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Microsoft Claims Upcoming ARM-Powered Laptops Offer Multi-Day Battery Life

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Microsoft and Qualcomm have revealed they hope to release ARM-powered laptops by the end of the year, with the two companies promising multi-day battery life from the new machines (via Trusted Reviews).

At its annual 5G summit in Hong Kong, Qualcomm revealed new details about the PCs it is developing in partnership with Microsoft. Known as "Always Connected PCs", the laptops are powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 processor and rely on an ARM emulation layer to run x86 Windows 10 desktop applications.


ARM processors require fewer transistors, which enables a smaller die size for the integrated circuitry. Their smaller size and lower power consumption are two reasons why they can be found in iPhones and iPads, but the increasing performance and efficiency of the chips is making the step up to laptops a realistic proposition.

Microsoft said it is already testing "hundreds" of the ARM-powered laptops internally on a daily basis, with battery life in particular exceeding expectations.
"To be frank, it's actually beyond our expectations. We set a high bar for [our developers], and we're now beyond that. It's the kind of battery life where I use it on a daily basis. I don't take my charger with me. I may charge it every couple of days or so. It's that kind of battery life."

Bernard added: "I would consider it a game-changer in terms of the way people have experienced PCs in the past."
The first round of Always Connected PCs are said to be coming from the likes of Asus, HP, and Lenovo, but they aren't expected to be cheap. Qualcomm said more affordable Windows 10 Always Connected PCs should become available once the portfolio expands.

Apple is reportedly looking into using ARM-based core processor chips for future MacBooks, which would reduce the company's dependence on Intel. Industry sources claim that Apple would instead build its notebook chips using ARM Holding's technology, a British company that designs ARM architecture and licenses it out to other companies.

Article Link: Microsoft Claims Upcoming ARM-Powered Laptops Offer Multi-Day Battery Life
 
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Preclaro_tipo

macrumors regular
Dec 6, 2003
174
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West Lafayette, IN
Apple says that it is a 1,000-year company, no matter how improbable this Intel to ARM seems, no matter how long it could take to do it correctly...it seems evident that this will happen across the industry. Relative to a 1,000-year time frame, of course, this transition away from Intel is going to happen soon!

Apple's ARM implementation is already challenging Intel CPUs designed for laptops, in a phone form factor. (Imagine if Apple CPU designers allowed themselves the thermal space of a laptop!)
 
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Arm64MyMac

macrumors newbie
Oct 4, 2013
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Intel is very much against emulation of their CPU's. I don't know how Intel plans to enforce emulation however. Glad to see real competition to the MacBook. Personally, I think iOS for desktop/laptop makes the most sense. One app that scales from phone to desktop. Adding mouse/trackpad support is the main user interaction functionality remaining and has to be easy given there are jailbreak tweaks that allow that now.

I would think that Apple could supply both Intel AND ARM chips in a crazy hybrid fusion like laptop/desktop machines, which can then perform both backward compatible, battery hungry operations and native arm, battery efficient operations. This would be a good transition to standalone ARM pro level computers in the future.
 
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LittleChief

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Dec 7, 2009
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Dire tidings for 3D-Artists, video editors and other power users.

Why? The current iPads are capable devices, what holds them back is the file system, ingesting footage and I/O. An ARM capable Mac would surely remove those restrictions and sport a massive boost in both speed and efficiency!

Next gen custom designed A series (ARM) processors, custom GFX, a boost in RAM size and speed combined with the fastest storage in the world and it's a world of new opportunity but I imagine it's a long way off for Apple based on their public statements around this topic but who knows!
 
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Preclaro_tipo

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Dec 6, 2003
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Dire tidings for 3D-Artists, video editors and other power users.

Is 'Video' really the right thing to be worried about? 3D? haven't those been GPU reliant for 20 years?

What about data analysis (big data), or augmented reality, those are CPU dependent, right?

This isn't the 90s where you need Silicon Graphics to edit video. Our phones edit video and have for almost 10 years. I'm just saying 'video' isn't a CPU issue, right? Isn't the real issue having local and server storage platform for massive video projects, modular towers with graphic cards and local storage expandability? (a proper pro tower would be a good start)

Given the improvements in Apple's ARM CPU, already challenging laptop Intel, I think if they were to design a CPU with more thermal overhead I don't think the CPU will be the limiting factor for 'video'.
More likely problems: Apple's interest in a video editing platform (computer, server), and a proper pro mac.
 
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Preclaro_tipo

macrumors regular
Dec 6, 2003
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West Lafayette, IN
Microsoft basically shooting itself in the foot.

Apple will bury their performance and battery life with their A chips, finally bound to the Mac thanks to Windows-on-ARM compatibility.
^^^THIS^^^
AND, if my assumptions are correct Apple will have a native ARM OS and have native compiling from Swift to (their own) ARM chips. Emulation, if they even use it, will be for transition (like Rosetta was from PowerPC to Intel).

So, yeah, Apple's native ARM (owned from swift language to their A-series CPU) will crush an emulated platform. Note how much better Games are on iOS vs Android. Imagine emulated x86 games versus native ARM games on Mac OS. It won't even be close.
 
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pika2000

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Intel and Microsoft were never really BFF (despite the wintel combo we see in retail).

If MS is happy with SD835, Apple Ax chips would fly then. I'm sure Apple is frustrated (again) about the performance per watt of intel. Performance per watt was the reason Apple switched from PowerPC to Intel. Intel nailed it big time with Haswell. But after that, even with the core M chips, intel seems to be stagnating. To the point that they added a third cycle in their usual tick-tock cycle. Meanwhile, we see the jump in performance yoy on Apple's Ax SoC. Oh and Apple coincidentally designed a wireless Wx chip to handle, oh, wifi, bluetooth, etc. It's not about if, but when, we would see an Ax powered Mac.

I still remembered the keynote when Jobs announced the intel transition. Would be fun to see yet another transition.
 
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Avieshek

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Microsoft basically shooting itself in the foot.

Apple will bury their performance and battery life with their A chips, finally bound to the Mac thanks to Windows-on-ARM compatibility.
Oh yeah? I think, we'll have thinner devices from Apple instead of 1-week battery life from a Laptop sized battery.
 
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JosephAW

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May 14, 2012
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We all know that inside Apple labs they are already running MacBook and Mac Mini/Pro prototypes running MacOS on their A11x chips as well as on previous and future architectures.
They admitted that they did the same thing internally for years with OS X with the Intel chips until they finally started to match the speed of the Power PC and made the switch before the RISC made the next leap forward in speed.
Who knows what level the Pro Macs would be at now if they would have kept both architectures available for Apple's power users. To bad Apple doesn't publicly provide a workable RISC MacOS version for the upcoming Talos II with Power9 for desktops. Maybe in virtualization we'll see a breakthrough.
 
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maflynn

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I wasn't sold on Apple moving OS X on to ARM, nor am I with MS. I think overall its not a move that works for me, and as such, I'll not be investing in any of my $$

Apple will bury their performance and battery life with their A chips, finally bound to the Mac thanks to Windows-on-ARM compatibility.
I don't know if we'll ever see an ARM based Mac. I think given Apple's products, it would blur the lines between iPads and Macs. I think Apple views Macs as something that is slowing heading into the sunset and iPads are the future. Why make a product that will hurt the iPad and not help the Mac that much
 
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Nozuka

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Jul 3, 2012
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I can definitely see the Macbook going into that direction. Edit: and the Mac Mini

But not the Macbook Pro. At least not for a long time.
 
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maflynn

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May 3, 2009
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I can definitely see the Macbook going into that direction.
Will it run OS X or iOS?

If iOS, what difference is a MacBook over an iPad Pro with a keyboard?
If OS X, how will it perform when it needs to emulate native OS X apps?
 
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Preclaro_tipo

macrumors regular
Dec 6, 2003
174
182
West Lafayette, IN
I wasn't sold on Apple moving OS X on to ARM, nor am I with MS. I think overall its not a move that works for me, and as such, I'll not be investing in any of my $$

I remember when people said this about buying (investing?) in Intel back in 2006. LOL (Intel was the enemy of Apple back then, it was a huge deal to have the CEO come to the announcement.)

Anyway, don't 'invest' any of your $$.
For sure, very smart. Just like the guys that only have PowerPC today. /s
 
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JosephAW

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May 14, 2012
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People talk like they have a part in the decision of Apple and Microsoft moving to ARM processors.
If both companies agree at the same time to move forward to ARM devices and OS's there's nothing we can do about it to stop it and the slow decline of the desktop will begin. For all we know the decision had already been made and they are just planning the rollout date.
Going to linix is not an option for the majority of user so we will like it whether we want it or not.
 
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Olganech

macrumors regular
Mar 21, 2015
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^^^THIS^^^
AND, if my assumptions are correct Apple will have a native ARM OS and have native compiling from Swift to (their own) ARM chips. Emulation, if they even use it, will be for transition (like Rosetta was from PowerPC to Intel).

So, yeah, Apple's native ARM (owned from swift language to their A-series CPU) will crush an emulated platform. Note how much better Games are on iOS vs Android. Imagine emulated x86 games versus native ARM games on Mac OS. It won't even be close.

Window 10 is a native ARM OS. Games got from the Microsoft store will be native ARM.
 
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Olganech

macrumors regular
Mar 21, 2015
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There will always be a need for an intel powered laptop,desktop or server.

Apple & MS will always have their OS's running on a selection of architectures.

Back in the day MS had Windows NT running on ALPHA, intel & MIPS.

And 10 to 15 years before that DEC had systems running Z80 & intel x86 in the Same box that could dual boot CP/M and MS-DOS.

So the history and tech is there. You could have a laptop running an ARM processor and an intel CPU for those times you need the power of an x64 system.

It would just boot to the x64 when needed.
 
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Piggie

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Feb 23, 2010
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Oh yeah? I think, we'll have thinner devices from Apple instead of 1-week battery life from a Laptop sized battery.

Exactly right.
How many time have Apple has the chance to drop power needs, keep form factor the same, and give the consumer, yeay on year better battery life?
Yet they have never done this.
They just make the batteries smaller or the case thinner to keep the battery life the same as always.

Shall we give the customers a 3 day batter rather than 1 day that we have for years?
We can slim down the case, and save money on the battery and stay the same as always instead?

Yes, we will do that. Like they always have done.
 
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