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iMac 2019 and ARM transition

giopiar

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 6, 2019
6
6
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?
 

bigtomato

macrumors regular
Feb 28, 2015
186
138
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.
 
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Biro

macrumors member
Jan 11, 2012
93
39
Apple has a pretty resilient product lifecycle support system - that's why you see 2011 iMacs still running today.

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 My computer is obsolete.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?
 
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Richdmoore

macrumors 68000
Jul 24, 2007
1,864
289
Troutdale, OR
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?

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.
 
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smoking monkey

macrumors 68000
Mar 5, 2008
1,535
552
I HUNGER
... Personally I would buy the Mac mini it so much more upgradeable and get yourself a 32" 4k monitor with egpu for a lot less.
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.
 
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macduke

macrumors G4
Jun 27, 2007
11,302
15,342
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.

Apple has a pretty resilient product lifecycle support system - that's why you see 2011 iMacs still running today.
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.

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.

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!

Don't be. Other than Apple announcing that this is in the future, no one knows anything.
Apple has announced nothing about ARM on Mac. It’s just speculation and rumors.

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.
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.
 
Comment

hpucker99

macrumors member
Nov 20, 2009
44
6
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?

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.
 
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mikehalloran

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Oct 14, 2018
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Apple has announced nothing about ARM on Mac.

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.
 
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joema2

macrumors 68000
Sep 3, 2013
1,606
822
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...

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: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/arti...target-combining-iphone-ipad-mac-apps-by-2021

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.
 
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theluggage

macrumors 603
Jul 29, 2011
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3,975
I’m concerned about ARM transition rumors.

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!

They certainly have announced that everything will transition away from Intel to ARM.

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).
[doublepost=1554633880][/doublepost]
Even IF Macs eventually move to ARM, this would likely not begin until 2021 or later when Marzipan is ready for cross-platform development

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.
 
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Shivetya

macrumors 68000
Jan 16, 2008
1,623
267
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?
 
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Cashmonee

macrumors 65816
May 27, 2006
1,204
879
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.
 
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SkiHound2

macrumors 6502
Jul 15, 2018
266
206
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.

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.
 
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Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
21,197
7,613
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!
 
Last edited:
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cuppino

macrumors member
Nov 14, 2018
34
11
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.
 
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mikehalloran

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Oct 14, 2018
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JustMartin

macrumors 6502a
Feb 28, 2012
768
247
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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.
 
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AlaskaMoose

macrumors 68000
Apr 26, 2008
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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.
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.
 
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theluggage

macrumors 603
Jul 29, 2011
5,007
3,975
Although Apple is the original source, it’s Intel that has confirmed the expected move.

The best I could find was what the MacRumors article I linked to earlier was referencing:

Although the company has yet to say so publicly, developers and Intel officials have privately told Axios they expect such a move as soon as next year.
https://www.axios.com/apple-macbook-arm-chips-ea93c38a-d40a-4873-8de9-7727999c588c.html

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.
 
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BigBoy2018

Suspended
Oct 23, 2018
964
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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).
[doublepost=1554633880][/doublepost]

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.

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.
 
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neutrino23

macrumors 68000
Feb 14, 2003
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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.
 
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mikehalloran

macrumors 68000
Oct 14, 2018
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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.

Right. Whatever makes you happy.

hen Apple moved to Intel based macs it was sort of joining the rest of the market

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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