
GIMP is already available on ARM Linux distros e.g. on the Raspberry Pi. The MacOS enhancements shouldn't be processor specific. There's a host of possible reasons why it can't run on iOS of which the different processor is the least likely. Apart from requiring a complete UI overhaul to be any use on a tablet or phone, the lockdown and strict App store policies on iOS are poison to open source software. If nothing else, its offensive to principled open source developers.

I also especially fear that Apple would use the switch to ARM macs as an opportunity to fully lock down macOS like iOS is
I agree - and that would be game over - but they could do that anyway with Intel if they think customers would accept it (start worrying as soon as all current Macs have the T2 chip). A shift to ARM might be an opportunity to try and sneak that in, but there's no technical reason.
 

Naaaaak

macrumors 6502
Mar 26, 2010
498
1,700
as long as Apple doesn't use it as a pretext for locking-down MacOS iOS-style

that would be game over
Quoted because I agree and want people to understand how much of a game-over that would be.

I would ditch the Mac platform in a heartbeat if it becomes another Tim Cook "it's a real computer -- like an iPad" project. Anything as locked-down as iOS is not the future of computing.
 

mcnallym

macrumors 6502a
Oct 28, 2008
712
220
Would depend on the software I use being ported across and available.

Tv-mosaic - available on arm based nas already
iFlicks - might have to look at alternative as moved to subscription model with iflicks 3.
Fcp x - uses quicksync however with T2 doing hvec then possibly not such a problem as most likely all arm based macs would have equivalent chip.
Macxdvd - quicksync however same a fcp x then would expect that move to t2 or whatever in arm macs.
 

theluggage

macrumors 601
Jul 29, 2011
4,032
2,714
Anything as locked-down as iOS is not the future of computing.
Well, actually, the problem is that it might be. It actually makes a lot of sense for the typical non-technical user, where "typical non-technical user" means "other people" :)

A sensible scenario might be a "locked down" host OS with well integrated, user-accessible sandboxing/containerisation/virtualisation features for people who wanted to work outside the walled garden. Most of the components to do that already exist in MacOS - they just need a drag'n'drool wrapper. But full iOS-like lockdown would be the end for me.

As for the original question - if its not locked down then I'd certainly be interested although I wouldn't buy one as a replacement for my primary Mac until version 1.1 came out.

If the 12.9" iPad Pro could run MacOS (and there was a smart keyboard with trackpad) I'd already have bought one as a supplement to my iMac... because that would mean adding versatility to the iPad rather than risking removing capabilities from the Mac.
 

zmon

macrumors regular
Oct 10, 2013
164
117
Louisiana
Absolutely not. ARM only and no more x86 based CPUs? I'm out. If I wanted that, I'd stick with my iPad. As it is, this will be my last Mac-based laptop if Apple doesn't do something about the keyboards in the next gen.

I'm sure if Apple is bitching about the costs, AMD is a viable alternative with the upcoming Ryzen 2 CPUs. I'm actually surprised Apple hasn't at least released something using Ryzen considering they sure like using AMD's GPUs.
 

SecuritySteve

macrumors 6502a
Jul 6, 2017
743
858
California
It wasn't THAT long ago. Apple rolled out Intel support and Intel hardware all in 2006 for the most part, and iirc PowerPC support pretty much ended by 2008. For comparison, the original iPhone launched in 2007, the cd-drive-less MBA launched in 2008 and most Macs had no disc drives within 4 years after that.

My point is, in 2006, there was a mountain of free or open source software available online already. It was just like you said, compiled and stored in an online repository such as sourceforge or others. I remember it seemed like overnight the amount of free and open source third-party software for OS X went from barely any to hundreds and then to thousands of apps available. Everything from chat apps, disc image utilities, text editors, image editors, and more. It was awesome.

I fear a lot of that will go away with ARM Macs. For example, they don't have an official ARM version of GIMP - not for iOS, not for Android, not for Windows on ARM. It might be ported if Macs to go ARM maybe. But I can just as easily be convinced that they would sit out the first year or two and wait to see how adoption goes.

I also especially fear that Apple would use the switch to ARM macs as an opportunity to fully lock down macOS like iOS is - meaning the App Store is will be the only way to install applications and there won't be any way to download and install developer-distributed apps.
I agree with your last point. If they do lock it down so that there is no way to install developer-distributed apps then I am out of a second job. At least, using macOS. But then I'd have to start from scratch with my application and rebuild it for linux or windows.
 

whooleytoo

macrumors 604
Aug 2, 2002
6,559
628
Cork, Ireland.
For the first time in decades I'm thinking my next machine will be a (non-Mac) PC. Apple's desktop machines are expensive, low to middle end, and grossly lacking in expansion possibilities. I could handle the expensive bit, but not all 3. I don't know why Apple has been touting things like the thinness of the iMac or how small the Mac Pro is. These are rarely the reasons people buy desktop machines.

Apple releasing an ARM Mac would signal to me they've lost the plot and have no idea what Mac owners want, or don't care. And are being "courageous".

Losing virtualisation capabilities, and probably losing (or at least not gaining) performance would be enough to push me over the edge. Give me a nicely designed, relatively inexpensive tower Mac, then Apple can go back to shaving millimetres off their mobile devices and/or getting rid of ports for the lols. The old argument of "but a cheap expandable tower Mac would kill their Power Mac margins" hasn't been true for many years.

(And, in case it matters, I've been a Mac user since the Plus, and owner since the LC)