iMac with ARM processors

Discussion in 'iMac' started by sromurcam76, May 31, 2014.

  1. sromurcam76 macrumors newbie

    May 30, 2014
    Is there any chance Apple will announce iMac with multi-core ARM processors in WWDC2014?

    I really want to own iMac (all-in-one with large monitor) to develop iOS apps without spending large amount of money.

    I want 21-inch, quad-core ARM processor, 8GB memory, 1TB hard disk, $999 :D
  2. The-Pro macrumors 65816

    Dec 2, 2010
    your better of getting yourself a refurbished low end model.
    Im not sure about this but I think the low end intel chips are cheaper for apple to use then having custom made ARM chips, which require different logic boards etc. There also aren't any heat, space or energy usage constraints in the iMac. I dont see a benefit in using a small, low heat, low energy consumption chip in a desktop like that. In a MacBook Air the benefits are very clear.
    Thats just my opinion.
  3. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    There is a chance, but I think the odds are remote.

    I think what's more likely is apple will unveil a low end netbook like product that is ARM based. The question is whether Apple intends to transition completely over to ARM. If they do roll out an ARM based computer, they'll hopefully tell the developers what their long range goals are with ARM and computers, i.e., replacing intel or not.
  4. blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    I would bet more on x86 based phones and phablets than on ARM based desktops.
  5. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    That will never happen since Apple uses their own home grown A series ARM processor.
  6. slayerizer macrumors 6502a

    Nov 9, 2012
    I also heard they will put back grayscale display. It's more pure and will get rid of the yellowish display they're selling. The sound card will be replaced by a whistle.. That is about what I got.

  7. crsh1976, May 31, 2014
    Last edited: May 31, 2014

    crsh1976 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 13, 2011
    I'm not sure I understand what the issue is with current Intel Macs when it comes to developing iOS apps since Xcode does a great job and Intel chips have no trouble emulating an iOS device for testing. Hell, you can get this done on a second-hand Intel-based Mini bought off eBay and it'll do the job.

    On the other hand, an ARM-powered desktop would be limited to iOS apps and won't be able to run OSX applications, like video games and word processors and whatever else. To emulated a X86 chip to keep some form of compatibility, it'll take many more ARM chips bridged together, you'll also lose all forms of hardware virtualization for VMs and running Windows via Bootcamp/Parallels/etc. You can also kiss goodbye to all applications that use GPU acceleration - pro video editing and modern video games that use beefy game engines alike.

    I honestly don't see the benefit, in fact it seems more like a total downgrade - iOS apps are fun and all, but I need more than that to get the job done.
  8. coolspot18 macrumors 65816

    Aug 16, 2010
    The processor is only a fraction of the cost of an iMac. The screen, chassis, and other components is what makes an iMac expensive.

    Also, ARM in a desktop is a horrible idea ... they are not fast enough for daily computing. If Apple where to put in a low power process, Intel Atom is a better choice, x86 compatibility, low power consumption and good performance.

    Maybe but the upcoming Intel Atom chips are very competitive against ARM processors. Why would Apple continue to sink money into silicon design when there is a better, off the shelf, solution?
  9. bensimpsy macrumors newbie

    Sep 5, 2013
    the day they switch to an ARM processor is the day they lose me as a customer.
  10. 12dylan34 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 3, 2009
    I feel like this would have to be something announced a year or more out, because it's such a high difference from Intel, and would require significant rewriting of code.

    Otherwise you have a computer capable of running Safari and all of Apple's apps, and that's it. It might appeal to some really light users who just surf the web, but that's about it. Pretty much not useful for getting anything done aside from what can be done through the web.
  11. MattInOz macrumors 68030


    Jan 19, 2006
    I think the iMac will change to a laser projection display technology before it changes to ARM chip.
  12. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    Apple practically did the transition from PowerPC to Intel overnight, because they had been compiling Intel builds of OS X secretly all the time.

    I wouldn't bat an eyelash if they've been doing the same thing for ARM.

    But either way, I won't use an ARM Mac because I doubt it's capable for extreme work like 4K video editing.
  13. blanka, Jun 1, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2014

    blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    That is not a reason. They can continue to use ARM on iWatches, Apple TV's and low budget iPhones/iPads or even sell the whole CPU design business again. Apple has proven to be the most flexible company regarding their CPU choice. 6502, 680xx, PPC, Intel, ARM, they really don't care to make a switch.

    If Microsoft is taking of with their Surface Pro concept, mostly helped by Asus doing the same in low-budget, Apple will follow instead of lead.
    The Asus T100 is the most sought after tablet right now for a reason! If Asus manages to get the T100/T200 core values in a 6-7 inch phone like device, they will shake up the smart phone business a lot. I will ditch my iPhone right away for this mini-PC with built in screen.
  14. dlewis23 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 23, 2007
    It doesn't emulate ARM. Remember its the iOS Simulator not emulator. When it builds the app for the simulator archatecture is Intel.
  15. crsh1976 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 13, 2011
    I admit I had to look up the difference between the two, all I meant was that it's a software process rather than a hardware-accelerated one (virtualization).
  16. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    I think its a fairly safe bet that they're not going to pull an ARM-based iMac out of their hat today. However, as part of a longer-term project there's no reason why a big, wealthy firm like Apple couldn't address all of the problems you list, especially since they're the unchallenged experts when it comes to switching platforms between processors (68K to PPC, PPC to Intel).

    Much recent, well-written software could be easily re-compiled for ARM by flipping a switch in Xcode (old, legacy-ridden code like Adobe CS might take longer). For everything else there's translators like Rosetta.

    To replace Intel in their higher-end desktops, they'd have to come up with desktop-class ARM processors, possibly with PCIe support and OpenCL-compatible graphics. ARM is a hugely flexible platform designed for third parties to play 'pick'n'mix' with the individual modules of a CPU, plus Apple have a history of working with ARM (pretty sure they owned part of it at one stage) so while that isn't going to happen tomorrow, its not impossible.

    ...meanwhile, ARM processors have more than enough grunt for web browsing, word processors and email, especially when coupled with dedicated chips for video decompression etc. (e.g. the $50 Raspberry Pi, which is pretty feeble even by ARM standards, quite happily plays back full HD video).

    The better question is "why?" - and the answer to that would be that ARM allows Apple to effectively design custom chipsets to fit their products, rather than build products around whatever chips Intel deigned to produce.

    I don't think its very likely, let alone imminent - but its a lot more feasible than some people let out.
  17. Thermonuclear macrumors 6502

    May 23, 2009
    Each of Apple's three CPU architecture switches (6502 -> M68K, M68K -> PowerPC, and PowerPC -> x86) brought a big increase with CPU throughput. This is very unlikely to happen with a switch to ARM for desktops and notebooks.

    Could ARM be vastly improved? At present, ARM can barely keep up with the unending software bloat in iOS and iOS applications. Research and development money will see a better return when spent on speed and capacity improvements to RAM and flash.

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