Leaving Apple over ARM Based Macs discussion [merged]

SocialKonstruct

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Original poster
Apr 21, 2020
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Midvale, UT
For those who do professional work, would anyone consider switching to Microsoft Surface Book for productivity if Apple decides to go full ARM with their professional lineup?
 
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matram

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Sep 18, 2011
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I would by a second computer not switch, for me it would be a Lenovo X1. But in Sweden that system costs more than my 16” even with a weaker spec, so I will not rush :)
 

Yebubbleman

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If Apple goes ARM completely, they're going to have worked with Adobe and Microsoft and all of the other main players to make sure that software isn't running slower. That's not the reason to acquire a Microsoft Surface Book in response. The reason to do that will be if they mandate that all software made for ARMacOS can only be installed via the Mac App Store; if they effectively kill off third party installation. That's the reason to start sticking your foot outside of the Mac platform. But, honestly, if you've been paying attention, they've been moving in this direction since Mac OS X Lion came out in 2011. And they know that the Mac App Store is failing because it's not the only option.
 

SocialKonstruct

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Original poster
Apr 21, 2020
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Midvale, UT
If Apple goes ARM completely, they're going to have worked with Adobe and Microsoft and all of the other main players to make sure that software isn't running slower. That's not the reason to acquire a Microsoft Surface Book in response. The reason to do that will be if they mandate that all software made for ARMacOS can only be installed via the Mac App Store; if they effectively kill off third party installation. That's the reason to start sticking your foot outside of the Mac platform. But, honestly, if you've been paying attention, they've been moving in this direction since Mac OS X Lion came out in 2011. And they know that the Mac App Store is failing because it's not the only option.
Blocking third-party apps on the new ARM Macs will be the surest way to kill off the lineup in a heartbeat. Freedom to install any app, Store or not, is very important which is why iPad Pro isn't a professional device for developers.
 

albusseverus

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Nov 28, 2007
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I'm not sure I understand the question. What "Professional" work are you doing that requires a Microsoft device?
Parallels have already confirmed that ARM Macs will be no problem for Windows/Linux emulation (Mac Observer Background Mode podcast). You'll have to ask them why it's already covered, and they won't tell you anymore than they've already said.

If you're referring to Microsoft and Adobe not wanting to port to ARM, and you know they won't, even with a year's notice - they'll cry poor after ARM Macs get released and say they can't possibly do it NOW. Apple will have privately communicated with such big software vendors even before an official ARM announcement, but none of them ever move before the deadline, nor use Apple's APIs that will speed porting…

Logic and FinalCut are looking a better investment every day.
Affinity have the Adobe publishing apps well covered by now - and they can move quicker, not least of which… Apple's APIs… etc.
Black Magic Resolve uses Metal, so they'll be OK for grading (and editing for that matter).

Apple lost the very high end pro video and audio market with the Cylinder. They've been using Windows for 7 years. All the specialist hardware vendors are long Windows-only. It will take Apple 10 years to win them back, maybe longer if Mac goes ARM, but I'm not sure Apple's really trying to win that market back.
 

Yebubbleman

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Blocking third-party apps on the new ARM Macs will be the surest way to kill off the lineup in a heartbeat. Freedom to install any app, Store or not, is very important which is why iPad Pro isn't a professional device for developers.
You misread what I said. I'm saying that Apple may make it so that third party apps can only be installed via the Mac App Store. They're not going to block ALL third party apps. That'd be utter lunacy. But them making an architecture switch gives them a massive opportunity to say "here's the new Xcode wherein you can produce native ARMacOS applications, but, by the way, you can only install them using the Mac App Store".

They're trying to make installation and configuration of macOS and its third party apps as similar to iPadOS as possible. Every version of macOS to come out since and including Mac OS X Lion has furthered this agenda bit by bit. Catalina separating the OS to a read-only partition while applications and user data reside on a "Data" partition is further evidence of this (as iOS and iPadOS on-board storage mediums have always been organized in this fashion).

Right now, the fact that the Mac App Store is performing poorly is no secret to anyone and especially not Apple. In their eyes, they need to fix this. everyone knows that they won't be able to unless they either (a) drop the 70/30 and 85/15 splits wherein Apple takes some of the profit as well as many of the requirements for being able to sell on the Mac App Store. or (b) mandate that third party software can only be installed via the Mac App Store. The former isn't ever going to happen. The latter, I'd wager, will happen when they switch to ARM. For the record, I'm REALLY hoping I'm wrong. But I just as much don't think I am.
 

throAU

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Feb 13, 2012
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For those who do professional work, would anyone consider switching to Microsoft Surface Book for productivity if Apple decides to go full ARM with their professional lineup?
Not a chance in hell.

My professional workload (enterprise system administrator) can all be done via remote access using RDP, SSH or HTTPS (browser).
 

Babmo

macrumors newbie
Feb 13, 2019
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I'm saying that Apple may make it so that third party apps can only be installed via the Mac App Store.
Where did you get any indication of that? That would essentially cripple the whole platform, and Apple knows it. Mac App Store is not nearly as extensive as the iOS one.
I’m also rather positive that big players like MS and Adobe will have their apps ready at launch, not bug-free (like they ever are) but functioning. It’s not 2007 anymore, they can’t afford bad PR with alternatives just waiting for a chance like that.

I think one of the ARM side effects that Apple enjoys is that it would kill off Hackintosh. You can’t do that if the software is severely limited. I’m not sure, but I believe there are ARM Windows builds, so even dual-booting might be still possible.
 

SocialKonstruct

macrumors regular
Original poster
Apr 21, 2020
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Midvale, UT
Where did you get any indication of that? That would essentially cripple the whole platform, and Apple knows it. Mac App Store is not nearly as extensive as the iOS one.
I’m also rather positive that big players like MS and Adobe will have their apps ready at launch, not bug-free (like they ever are) but functioning. It’s not 2007 anymore, they can’t afford bad PR with alternatives just waiting for a chance like that.

I think one of the ARM side effects that Apple enjoys is that it would kill off Hackintosh. You can’t do that if the software is severely limited. I’m not sure, but I believe there are ARM Windows builds, so even dual-booting might be still possible.
Not necessarily. Actually it will make it easier to port MacOS for Raspberry Pi and other ARM-based desktops which are much cheaper than their Intel equivalents. We could see cheaper Hackintoshes soon and I'm all for that :D
 

albusseverus

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Nov 28, 2007
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Mac App Store apps only…

Where did you get any indication of that? That would essentially cripple the whole platform, and Apple knows it.
There's nothing stopping Apple mandating apps go through the App Store right now. ARM has nothing to do with it [I still don't understand the question.]

I'd argue that the Mac platform is pretty much crippled right now. App-Store-only apps would be the least of our worries.
Sandboxing was the wrong answer to the wrong question.
If you heard the ATP discussion about security procedures causing everything to grind to a halt, so that you can't even get an Open or Save dialogue without the OS having to consult Apple's servers for the most-up-to-date malware list.
Mac OS is pretty well stuffed.
It's a wonky, rickety old barn, patches bolted on every which way, up and sideways - with an out-of-control Catalyst tractor crashed into the foundations - about to topple the whole thing to the ground. Remember, Apple thought those first Catalyst apps were good apps, just that the developer's choices were not to everyone's tastes.

MacOS has been in maintenance mode since iPhone arrived, just enough patches to maintain minimal interoperability with iOS - and don't get me started on Touch and Pencil support. Mac should be the -premium- Touch and Pencil experience! And iPad an adjunct for when you want to get away from your desk!

Apple likes to brag about how big its Mac business is, even bigger than it was when iPhone arrived, yet the platform is run less effectively than ever. It is artificially held back to boost failing iPad sales. Not that iPad is a superior experience, just that it's more profitable. This is a mammoth miscalculation/failure of Apple management and we're all paying the price right now. The future? I'm not optimistic.
 

poorcody

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Jul 23, 2013
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If I switched it would probably be to a Lenovo X1, but I would look at the Surface Book.

If running Windows under a VM becomes impossible on the Mac, I would look to some sort of remote Windows Desktop first. For my needs I suspect that would be acceptable. I am already doing that to some extent for ML coding.

If that doesn't work, not sure what I would do. I am reluctant to leave Mac because I really like and make use of the integration with all the other Apple devices in my life. My main function on Windows is Visual Studio, but Microsoft has actually really picked-up the quality of the Mac version and made their tooling much more Apple-friendly, so that may suffice. But it is nice to be able to run Windows when you come across some stray application that you have to use... I hope they provide some sort of bridge, even if it's a little slower via emulation.
 
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maflynn

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May 3, 2009
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If I switched it would probably be to a Lenovo X1,
I have one and its an excellent computer, and you frequently find it on sale.

f running Windows under a VM becomes impossible on the Mac,
I'd say that its going to be a given that windows itself will not run on an ARM based Mac. During PPC days, there was an emulation and that was the only way to run, but it was barely useable, simply because that application was emulating an intel cpu, and that app called virtual PC was slow.

I understand that MS has an ARM based version of windows, but that hasn't received a high level of traction and its highly limited to apps, i.e., only apps on the MS app store. For instance, Chrome cannot run on that, and steam as well, and running 64bit apps is not something you can do yet
 

pshufd

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Oct 24, 2013
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I want to see Apple's plans. If they are going to do a wholesale switch (which I very much doubt), then I'd buy a high-spec Intel MacBook Pro and maybe a Mac Pro before then and use it until Mac ARM is stable enough for my use. I don't know what tech they will use to run Intel Apps but I assume that they will have something. If it's code translation, then that may be good enough. If it's emulation, there's going to be a performance hit. So for me, it's wait and see.

One thing that I could see: bye, bye Hackintosh.
- - Post merged: - -

If I switched it would probably be to a Lenovo X1, but I would look at the Surface Book.

If running Windows under a VM becomes impossible on the Mac, I would look to some sort of remote Windows Desktop first. For my needs I suspect that would be acceptable. I am already doing that to some extent for ML coding.

If that doesn't work, not sure what I would do. I am reluctant to leave Mac because I really like and make use of the integration with all the other Apple devices in my life. My main function on Windows is Visual Studio, but Microsoft has actually really picked-up the quality of the Mac version and made their tooling much more Apple-friendly, so that may suffice. But it is nice to be able to run Windows when you come across some stray application that you have to use... I hope they provide some sort of bridge, even if it's a little slower via emulation.
I have that option too. I could just run a Windows box in a corner and RDP into it.
 

pshufd

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Oct 24, 2013
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I'm contemplating switching to either the Dell XPS 17 or Lenovo Extreme Gen 2.

Windows are as good as MacOS these days.
I like the XPS 17.

I still prefer macOS. I have a Windows 10 desktop and a MacBook Pro 15 on my desk right now. The MacBook Pro is hooked up to 4K and QHD monitors, the Windows 10 is hooked up to a 4K monitor. I go back and forth between the two and I have to think every time I cut and paste or use Virtual Desktop. Windows gets the job done. I find macOS more elegant in many ways. Am thinking of getting a Mac Pro so that I don't have to run Windows. I could put it somewhere else and RDP into it for when I need it.
 
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jerryk

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Nov 3, 2011
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Nope.

I think people are getting way ahead of this and reading disaster scenarios where they do not exist. Wait until WWDC and follow the announcements and transition plans closely. Apple is not making this change lightly. They have analyzed this transition for years.
 

AndyMacAndMic

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May 25, 2017
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For those who do professional work, would anyone consider switching to Microsoft Surface Book for productivity if Apple decides to go full ARM with their professional lineup?
On the Windows side there is much more choice in hardware than only Surface books.

Dell XPS, Lenovo, HP, Razer, Asus etc. all come to mind. I would not limit myself to a Surface Book. To me a Surface Book has a lot of disadvantages equal to a Macbook (very expensive, limited reparability, soldered RAM, soldered SSD, non replaceable batteries etc.).

As a developer I need more flexibility than a Mac and a Surface Book can offer.
 
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poorcody

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Jul 23, 2013
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I have one and its an excellent computer, and you frequently find it on sale.
Yeah I know I followed some of your posts about buying it -- that was useful, thanks! I used to have a ThinkPad before I went back to the Mac. They are nice machines in my experience.

I'd say that its going to be a given that windows itself will not run on an ARM based Mac. During PPC days, there was an emulation and that was the only way to run, but it was barely useable, simply because that application was emulating an intel cpu, and that app called virtual PC was slow.
Yeah, I agree emulation was too slow back then (I did have a copy of Virtual PC -- brings back memories!). I just think that the emulation price as a percentage of processor power these days is much less, so it may be acceptable (assuming they even do it). I wouldn't expect to play any games or such, but for desktop apps, maybe...

I understand that MS has an ARM based version of windows, but that hasn't received a high level of traction and its highly limited to apps, i.e., only apps on the MS app store. For instance, Chrome cannot run on that, and steam as well, and running 64bit apps is not something you can do yet
Agreed... I've been following some of the tech behind Microsoft's work on it... they are doing some neat stuff to make it happen, but the end result doesn't sound too encouraging from what I've been reading, at least so far.
 
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BigMcGuire

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I already went Windows this year - built a cheap desktop RIGHT before the virus hit. If and when they send us back to work, like some of the others here, the X1 looks amazing. I ran Parallels on Mac for years. This desktop has opened my eyes to what a native Windows machine runs like.

While I love Mac OS and still use my MBP now and then - being able to work and game on a native Windows OS has opened my eyes. So much faster. (AMD Ryzen 3600x, 64GB ram, 2x 1TB NVME 2x 1TB Sata, RX 580) for under $1300.

Surface books are too expensive - with a MBP in my possession, I really don't want to spend $2k+ on a laptop.
 

pshufd

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Yeah I know I followed some of your posts about buying it -- that was useful, thanks! I used to have a ThinkPad before I went back to the Mac. They are nice machines in my experience.

Yeah, I agree emulation was too slow back then (I did have a copy of Virtual PC -- brings back memories!). I just think that the emulation price as a percentage of processor power these days is much less, so it may be acceptable (assuming they even do it). I wouldn't expect to play any games or such, but for desktop apps, maybe...

Agreed... I've been following some of the tech behind Microsoft's work on it... they are doing some neat stuff to make it happen, but the end result doesn't sound too encouraging from what I've been reading, at least so far.
Back in the 1990s, Digital Equipment Corporation made a Windows Workstation based on the Alpha chip. There were two other hardware companies that did this as well. Digital Equipment Corporation had a program called FX!32 which allowed you to run Windows x86 programs on the AlphaStation.

It worked by doing on-the-fly code translation - so it translated x86 instructions on the fly to Alpha instructions and executed them natively. It would also build a translated executable while it was doing the translation - so the more code used in your program, the faster it would get. It also had scheduled code translation so that you could translate your programs at night. The end result after code translation is that your programs ran at native CPU speed.

Java added Just-In-Time compilation back in the 2000s as did the major browsers for Javascript and it added vast performance improvements to interpreted code. JIT compilation is basically what FX!32 was but FX!32 also had offline compilation. Apple may very well have a technical solution to running x86 programs on ARM with no performance hit outside of the one-time hit for translation.

Translation is 100% though. It doesn't work for something like jump tables (something you see in Machine Code, Assembler and C programming) or generated code (programs which generate native machine code on the fly). Those would have to be ported.
 
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theluggage

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Jul 29, 2011
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For those who do professional work, would anyone consider switching to Microsoft Surface Book for productivity if Apple decides to go full ARM with their professional lineup?
Actually, I tried exactly that a few years ago and it all went swimmingly until the Surface Book died from the "sleep of death" fault that plagued those machines. The Surface Book was, superficially, the most obvious MacBook competitor - but also matches the Mac on sky-high prices and out-of-date specs, and I suspect that its detachable tablet section (with GPU and extra power/io in the base) was also the cause of its unreliability. More attractive PC laptops are available from the likes of Dell, Asus, HP... I went back to Apple because the 2017 iMac was a decent system, implemented USB-C in a sensible way (i.e. replace the Thunderbolt 2, keep USB-A and Ethernet) - and even though I didn't really want an all-in-one, the iMac display is really nice... Plus my 2011 MacBook pro was, then, still a perfectly good system that met my portable needs.

But, no, switching to ARM in itself won't make me dump Apple - there's no reason why any of the major applications I use shouldn't be ARM native within in a year or so - only a problem if Apple mishandle the transition so people are forced to buy ARM macs prematurely. Making sure all the Intel models get one last update this year should do it.

5 years ago, losing the ability to run (x86) Windows would have been a dealbreaker - now, not so much. #1 reason was to test websites in Internet Explorer - which was an absolute pain for quirks and outdated features - now IE is pretty much dead, MS is using Chromium, and my recent experience is that when I've tested web stuff under parallels the "bugs" have been false alarms caused by glitches in parallels. Also, I need to test websites/webapps on Windows touchscreen so I'm going to have to get a Windows 2-in-1 at some stage anyway. The last bit of Windows software I was using - Xara - has now been effectively replaced by Affinity Designer (it took a while, but it finally has arrowheads!) and - who knows - running Windows for ARM might even be an option for some things. Virtualising Linux is also useful, but for everything short of testing x86 binaries, ARM Linux can do the trick and most things are processor-agnostic. Anyway, it's 2020 and you can spin up any flavour of x86 Linux in the cloud for peanuts.

What will make me switch is if, when I'm ready to upgrade, Apple don't offer the form-factor and specs I need. Currently, the don't - the new Mac Pro is strictly for millionaire YouTube influencers, I'm already frustrated by the fixed screen in my iMac and a Mac Mini with a choice between Intel's most basic iGPU and a ridiculous external GPU is a non-starter. For other people, it may be the lack of a sensible desktop-replacement laptop with decent thermals, I/O and affordable internal storage. I'm not holding my breath - some of it is Apple being Apple - but ARM might actually improve some of those things - the GPU problem with the Mini is down to Intel not offering premium GPUs on desktop processors, and ARM laptops should have better thermals than Intel.

Blocking third-party apps on the new ARM Macs will be the surest way to kill off the lineup in a heartbeat. Freedom to install any app, Store or not, is very important which is why iPad Pro isn't a professional device for developers.
Which is nothing to do with ARM - Apple could lock down MacOS on Intel starting with MacOS 0.16 if they were so inclined and it will be even easier when they finally update the iMac and all their current hardware has the T2 chip.

If that's their aim, though, it would make more sense to just gradually replace the Mac with the iPad - the two significant differences between iPad and Mac are (a) the different user interface - and they're already eroding that with mouse support and magic keyboards - and (b) the lack of (compulsory) lock-down.

We'll know soon which direction Apple is going in.
 

pshufd

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I already went Windows this year - built a cheap desktop RIGHT before the virus hit. If and when they send us back to work, like some of the others here, the X1 looks amazing. I ran Parallels on Mac for years. This desktop has opened my eyes to what a native Windows machine runs like.

While I love Mac OS and still use my MBP now and then - being able to work and game on a native Windows OS has opened my eyes. So much faster. (AMD Ryzen 3600x, 64GB ram, 2x 1TB NVME 2x 1TB Sata, RX 580) for under $1300.

Surface books are too expensive - with a MBP in my possession, I really don't want to spend $2k+ on a laptop.
I'm using a 2008 Studio XPS desktop. 48 GB of RAM, modern video card, SSD + HDD. It cost me $586 back in 2008. It makes for a great trading machine. Windows is nice in that you can get a lot of hardware for very little. Windows 10 is much better than it was when it was launched. But my work environment is Linux so I still use Macs for office work.
 
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sub150

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I'd love to see O365 optimize their products for ARM Macs. They suck on MacOS.
 

pshufd

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I'd love to see O365 optimize their products for ARM Macs. They suck on MacOS.
I'm finding more programs running on portable platforms these days. It means that they support more operating systems and even hardware architectures but they usually lose somewhat in performance, UI consistency and functionality. They also then build platform dependencies.
 
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