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Thread: News - Apple reportedly planning to switch MacBooks to ARM

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    News - Apple reportedly planning to switch MacBooks to ARM

    Just a rumour, but certainly an intriguing one.
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    Re: News - Apple reportedly planning to switch MacBooks to ARM

    I really can't see this happening. Maybe if they produce a Netbook like an iPad with a built in keyboard. Having to have devs producing code for the same apps for both ARM and x86 just won't work, and R+D your own custom hardware for desktops is probably cost prohibitive.

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    Re: News - Apple reportedly planning to switch MacBooks to ARM

    Having apps work on both architectures really isn't a massive amount of work. Where did people get this idea in the first place? :\

    Look at NetBSD, they run on more architectures than you can shake a stick at, and that's developed by a small number of ragtag developers.
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    Re: News - Apple reportedly planning to switch MacBooks to ARM

    I doubt it, the only reasons to do so are cost and battery life, loads of people buy macbooks anyway no matter the price and the battery life is pretty good anyway so there's hardly any point.

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    Re: News - Apple reportedly planning to switch MacBooks to ARM

    Quote Originally Posted by HW_90 View Post
    I doubt it, the only reasons to do so are cost and battery life, loads of people buy macbooks anyway no matter the price and the battery life is pretty good anyway so there's hardly any point.
    And what if you change the battery life from hours to days? It'd be pretty nice to not have to keep the laptop permanently tethered to a wall socket unless you really need to move it.
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    Re: News - Apple reportedly planning to switch MacBooks to ARM

    I'd give a bit of credence to this speculation, HP already announced at the beginning of the year that it would integrate the Palm Web OS into its desktop/laptop products in the near future. That's a big tech industry player. Not to mention Googles' Chrome OS (whenever that's coming?) which adds another proposition to OEMs. HP announcement might have also led/give more credibility to Microsoft coding for the ARM architecture on its next OS. So given these facts it's not hard to assume Apple would want to switch to ARM. Could we even see a relationship whereby we have an Apple designed, ARM based chip fabricated by Intel (with some of it's ancillary technologies like thunderbolt). Win-Win?!

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    Re: News - Apple reportedly planning to switch MacBooks to ARM

    Quote Originally Posted by aidanjt View Post
    Having apps work on both architectures really isn't a massive amount of work. Where did people get this idea in the first place? :\

    Look at NetBSD, they run on more architectures than you can shake a stick at, and that's developed by a small number of ragtag developers.
    True, BUT, Apple is successful because it's perceived that 'it just works'. If you suddenly have to say - get this version if you're in a Macbook Pro 2012, this version if you're on 2011, this version for an iMac etc etc, that breaks the formula.

    Sure 32bit/64 bit/ARM code is a simple compile, and 32bit/64bit/ARM is easy enough for technically savvy users, but the vast majority of users AREN'T technically savvy and don't care about the relative merits of different architectures. All they care about is 'it just works'.

    This applies equally to Windows, OSX, and to a lesser extent Linux users.

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    Re: News - Apple reportedly planning to switch MacBooks to ARM

    Apple already has 'Universal binaries'. So it's not going to confuse their users much. It might be a problem for Windows users, but I'm sure Microsoft will think of something.. Well, they'll need to if they have any hope of getting anywhere with ARM desktop.
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    Re: News - Apple reportedly planning to switch MacBooks to ARM

    Is it not related to the Graphics issues, namely that Intel were insisting that from the i3/5/7 series only Intel chips can be used for integrated graphics.

    This would explain why the MBP range has been refreshed with the newer i3/5/7 chips using Intel graphics on the 13 (integrated) and AMD on the 15/17 versions which can use non-integrated.

    But the standard MacBook range has not been refreshed for a while and is still running Core2Duo's with NVIDIA graphics as they are all integrated graphics.

    When Intel announced this Apple said that they would consider looking elsewhere for the CPUs for the MacBook range and started talking to AMD.

    I would think Apple could look to AMD to make the ARM chips for them as Apple have never been impressed by the limitations of the Intel integrated graphics chipsets and want to move away from these restrictions imposed by Intel. AMD are prime owning ATi as they could also develop an integrated graphics for it which would be better than the Intel integrated offering.

    It will also move Apple into a stronger position with Intel by having two CPU suppliers and give them more leverage with Intel after Apple was hit with delays to the new MPBs when Intel could not supply enough mobile i3/5/7 chips due to a large order from Acer.
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    Re: News - Apple reportedly planning to switch MacBooks to ARM

    I'd have thought that Apple was more likely to look at Fusion from AMD, ie. their integrated cpu and gpu (dubbed apu). This is more likely to win than a switch to arm in my mind.
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    Re: News - Apple reportedly planning to switch MacBooks to ARM

    Quote Originally Posted by 3dcandy View Post
    I'd have thought that Apple was more likely to look at Fusion from AMD, ie. their integrated cpu and gpu (dubbed apu). This is more likely to win than a switch to arm in my mind.
    True, but Apple now owns Intinsity who developed the ARM Cortex-A8 with Samsung that Apple use in the A4 chip for the iPad.

    So Apple may use them to design the ARM chip, and AMD to provide the graphics and fabrication.
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    Re: News - Apple reportedly planning to switch MacBooks to ARM

    Yeah but if they stuck with AMD's solution it's a drop in replacement in the fact that no recompile of OSX would be necessary. The drivers will be sorted and mature too as newer MBP's now have AMD graphics, and with low TDP's they can surely increase battery life but keep up performance, possibly increasing overall performance but with longer battery life!
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    Re: News - Apple reportedly planning to switch MacBooks to ARM

    Unless someone pulls a vastly improved ARM CPU out of their hat there is nothing planned or existing to rival a Core i3, nevermind i5 or i7.

    ARM chips at the moment are competing at the Fusion C and Atom end of the market. Apple can't switch without making their laptops into toys like the iPad, most of their customer base is designers etc, I really can't see Photoshop running well if they chop the CPU down so far in grunt...

    So barring a miracle secret project being announced this rumour is utter crap, or a range killing suicide mission... one or the other.

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    Re: News - Apple reportedly planning to switch MacBooks to ARM

    This move to me makes alot of sense on one hand, and none on the other. The new Transformer tablet (although buggy as anything) is demonstrating just how practical this situation could now be. A leightweight OS, with an app packed app store could quite easily replace a standard x86 for the majority of us.

    There is one thing that makes me wonder about the desktops and standard Mac Book lines though. Since moving to the X86 hardware, the number of programs ported to MACOS has increased greatly. Even look at Steam, MAC games are popping up all over the place. Its pretty simple to port across. Your not going to see Crysis 3 ported to any Arm chips. Also with Intels new '3D' chip design you have to wonder what on earth is going on here. Still, if cloud computing is the game plan for Apple, this is making alot of sense. Let the cloud do the processing for you whilst your laptop manages 20 hours + between charges with its Arm processor.
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    Re: News - Apple reportedly planning to switch MacBooks to ARM

    Quote Originally Posted by aidanjt View Post
    Apple already has 'Universal binaries'. So it's not going to confuse their users much. It might be a problem for Windows users, but I'm sure Microsoft will think of something.. Well, they'll need to if they have any hope of getting anywhere with ARM desktop.
    Sometimes you know a lot, sometimes you know very little.

    Windows has been using "Universal Binaries" in the form of the Portable Executable since windows 3.1, they are in essence the COFF format packed with dynamic linker info, for each instruction set.

    Most people don't do this however as its confusing to have multiple platform code in the same 'file' people think of them (very incorectly) as a 1to1 mapping. They still have little stubs for MS DOS you know!

    The thing is, as anyone who is a fan boy of acorn enough to have tried to run NetBSD on his old A7000 will testify, everything fecking breaks. And I don't mean the "i'm complining my own linux kernel but don't know what i'm doing" break, I mean really damned confusing network timing errors with postfix issues.

    Cross platform is damned hard. Most libraries aren't really as cross as they claim to be. For anything but the simplest 'Middle Tier' bit of code, I've always found it time consuming, and its not because its me doing it, I try not to get my hands dirty in that sea of excrement. The notion that something written in C++ against a common lib can be switched over by hand is pure bullcrap far too much of the time. Oh sure 30% of the time it works fine, 50% of the time it works fine with a cross compiler esk tool, but it sure as hell does screw up way more than people like to think. And a hell of a lot way more than some of the open sauce nazi lecturers at uni admit.

    Anyway. That rant is about people saying its easy or straightforward, its not it costs a lot of time. But I don't want to suggest its impossible, quite the opposite, you just have to recognise the achievement and investment.

    They can do it, they are shunning Java lately even on the Mac so I'd be surprised if they would be doing that without faith that their own objective crap runtime is verbose an equally slow on everything.

    Its also possible to emulate it for apps which haven't been updated. But I'd imagine that Apple want everything going via an AppStore soon because the revenue is just great, Mr Gellette figured out that you don't want to sell people one razor, you want to sell them horrifically expensive blades. Changing the platform significantly like that would work.

    When you consider what Microsoft are doing with their WoW subsystem for 64/32bit, what they have demo'd already quite reliably on ARM it is possible.

    Then on the hardware its perfect apple, i would end up almost entire SoC. 3rd parties would be buttock fornicated (if you work on Apple your used to that) the consumer would have to buy EVERYTHING from them at once. When something went wrong after 3 years brand new one.....
    throw new ArgumentException (String, String, Exception)

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    Re: News - Apple reportedly planning to switch MacBooks to ARM

    Quote Originally Posted by TheAnimus View Post
    The thing is, as anyone who is a fan boy of acorn enough to have tried to run NetBSD on his old A7000 will testify, everything fecking breaks. And I don't mean the "i'm complining my own linux kernel but don't know what i'm doing" break, I mean really damned confusing network timing errors with postfix issues.
    Surely thats not an Acorn fan, thats a NetBSD sucker, RISC OS is a damned fine OS after all

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