All iPads New iPad Pro, signs of ARM-based “Mac”?

pika2000

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I was one of those who got blindsided when Apple put USB-C on the new iPad Pros. I personally thought Apple would stick to lightning.

But then it got me thinking. What if this is their strategy transitioning to ARM-based “Mac”? I put Mac in quotation because it may not be called a Mac. It might be another extension of iOS but adapted into a laptop clamshell form factor. Apple did this already with the iPad, with apps being available now for technically 2 “platforms” of iOS, iPhone and iPad. I can see Apple adding another one, a desktop focused redesign of iOS, but still compatible with the rich iOS App Store.

Now you would ask about the app UI issue. We went through this already in the early days of iPad, where many are using blown up iPhone apps. Since iPad apps already tend to be orientation neutral, the transition wouldn’t be so bad imo.

So instead of trying to put current macOS into ARM, I’m thinking Apple might just be scaling up and redesign iOS instead into a new form factor. They solve a few things. First, they don’t need to worry about intel compatibility. These devices will not use Mac branding, it will be under the iDevice category. Second, they don’t need to support all the legacy stuff as they already start with just a single USB-C port.

The current iPad Pros are also testing bed and placeholder for the “higher” priced newer clamshell form factor imo. Get people used to pay more than $1k for an iDevice. :D
 
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mightyjabba

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Sorry—what does ARM stand for here?
It's the kind of CPU used in Apple's iOS devices, as opposed to the Intel-based CPUs currently used in Macs.

Personally I'm not sure what benefit a laptop-style iOS device would have over the current iPad + keyboard case arrangement, since it would actually be less flexible. I suppose it would have to have pointing device (trackpad) support, but there's nothing to stop them from adding that to the keyboard case just like the Surface devices. An ARM-based Mac, though, could potentially have big benefits in terms of speed and battery life, and I'm sure it's just a matter of time before it becomes a reality -- at least for the portables.
 

pika2000

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It's the kind of CPU used in Apple's iOS devices, as opposed to the Intel-based CPUs currently used in Macs.

Personally I'm not sure what benefit a laptop-style iOS device would have over the current iPad + keyboard case arrangement, since it would actually be less flexible. I suppose it would have to have pointing device (trackpad) support, but there's nothing to stop them from adding that to the keyboard case just like the Surface devices. An ARM-based Mac, though, could potentially have big benefits in terms of speed and battery life, and I'm sure it's just a matter of time before it becomes a reality -- at least for the portables.
I’m thinking the iDevice in clamshell form factor won’t have the exact same UI as current iOS. It will be tailored for keyboard and trackpad UI, but the basis is iOS, eliminating the need to support all compatibility issues if Apple were doing macOS on ARM. And it will not be branded as a Mac. Therefore people buying this won’t have any expectation that it’s a Mac. It will look new, different, but tapping into the already rich iOS App Store.
 
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Macintoshrumors

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Maybe on the MacBook but I don’t think they will be powerful enough to sustain performance on a mbp. Yes, ipads hit scores that are comparable to the mbp but In real world use, if the A12 were in the mbp, performance would drop considerably Over the course of use
 

1rottenapple

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It will be interesting. Apple is making these chips that are surpassing notebook speeds. And Mac releases have been delayed because of the delay of intel chips releasing for the Mac. Therefore I can see apple seeing that they can do chips for macs themselves in the near future. It will be a big change similar to apple moving from power pc to intel but they’ve done it before and I think they will make their own chip for the Mac and MacBook Pro.
 
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pika2000

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And exactly how many MacOS software programs are coded to run on ARM ?
Zero.
Apple must have some pretty fancy emulation prepared.

I’ll take the least powerful Intel 8th Gen i3 CPU before any ARM based processors.

https://www.windowscentral.com/windows-10-arm-here-stay-whether-you-it-or-not
You don't get it. The beauty here, if Apple took this route, is that they don't have to worry about macOS compatibility. This is iOS based, and there are a lot of iOS apps already.
MS Office? Checked
Adobe photoshop? Checked

And it won't probably be called a mac. It won't be a Mac. It will be under the iDevices category.
 
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mightyjabba

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And exactly how many MacOS software programs are coded to run on ARM ?
Zero.
Apple must have some pretty fancy emulation prepared.

I’ll take the least powerful Intel 8th Gen i3 CPU before any ARM based processors.

https://www.windowscentral.com/windows-10-arm-here-stay-whether-you-it-or-not
For programs that are still actively being developed, it will presumably take little more than recompiling to create an ARM version, and of course Apple would presumably be able to create ARM versions of their own software. The question is what will happen with programs that are no longer supported. With the Intel transition they had Rosetta, which did a pretty passable job of running Power PC programs on Intel to help bridge the gap until the major things were updated. But some things always end up getting left behind, and I'm not sure if it's technically feasible when going from Intel to ARM.
 

pika2000

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Maybe on the MacBook but I don’t think they will be powerful enough to sustain performance on a mbp. Yes, ipads hit scores that are comparable to the mbp but In real world use, if the A12 were in the mbp, performance would drop considerably Over the course of use
In my scenario, this will NOT be a Macbook, nor a Macbook Pro. This will not be under the Mac brand. Instead, this is another extension in the iOS device family. From iPhone, we have the iPad. This is the next logical step, foregoing the Mac brand completely. The plus side, you don't have to worry about supporting mac apps.
[doublepost=1544674422][/doublepost]
It will be interesting. Apple is making these chips that are surpassing notebook speeds. And Mac releases have been delayed because of the delay of intel chips releasing for the Mac. Therefore I can see apple seeing that they can do chips for macs themselves in the near future. It will be a big change similar to apple moving from power pc to intel but they’ve done it before and I think they will make their own chip for the Mac and MacBook Pro.
Mac will remain.
This will be another lineup under the iDevice category. It won't replace the Mac at all.
The problem that Microsoft faced with Windows RT and 10S is that they still keep the OS under the Windows family. With that, people expect it to be Windows, and to run Windows programs and all the backward compatibility.

If Apple started this as another iOS device, they don't have to worry about people thinking it's a Mac. It is not. And there are already plenty of apps in the iOS app store to have a good start. Office, Photoshop, they are there already/coming.
 
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mightyjabba

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You don't get it. The beauty here, if Apple took this route, is that they don't have to worry about macOS compatibility. This is iOS based, and there are a lot of iOS apps already.
MS Office? Checked
Adobe photoshop? Checked

And it won't probably be called a mac. It won't be a Mac. It will be under the iDevices category.
Then using the word "Mac" at all probably got us off on the wrong foot, especially since there are very strong indications that the Mac actually is going to be ported to ARM. What you seem to be talking about is a version of iOS that is more like a desktop OS, which would be interesting. But I personally would rather have them incorporate these features into the iPad rather than splitting iOS again.
 
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pika2000

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Then using the word "Mac" at all probably got us off on the wrong foot, especially since there are very strong indications that the Mac actually is going to be ported to ARM. What you seem to be talking about is a version of iOS that is more like a desktop OS, which would be interesting. But I personally would rather have them incorporate these features into the iPad rather than splitting iOS again.
Incorporating these things into the iPad will compromise the point of the iPad imo. I think Apple somewhat knows this. People are still asking for mouse support on the iPad, which will go against Jobs' original vision. Splitting iOS to a new form factor will be a more elegant solution. It can finally shut those who demand the iPad to be what it's not, create a "laptop" free from intel and the legacy of macOS, and encourage more devs to take the iOS platform more seriously.

I have a feeling the retina Macbook line will be discontinued soon. This not only allows less confusion between it and the retina Macbook Air, it will allow Apple to put another laptop that is ultra light, no fans, just one USB-C port.
 
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pika2000

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The next Mac OS is going to be able to run iOS apps so what would be the point exactly?
Sure, and Apple is releasing Airpower, sometime now. :D

I don't see the harm in speculating things in a site called macrumors.
 

1rottenapple

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Then using the word "Mac" at all probably got us off on the wrong foot, especially since there are very strong indications that the Mac actually is going to be ported to ARM. What you seem to be talking about is a version of iOS that is more like a desktop OS, which would be interesting. But I personally would rather have them incorporate these features into the iPad rather than splitting iOS again.
If that’s the case it’s iOS surface pro? I don’t like the idea.
 

pika2000

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If that’s the case it’s iOS surface pro? I don’t like the idea.
iOS based laptop, with redesigned UI focused on desktop use.

Surface Pro is a dud. That form factor was fresh in the beginning, but now no OEMs bothered doing anything more to it. The traditional laptop form factor is already ideal for a Windows laptop.
 

goobot

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Sure, and Apple is releasing Airpower, sometime now. :D

I don't see the harm in speculating things in a site called macrumors.
Obviously there is no harm speculating, but I don’t see the point is a laptop iPad if a Mac in less than a year will be able to run every piece of iOS software out there.
 
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1rottenapple

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iOS based laptop, with redesigned UI focused on desktop use.

Surface Pro is a dud. That form factor was fresh in the beginning, but now no OEMs bothered doing anything more to it. The traditional laptop form factor is already ideal for a Windows laptop.
Nah that’s what we have that apple labeled keyboard thing for the iPad. They can certainly add mouse support and a track pad and not design a whole laptop iOS device the will further split the market and confuse the ignorant masses.
 

akash.nu

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Incorporating these things into the iPad will compromise the point of the iPad imo. I think Apple somewhat knows this. People are still asking for mouse support on the iPad, which will go against Jobs' original vision. Splitting iOS to a new form factor will be a more elegant solution. It can finally shut those who demand the iPad to be what it's not, create a "laptop" free from intel and the legacy of macOS, and encourage more devs to take the iOS platform more seriously.

I have a feeling the retina Macbook line will be discontinued soon. This not only allows less confusion between it and the retina Macbook Air, it will allow Apple to put another laptop that is ultra light, no fans, just one USB-C port.
Outside of MacRumors, I am yet to meet anyone in person who wanted a mouse on an iPad if I’m honest. That user base is so small that apple will happily ignore for the foreseeable future.
 

DNichter

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I’m all for an iOS small laptop of sorts, essentially two current Pro’s with a hinge and a virtual keyboard/trackpad that could also dynamically shift based on the app you’re using, similar to the Touch Bar. I’d buy one immediately, but they don’t need to create a new os to do so. iOS branding isn’t going anywhere, too valuable in my opinion, along with the App Store. They can easily make iOS for iPad anything they want, it doesn’t need to mimic the iPhone, just have continuity between the two devices. I think it would be better just to keep enhancing the overall platform, regardless of screen size. Intel is done for sure though, that’s clear.
 
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AlexiTQ

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ARM64 is a better architecture than AMD64. That did not matter much in the past but as the goin's getting tougher the advantages of ARM64 are getting more important, and Apple is doing a fine job on their ARM64.

Apple has pushed past Intel the last couple of years in terms of performance, clock for clock, and the energy efficiency is much better. Performancewise Apples tablets will soon overtake their much more expensive tablets. In other words, Intel is holding Apple back here.

Even if Intel would catch up there is also the matter of control. Having more control not only means Apple being less reliant on Intel, but it also means more control over where to take out the profits. Apple could, for example, make more expensive SoC;s and choose to take out the profits from other parts that they manufacture.

I reckon Apple could already make chips that'll beat Intels mobile chips. Keep in mind that Intels chips are around 20% larger than the A12X. Apple could probably do some neat things with a little extra die area.

I would not be surprised if Apple is planning to move completely to ARM. They would just have to build in ARM support in the macOS kernel and port their own software, then they're all set. Major software developers would be quick to adapt and they could build some sort of X86 emulation, something like what Microsoft is doing with ARM.

Remains to be seen if Apple goes at it directly, iteratively or just all si-gogglin. However, I am convinced that they'll sooner or later go all in on ARM.