iMac 2019 and ARM transition

Discussion in 'iMac' started by giopiar, Apr 6, 2019.

  1. giopiar macrumors newbie

    Apr 6, 2019
    Good evening everyone,
    I’m a mid-2010 15 inch MacBook Pro owner and i’m going to replace it with a 2019 27 inch iMac.
    I’m concerned about ARM transition rumors. Here in Italy 27 inch iMac starts from 2199 euros, and spending that money has a significant impact on my savings.
    I remember that Leopard was the las OS X version compiled for PowerPC, so that only 4 years after Intel announcement all PPC macs were obsolete and almost useless.
    What about today? Do you think that in wwdc we’ll see ARM Mac Pro and that 2019 iMacs will rapidly turn into useless and expensive ornaments?

    So... should I buy new iMac now?
  2. bondavi macrumors newbie

    Apr 4, 2019
    Sacramento, CA
    Apple has a pretty resilient product lifecycle support system - that's why you see 2011 iMacs still running today.
  3. bigtomato macrumors regular

    Feb 28, 2015
    Probably June 2020 if they even do so...remember it won't be in a desktop or iMac form probably in some sort of MacBook format with limited options. I wouldn't worry about it that much since it would apple to a different crowd. If you're looking for power stick with the desktop. Personally I would buy the Mac mini it so much more upgradeable and get get yourself a 32" 4k monitor with egpu for a lot less. The 6 core option is pretty fast and only a handful of apps that can utilize all those cores, its just a marketing thing.
  4. mikehalloran macrumors 65816

    Oct 14, 2018
    The Sillie Con Valley
    Don't be. Other than Apple announcing that this is in the future, no one knows anything.
  5. Biro macrumors newbie

    Jan 11, 2012
    I understand what you're saying but I guarantee you that if Apple were to introduce an iMac with its own processors, any Intel iMac won't be in use for more than a couple of years after that - certainly not running a current OS. The OP references what happened to PowerPC machines. This is what has me concerned about buying into an expensive 2019 iMac now.

    I'm not worried about my iMac remaining the latest and greatest. I am concerned about it being put out to pasture before its time by Apple because OS will not longer work on it. I have a 2011 iMac with an i7 chip. But Mojave won't work on it. My computer is obsolete. After eight years, I can deal with that. But if it happened at the three- or four-year mark, I'd be upset.

    Apple's need to please Wall Street with ever-higher transaction prices and ever-more-frequent upgrades is at odds with my need to remain liquid.

    My concerns are based on Apple's previous behavior. Now, if the company could somehow reassure that all Intel machines would keep working with the latest OS and software, that would be something. But we know that won't happen, don't we?
  6. Richdmoore macrumors 68000


    Jul 24, 2007
    Troutdale, OR
    At the worse case, bootcamp could be used to switch the iMac to a windows 10 machine to extend it’s life in the event of a switchover leaves it behind.

    The best we can do is buy what you need today, no one outside apple knows if or when a switchover will occur.
  7. smoking monkey macrumors 65816

    smoking monkey

    Mar 5, 2008
    You Only Live Twice
    Actually I don’t think it is cheaper. It’s certainly more of a pain. I’ve just given up buying a mini with that exact configuration and come across to iMac. It’s not spec for spec but I’m getting closer to what I want for about 800 bucks less.

    If u don’t need an IPS monitor and gpu the mini will be cheaper, much cheaper.
  8. macduke macrumors G4


    Jun 27, 2007
    Central U.S.
    I think if it will happen it will happen in 2020 or 2021, though I do wonder why Apple would wait so long to release a new Mac Pro and then drop Intel the next year. I think if it has Intel we’ll be shielded for a while. Also I’m a little worried about buying a first-gen Apple CPU Mac and dealing with compatibility issues with my software. Hopefully Apple supports Intel longer this time since there are more Mac users today and they are better about supporting older devices than they used to be.

    This has nothing to do with that. Apple abandoned new PPC hardware in OS X about 4 years later. This happened and the concern is legitimate. The 2011 machine was well after this transition. But like I said above, Apple is better about supporting older hardware today, like recent trends with iOS devices, so maybe they will be better.

    Power? Have you seen what the A12X is capable of and that’s in a 5.9mm enclosure? It’s faster than 90% of all laptops or something ridiculous. Sure it’s hobbled by iOS but imagine it running macOS with four times the cores and double the clock speed!

    Apple has announced nothing about ARM on Mac. It’s just speculation and rumors.

    Worst case for some is to stay in the last version of macOS they can as it will likely get security updates for a couple years longer like Apple does currently. So we’re looking at 2020 earliest (1 year) plus four years for macOS plus about 2 years for security for a total of 7 years from the 2019 iMac. macOS is fairly mature so I doubt a couple years of missing features will make much difference. Another option is to sell the iMac once Apple transitions, but the other option of keeping it isn’t bad. Most normal people don’t keep up with Apple like we do so we could probably sell it and make a decent chunk since Macs hold their value and people are unaware of what is coming and will just do price comparisons to similar machines around the time they are shopping used. Might take a little bit of a hit but no way we’re going to lose out completely.
  9. hpucker99 macrumors member

    Nov 20, 2009
    Your computer isn't obsolete, it just doesn't run Mohave. I run an early 2011 MBP, it runs fine for what I need it to do. If you bought a new 2019 iMac and Apple came out with ARM machines in 2020, the iMac would still be fine for 7-8 years.
  10. mikehalloran macrumors 65816

    Oct 14, 2018
    The Sillie Con Valley
    They certainly have announced that everything will transition away from Intel to ARM. No timetable or product details have emerged. It’s reasonable to think that the upcoming Mac Pro will be Intel seeing that they’ve been working on it and field testing over at Lucasfilm, Pixar and other studios for over two years now.

    Like most, I expect that it will show up in a laptop first. Maybe... makes sense... ok, we’re talking about Apple.
  11. joema2 macrumors 68000


    Sep 3, 2013
    Where has Apple announced that "everything will transition away from Intel to ARM"? To my knowledge there is only speculation outside of Apple about this.

    Even IF Macs eventually move to ARM, this would likely not begin until 2021 or later when Marzipan is ready for cross-platform development:

    The Mac Pro will likely ship this year and will almost certainly use a high-core-count Xeon, since no ARM CPU yet has that performance. Business customers who pay $20,000 for a maxed-out Mac Pro will probably be using those for a long time, and will expect OS and app support for many years.
  12. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    Even if Apple doesn't switch to ARM-based Macs it is likely that they'll make some future Mac OS require the T2 security chip, which would also obsolete the current iMac.

    ...but let's not get too scared about the word "obsolete" - any computer you buy today is going to be feeling its age in 5 years' time and if you always want to run the latest and greatest there will be other reasons to upgrade before then. That doesn't mean the computer suddenly stops doing what you bought it to do. As for operating systems, I'm still running Sierra and its only just getting to the point where I'd find it worth the hassle of upgrading.

    In terms of predicting the future, the best you can do is look at the timeline for the Intel transition:

    June 2005: Announced
    Jan 2006: First production systems
    Aug 2006: Complete range switched to Intel (way ahead of schedule)
    Apr 2007: Native version of Adobe CS - now you might actually want an Intel Mac
    Aug 2009: Snow Leopard ships without PPC support
    Apr 2010: First version of Adobe CS without PPC support
    June 2011: Support for Leopard ends (according to Wikipedia).
    March 2013: Last update for MS Office 2008 (last version to support PPC)

    So, on that timescale, if Apple announces that they're moving to ARM this June you'd have a couple of years before an ARM Mac had enough native support to be really attractive and 5-6 years before your Intel iMac really starts to become inconvenient.

    If Apple tried to make an Intel to ARM transition much faster than that, it would be a disaster, and you'd be happy to have one of the last "real" Macs!

    Links or it didn't happen. Plenty of rumours which is why people are taking it seriously, but as far as I know Apple haven't announced anything.

    Not to be confused with "Marzipan" which is about having a common application framework for source code compatibility, not making existing, compiled-for-ARM Apps run on Macs - currently Intel and ARM versions still have to be compiled separately and future plans for 'universal' apps could use "fat binaries" (we've already lived with 'universal' apps for 68k/PPC and PPC/Intel done that way) or virtual machine bytecode (as used by Android, Java and Microsoft .net).
    --- Post Merged, Apr 7, 2019 ---
    Marzipan is not dependent on having ARM-based Macs. ARM-based Macs are not dependent on Marzipan. Sure, the two ideas play nicely together, but either one can be done without the other.
  13. dazlicous macrumors 6502a


    Jun 2, 2011
    Would of thought it be the MBA that gets it first over a Pro or iMac
  14. Shivetya macrumors 68000

    Jan 16, 2008
    All that ARM equipped iMacs mean to me is no more iMacs that I am willing to purchase. The x86 base is more important to many than anything Apple puts into a desktop.

    I could see Apple moving a small laptop to ARM but unless the Mac Pro goes first why would anyone follow?
  15. Cashmonee macrumors 65816


    May 27, 2006
    It's not Apple's support you need to worry about. It's developers continued support. As soon as ARM is announced (if it is), you will begin to see developers transition away from Intel developed apps to ARM developed. Now Apple has introduced the idea of easily compiling the same code on Intel and ARM with Marzipan, so that may mitigate things if it is successful. Having said that, my main concern as an owner of a new Mac is being a second class citizen to developers, not Apple.
  16. SkiHound2 macrumors regular

    Jul 15, 2018
    I think a difference from the past is that the Intel platform will almost certainly continued to be used in the Windows world. When Apple moved to Intel based macs it was sort of joining the rest of the market and the PPC was as dead as Marley. Other than maintenance and security upgrades development of OSX would probably come to an abrupt end. I'd guess there will be quite a lot of growing pains as developers try to move software to a new platform. OTOH, software developers may not be so quick to abandon the OsX Intel market because of the user base and Window's continued use of that platform. Of course I'm purely speculating.
  17. Fishrrman, Apr 7, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2019

    Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    If you "need now", BUY now.

    The rumors of the coming "transition to ARM" are... rumors.
    Perhaps it will happen, but no date yet as to when.
    Could be 2020, could be 2021, 2022, or even later for some models.

    Are you going to wait that long?

    There are some advantages to having the 2019 iMac:
    - NO t2 (or t3) chip to cause crashes
    - will remain perhaps "the last Mac" that will run 32 bit software into the future (if that's important to you, it is to me)
    - if the "ARM transition" is a rough one, you'll be sailing along smoothly with an Intel-based iMac.

    BTW, if the old 2010 MBPro is still doing ok, don't abandon it.
    Put an SSD into it along with some RAM (if you haven't done that already), and keep it going!
  18. cuppino macrumors member

    Nov 14, 2018
    I think that if any mac based on ARM comes out, it will be a new model that will work alongside those based on intel processors.
    Returning to a "closed system" would definitely be madness for many reasons.
    For me it will come out a macbook 12 "based on ARM and the rest on intel.
    Obviously it's my thought.
  19. mikehalloran macrumors 65816

    Oct 14, 2018
    The Sillie Con Valley
    Although Apple is the original source, it’s Intel that has confirmed the expected move. They have a responsibility to their investors. Google is your friend.

    This is as good an article as any other on the expected move.
  20. JustMartin macrumors 6502a

    Feb 28, 2012
    Personally (and pure speculation), I would expect Apple to go from the iPad to the next largest device and move up from there rather than start at the high powered end of their product range. So, I think the Macbook Air would be the first to get the Arm treatment.
  21. AlaskaMoose macrumors 68000

    Apr 26, 2008
    You are correct about "not being obsolete." All depends on what one does with the computer. For example, I use my early 2011 iMac for photo editing (not heavy work, however) and then using Safari to transfer my photos to SmugMug. I use a standalone CS6, and Roxio's Nik software package. I could keep on using this iMac for several more years without software updates until it dies. The only problem I have with it is not having additional slots for more RAM.
  22. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    The best I could find was what the MacRumors article I linked to earlier was referencing:

    You claimed that Apple had announced the transition. "[news site] says that unnabed people at Intel privately told them that Apple was going to do such-and-such" is not Apple announcing something - its a rumour. Its plausible maybe, and personally I suspect that it is going to happen but its still a rumour.

    ...and the article you linked to is still getting "Project Marzipan" - which is about a common API and UI for iOS and MacOS -- confused with processor transitions.
  23. BigBoy2018 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 23, 2018
    Thank you.

    I am so tired of all the misinformed posts on this site, it’s a delight to read a post from someone who has actually looked into this and has some thoughtful observations.
  24. neutrino23 macrumors 68000

    Feb 14, 2003
    SF Bay area
    Just my guess, but the iMac and Mac Pro will be the oblast to go ARM. The big benefit to customers would be an ARM based laptop. It would be cheaper and get something like 10+ hours of battery. For this machine Intel compatibility is less important.
  25. mikehalloran macrumors 65816

    Oct 14, 2018
    The Sillie Con Valley
    Right. Whatever makes you happy.

    That is not why Apple moved to Intel. The PPC Consortium was unable to develop a faster processor that met Apple's timetable. When Intel showed a line of processors that could meet Apple's goals, they got the gig. Also important was that the new processors did not require liquid cooling. The G5 had major heat problems as any of us who owned one knows full well and Apple was having major issues with the liquid coolant leaking on the last versions.

    Google it if you like. Disagree if you want but I have dinner now and then with the person in charge of the transition to Intel (now retired) and know others who were involved in the project.

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