iOS 10, OS X 10.12, Apple A10 chip, and where this is all headed

wrldwzrd89

macrumors G5
Original poster
Jun 6, 2003
12,107
75
Solon, OH
Things are aligning in a weird way we haven't seen the likes of at Apple, EVER. Next year, if Apple follows its pattern, the iPhone 7 will be released with an A10 inside; the iPad line will be updated with an A10X chip; both of these will ship with iOS 10; let's not forget OS X, which will be updated to 10.12... alignment of the tens, see? This alignment may be the perfect marketing reason to shift Apple's Mac strategy. No, I'm not claiming the Mac will go away. Nor am I claiming the Apple + Intel relationship will sour. In fact, my prediction is for the exact opposite: The Mac will be more important than ever to Apple, due to being based on the Apple A10Y and A10Z processors; the A10Y will basically be an A10X with more cores. I'm guessing the A10Y will have 8 to 16 cores, and will be used in the laptop lines. The A10Z would be based on the A10Y, but with 16 to 64 cores (64 reserved for the Mac Pro), and with souped up graphics capabilities too. Apple knows how good Intel is at running chip fabrication, so Apple simultaneously announces a change in their partnership with Intel: Apple would use Intel as the supplier of the A10Y and the A10Z. The A10 and A10X would continue to be shared between TSMC and Samsung. Finally, to top the icing on this cake I've been building... OS X gets a shiny new file system. Not based on ZFS as so many had hoped, but rather BTRFS, for licensing and compatibility reasons. Mind you, BTRFS is pretty darn good compared to ZFS, and even has some features ZFS doesn't... all this would be dropped like a bombshell at WWDC 2016! :D
 
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WaruiKoohii

macrumors 6502
Oct 4, 2015
392
412
Boston
The odds of Apple moving away from Intel CPUs in their Mac lineup, and going with ARM CPUs instead, is almost certainly not going to happen, at least in the foreseeable future.

Performance isn't there, nor is software compatibility. Not to mention that your idea of Y and Z versions of the A10 CPU is far fetched at best. Apple is still manufacturing dual core CPUs, it's incredibly optimistic to think that they can currently scale to 8-64 cores in the next year, not to mention that it isn't terribly useful and goes against Apple's current idea that fewer, higher performance cores is better than more cores.
 

R2FX

macrumors regular
Mar 25, 2010
138
90
Things are aligning in a weird way we haven't seen the likes of at Apple, EVER. Next year, if Apple follows its pattern, the iPhone 7 will be released with an A10 inside; the iPad line will be updated with an A10X chip; both of these will ship with iOS 10; let's not forget OS X, which will be updated to 10.12... alignment of the tens, see? This alignment may be the perfect marketing reason to shift Apple's Mac strategy....
let's repeat that - marketing reason to shift strategy... boy please get Strategy for dummies so you understand what you're writing
 

Phoenixx

Suspended
Jul 3, 2015
377
555
Apple have been steadily taking Mac OS X in the same direction that Microsoft did with Windows 8, trying to bring features of a mobile platform to the desktop. If they continue this pattern we can expect to see more and more iOS features (Siri is a good example of this, though I believe that Siri would actually be a useful feature). Other aspects will probably include more dumbed down software, making the desktop environment progressively less useful. Apple don't seemed to have learned from Microsofts monumental screwup, that customers do NOT want a mobile OS on their desktop, but they are trying to bring it in by stealth one piece at a time. Features like their full screen start screen (Launch Pad) that looks like something off an iPad, and is very similar to the well hated full screen start menu on Windows 8, are a good example of what has been happening to OS X for years.
 

t0mat0

macrumors 603
Aug 29, 2006
5,428
266
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<ding>
Did someone mention a new file system?

I'd say wait 1 day. WWDC keynote and state of the Union will give a decent few data points for any extrapolation for next year.
 

Jyby

macrumors 6502a
May 31, 2011
543
413
I wouldnt hold your breath. Apple has specific power consumption constraints that required them to develop a chip no one had at the time. The A series... As big as Apple is I wouldnt expect them to job ship from the general consumer hardware just yet. It makes very little operational sense... What with sourcing manufacturing and R&D. Intel fabs will be far cheaper.

As for Apples vision, they already made it pretty obviois. Continuity. Unlike Microsofts all in one, Apple is pushing us towards start on your desktop and carry over to your tablet, then your phone... Its a far superior architecture IMO. Software can be more optimosed for the real world... You cant expect software written for Windows 10 (compiled code) to work well with a mobile environment. So how does the whole all in one system work, if apps barely run on mobile?
 

d-oost

macrumors 6502a
Jan 10, 2016
702
817
How is Apple moving Macs to the far slower ARM architecture in any way a "dream"?

Sounds to me like a nightmare.
That's probably what people thought about Mac switching to Intel when PowerPC was still superior. In the end, what happened? I'm not saying an ARM switchover is going to happen any time soon, but if ARM starts competing with Intel and might end up being superior sometime in the future, Apple might do a switchover. Not only would Macs be more superior in performance, but coding apps for the appleOS line would be easier since everything would be on the same architecture. Who knows what happens, Apple used to laugh at Intel. Anything could happen.
 
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zorinlynx

macrumors 603
May 31, 2007
5,948
7,998
Florida, USA
That's probably what people thought about Mac switching to Intel when PowerPC was still superior. In the end, what happened?
That's just it; when Apple switched from PowerPC to Intel, the Intel architecture was far superior performance-wise at the low to medium end, and about even at the high end.

ARM, however, is nowhere close to being a replacement to the x86_64 architecture. If anything, the Intel architecture is making huge strides in efficiency and power consumption and may eventually be a contender to replace ARM!
 
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CyBeRino

macrumors 6502a
Jun 18, 2011
732
26
That's probably what people thought about Mac switching to Intel when PowerPC was still superior. In the end, what happened?
Well what happened was PowerPC development, in the hands mostly of IBM at that point, stagnated while Intel kept powering on with faster and faster chips. The biggest problem for Apple was IBM's inability to deliver a PPC970 with low-enough energy requirements that it would be usable in a laptop. So for a long time, Apple was stuck making PowerBooks with G4s instead of the G5s it was sticking in its desktop machines. Yet users were yearning for something faster.

Near the end, even the G5s (which started out running circles around x86 chips) were being outclassed by Intel so Apple really had no choice but to make a strategic decision and switch to Intel, for performance reasons alone.

Of course that decision was helped greatly by the fact that Intel was dominating the market for PC processors so this would also give them benefits in terms of manufacturing scale, R&D attention (x86 chips are Intel's most important product, so Apple can be sure they'll see continued development, whereas POWER/PowerPC was more of a side-business for IBM), developer familiarity and of course compatibility with the rest of the PC world, allowing users to run Windows on Macs natively which helped more than a few people switch to Apple hardware.

Much though I loved the PowerPCs, the switch to Intel was, I believe, strategically one of the best decisions Apple has ever made. And so long as x86-64 is still the dominant architecture on the PC market, we aren't going to see another switch.
 
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thingstoponder

macrumors 6502
Oct 23, 2014
354
338
Hahaha. None of this makes any sense.

Remember when people thought the tenth version of iOS was going to be when Apple merges OS X and iOS and calls it iOS X?

Apple will continue to use intel with Macs. If anything renaming OS X to macOS should tell you that they are committed to a Mac platform and a tablet iOS platform. They're two separate things and they aren't merging.

A 64 core processor? That doesn't make any sense. Most software can barely use 2 cores.

Apple wants the iPad to be so good you don't want a Mac/PC. They don't want to turn Macs into ARM machines.
 
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cynics

macrumors G4
Jan 8, 2012
11,554
1,871
X86 is key here. OS X/MacOS plus all the software on it won't work using ARM. Until that hurdle is overcome they'll be using Intel (or AMD in theory).
 

bniu

macrumors 6502a
Mar 21, 2010
990
181
Apple have been steadily taking Mac OS X in the same direction that Microsoft did with Windows 8, trying to bring features of a mobile platform to the desktop. If they continue this pattern we can expect to see more and more iOS features (Siri is a good example of this, though I believe that Siri would actually be a useful feature). Other aspects will probably include more dumbed down software, making the desktop environment progressively less useful. Apple don't seemed to have learned from Microsofts monumental screwup, that customers do NOT want a mobile OS on their desktop, but they are trying to bring it in by stealth one piece at a time. Features like their full screen start screen (Launch Pad) that looks like something off an iPad, and is very similar to the well hated full screen start menu on Windows 8, are a good example of what has been happening to OS X for years.

There are mobile OS features that are nice to have on a desktop. Things such as iBooks, while not an optimal experience on a Mac, because I am used to having it on my iDevices, if I'm on my Mac, the convenience of firing up iBooks to read a chapter or so without having to fish out my devices is the convenience I'm looking for. Having things behave in a similar way between devices and Mac makes the transition much smoother. I actually use iOS for the majority of my time and OS X for only a small fraction of my time. So to make OS X feel more like iOS only makes it so much easier for me.
 
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lysingur

macrumors regular
Dec 30, 2013
212
361
If anything, the Intel architecture...may eventually be a contender to replace ARM!
I'm sorry but you're dead wrong.
[doublepost=1466709237][/doublepost]
Hahaha. None of this makes any sense.

Remember when people thought the tenth version of iOS was going to be when Apple merges OS X and iOS and calls it iOS X?

Apple will continue to use intel with Macs. If anything renaming OS X to macOS should tell you that they are committed to a Mac platform and a tablet iOS platform. They're two separate things and they aren't merging.

A 64 core processor? That doesn't make any sense. Most software can barely use 2 cores.

Apple wants the iPad to be so good you don't want a Mac/PC. They don't want to turn Macs into ARM machines.
With Swift, Metal, APFS, and USB Type-C/Thunderbolt 3, Apple is already laying the groundwork for the switch to ARM. In fact, it's the only viable strategy for both Macs and iPad Pro. iPad Pro itself lacks the user base to induce developers to write serious professional grade apps specifically for what has been marketed as a Pro tablet but with Macs switching to ARM, developers will finally have a good reason to write apps for both. It's called synergy.

The number argument is flawed since there are actually more iOS/macOS users than all Windows users combined so it also makes sense for Apple from a financial point to view. There are enough iOS-installed units out there for Apple to use as a leverage to support the development of a desktop grade ARM chips. It'll not only benefit the Macs but more importantly, the Apple ecosystem as a whole. It's very likely that Apple has come out with the iPad Pro with an eventual Intel exit in mind. It allows Apple to test the ARM chips in an environment that resembles many aspects of laptop/desktop usage. They said it themselves: "A9X is powerful enough to run desktop-class apps" and that A9X are "faster at CPU tasks than 80 percent of portable PCs...and at graphics tasks, it's faster than 90 percent of portable PCs" (Source: MacRumors)

macOS and iOS aren't merging, they're converging, both in software and in hardware. This is the trend of the future. People don't want two separate machines. They want one that's light enough that it can carried around easily and powerful enough that it affords all the benefits of a desktop. USB Type-C/Thunderbolt 3 simplified the steps required to connect to peripherals and wireless technology such as Bluetooth and Wifi even renders some cables redundant. The only thing that's left really is a powerful chip. ARM is well positioned to fill the void that Intel can't for the past 3 years.
 
Last edited:

leman

macrumors G4
Oct 14, 2008
10,461
4,964
With Swift, Metal, APFS, and USB Type-C/Thunderbolt 3, Apple is already laying the groundwork for the switch to ARM. In fact, it's the only viable strategy for both Macs and iPad Pro.
It doesn't necessarily mean that a switch is imminent or even planned. What Apple is striving for is a common development and standards platform. They want the dev to be able to develop and deploy their apps on macOS, iOS, tvOS etc. with ease. The platforms are still very different, but its trivial to share the core business logic of your apps between them. ARM has come a long way and it might be a viable alternative to x86 in the future, but right now x86 till holds the undisputed performance crown.
[doublepost=1466761414][/doublepost]
X86 is key here. OS X/MacOS plus all the software on it won't work using ARM. Until that hurdle is overcome they'll be using Intel (or AMD in theory).
I am quite sure that virtually all software you are currently using on your computer can be cross-compiled to ARM without much of a problem. Biggest hurdles are Office and Adobe stuff, those application suits are terrible.
 

lysingur

macrumors regular
Dec 30, 2013
212
361
It doesn't necessarily mean that a switch is imminent or even planned.
Not imminent but in two to three years (that the switch will have begun). The fact is Intel chips haven't seen a major speed bump for 3 years and won't for the foreseeable future. Whether chips will get faster is now a matter of physics rather than manufacturing. Meanwhile, ARM chips are getting better by the day and it has the major advantage of being designed by Apple. It's in Apple's DNA to want control. Switching to ARM will allow them to control the entire hardware of their products and optimise performance and battery life.

Another likely scenario is Apple will let iPad Pro and MacBook Air exist side-by-side but beef up iOS for iPad Pro significantly so consumers can have a desktop-like experience on their Pro tablet, e.g. system-wide file system. Or they might kill the Air and only have Intel chips inside Pro laptops and desktops. Again, you have to look at cost vs. performance. How much cost is Apple willing to pay for the diminishing performance advantage of the Intel chips?

It's a different story than when they switched to Intel from PowerPCs. As I mentioned, there are now more iOS/macOS-installed units on the market than Windows. Apple has the leverage now that they didn't have back then.
 
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cynics

macrumors G4
Jan 8, 2012
11,554
1,871
It doesn't necessarily mean that a switch is imminent or even planned. What Apple is striving for is a common development and standards platform. They want the dev to be able to develop and deploy their apps on macOS, iOS, tvOS etc. with ease. The platforms are still very different, but its trivial to share the core business logic of your apps between them. ARM has come a long way and it might be a viable alternative to x86 in the future, but right now x86 till holds the undisputed performance crown.
[doublepost=1466761414][/doublepost]

I am quite sure that virtually all software you are currently using on your computer can be cross-compiled to ARM without much of a problem. Biggest hurdles are Office and Adobe stuff, those application suits are terrible.
I'm also sure it can, but it would require every single dev completely recompiling their software specifically for Apple. It's a bear for smaller devs as it is now. There is just no way, at least in the standard methods we are talking about.

Maybe start phasing software in that direction but even then it would take the better part of a decade.

Just my opinion anyway.
 

leman

macrumors G4
Oct 14, 2008
10,461
4,964
I'm also sure it can, but it would require every single dev completely recompiling their software specifically for Apple. It's a bear for smaller devs as it is now. There is just no way, at least in the standard methods we are talking about.
Xcode would do it for you, most of the time you won't even notice (unless you use assembler etc. or do some other weird stuff). Especially for a small devs who don't do anything too complicated, cross-compilation is basically zero-cost. You just prepare your app for release and Xcode will build a fat binary. Even today a lot of developers already do cross-compilation as many are shipping apps that have shared code across iOS and macOS.
 

SlCKB0Y

macrumors 68040
Feb 25, 2012
3,139
203
Sydney, Australia
Not imminent but in two to three years (that the switch will have begun). The fact is Intel chips haven't seen a major speed bump for 3 years and won't for the foreseeable future. Whether chips will get faster is now a matter of physics rather than manufacturing. Meanwhile, ARM chips are getting better by the day.
You've just got no idea. What you're suggesting is just not going to happen and has absolutely no precedent.

By the time that Apple released the first Intel iMac, they were claiming a 2-3x advantage in raw processing power over the G5 version. With the first Macbook pro, they were claiming 4-5x over the fastest G4 Powerbook.

These are the kinds of performance differences that motivated Apple last time and currently the fastest ARM out there is roughly equivalent to the lowest end of Intel CPUs. No one even knows if ARM will scale out to the speed of the Xeons whilst keeping their power consumption advantage, let alone scale out to multiples of Intel performance which would be required to make Apple switch.

Without ARM being multiples faster than Intel, you could also rule out any sort of Rosetta-like x86 emulation to run all the current apps during the years it would take to make the switch. They'd also have to forget about Bootcamp and running Windows and no more Windows or x86/Linux virtualisation.

Anyone who seriously thinks Apple would consider this switch to ARM in the near future doesn't understand the reasons for the switch the last time.
[doublepost=1466807871][/doublepost]
As I mentioned, there are now more iOS/macOS-installed units on the market than Windows.
Rubbish. Absolute rubbish. The Windows to iOS+OS X ratio is 1.5:1 and even then it is totally disingenuous to include iPhones in this comparison.
[doublepost=1466808042][/doublepost]
I'm sorry but you're dead wrong.
[doublepost=1466709237][/doublepost]

With Swift, Metal, APFS, and USB Type-C/Thunderbolt 3, Apple is already laying the groundwork for the switch to ARM.
What do you base this on? OS X and iOS have always had huge amounts of code in common.
[doublepost=1466808167][/doublepost]
The only thing that's left really is a powerful chip. ARM is well positioned to fill the void that Intel can't for the past 3 years.
HAHAHA. I love this. The "only" thing missing is the thing that is by far the most important, maybe not even possible and certainly not within your 3 year prediction.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
66,392
33,010
Boston
How is Apple moving Macs to the far slower ARM architecture in any way a "dream"?
Agreed, and if Apple did that, they'd lose myself as a customer. Its getting harder and harder to justify spending 2,000 for a new computer every handful of years. More so lately given how Apple is moving to a completely sealed design.

hat's probably what people thought about Mac switching to Intel when PowerPC was still superior
No it wasn't. Apple was going to switch to Intel back during the G4 days, because Moto and IBM were not able to keep up with inventory, improvements like Intel.

IBM promised Apple they could and showed off their G5 which they said could hit 3GHz in a year, and will also have a low power model for laptops. IBM failed in rolling out quantities needed for Apple, never hit the 3GHz model, nor the low power version.

While marginally faster then a PC (see barefeats benchmarks) it was not superior in many ways as noted above. It cannot be considered superior when there was no way to get a laptop version of the G5.
 

throAU

macrumors 603
Feb 13, 2012
6,212
3,558
Perth, Western Australia
Mac on ARM will not happen. The processing power isn't there and neither is the compatibility with existing software. It would be a huge amount of change and gnashing of teeth and loss of compatibility with other platforms for nothing. The current crop of intel CPUs are no slouch in processing power per watt, and outright faster than anything ARM has on the table. The Core Ms are pretty darn good at the low end, too.

Right now, the mac is popular with power users because it runs macOS, Windows, Linux and other platforms in virtual machines. Its the ultimate cross-platform developer/coder machine. Switch to ARM and that goes out the window immediately. If you want an ARM based machine, buy an iPad Pro and use that.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
66,392
33,010
Boston
because it runs macOS, Windows, Linux and other platforms in virtual machines. Its the ultimate cross-platform developer/coder machine.
I remember the transition from PPC to Intel, and it seemed like overnight people started clamoring for Macs because it would now run Windows and many builds of Linux. The Macintosh marketshare would not be as healthy as it is today, (regardless of the iPhone halo affect), if they stayed on the PPC or moved to the Ax processor.
 

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