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alcimedes
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2018-04-02, 15:23

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/artic...hips-from-2020

Sometimes, a move seems like a great boon to both companies. I recall the G3/G4 days. Not sure I'm excited to head back there, but maybe in light of Spectre etc. they want something they have more control over?

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Frank777
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2018-04-02, 15:38

I think it could be really exciting.

In the PowerPC days, Apple was reliant on IBM. Previous to that they were dependent on Motorola. Now they are dependent on Intel.

This will be the first time Apple can design its processors all by themselves, and they do seem up to the task.
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Frank777
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2018-04-02, 15:49

One more thought: WWDC 2018 just became the most important tech event of this year.
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alcimedes
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2018-04-02, 17:12

I presume they're going to move their entire line over to ARM processors then, they do have ARM laptops that run Windows still, so the idea is a bit more viable than I might have assumed otherwise. Still though, that's a massive change to roll out, and rolling out of bed with Intel probably has more repercussions in other areas of tech than rolling into bed with Intel.

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Caveat Emptor - Latin for tough titty
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Dave
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2018-04-02, 19:24

Still not sure I like this idea, and I’m very still not sure I wouldn’t have rather seen them go with something more innovative than ARM (I’m an unashamed fan of Mill Computing). That said, you don’t change CPU archs on a whim, nor do you do it without some degree of confidence that Intel won’t stomp you next refresh. If other CPUs aren’t ready and it’s time for them to switch, ARM it is.

When I was a kid, people who did wrong were punished, restricted, and forbidden. Now, when someone does wrong, all of the rest of us are punished, restricted, and forbidden... and the one who did the wrong is counselled and "understood" and fed ice cream.
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Ryan
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2018-04-02, 20:16

At least Apple rumors might get interesting again.
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Maciej
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2018-04-02, 20:59

I feel they wouldn’t switch all at once. Start at one end of the line, probably low, and work it across. No?
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chucker
 
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2018-04-02, 20:59

Quote:
Originally Posted by alcimedes View Post
I presume they're going to move their entire line over to ARM processors then, they do have ARM laptops that run Windows still, so the idea is a bit more viable than I might have assumed otherwise.
Those are Qualcomm, though, and ARM isn’t standardized/compatible in the same way x86 is. Either Microsoft would explicitly adapt Windows to run on Apple Ax, or Apple would license some tech from Qualcomm to make Ax virtualize a Qualcomm CPU.
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Dave
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2018-04-02, 21:20

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maciej View Post
I feel they wouldn’t switch all at once. Start at one end of the line, probably low, and work it across. No?
That’s what they did during the switch to x86, but IIRC that was motivated mostly by the lack of competitive laptop CPUs. Since it’s not any particular segment that’s hurting here, I don’t know if we should rely on them to repeat their past behavior.

When I was a kid, people who did wrong were punished, restricted, and forbidden. Now, when someone does wrong, all of the rest of us are punished, restricted, and forbidden... and the one who did the wrong is counselled and "understood" and fed ice cream.
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Frank777
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2018-04-02, 21:22

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maciej View Post
I feel they wouldn’t switch all at once. Start at one end of the line, probably low, and work it across. No?
The rumours about switching have been going for years now. If there's now a definitive decision to move, it's because they are highly confident that the high-end chip prototypes they've been working on will scale nicely in comparison to Intel. Apple keeps the Mac alive to sell millions of high-end iMacs and MacBook Pros. Protecting those high-margin sales would be their first priority.

As a matter of fact, who's to say the high-end version of the A12 isn't ready to go this fall and will be first?

We are expecting a new Mac Pro at WWDC this year, aren't we? Is it more like Apple to introduce a new signature machine with an eye to the future and some speed compromises, or one with a dead-end architecture and two-year shelf life?

It can't be coincidence that this news has broken free of the mothership just as Thunderbolt has gone royalty-free, and with just 60+ days until WWDC seminars.
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Dave
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2018-04-02, 21:23

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post
One more thought: WWDC 2018 just became the most important tech event of this year.
Yeah, I suspect it’ll be an interesting keynote this year.

Assuming that this is a done deal, I’m not sure if I want the new Mac Pro to be the last pro x86 desktop or the first ARM one.

Edit: 2020, never mind, I hope it’s not even the last x86 model.

When I was a kid, people who did wrong were punished, restricted, and forbidden. Now, when someone does wrong, all of the rest of us are punished, restricted, and forbidden... and the one who did the wrong is counselled and "understood" and fed ice cream.

Last edited by Dave : 2018-04-02 at 23:03.
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Frank777
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2018-04-02, 23:50

Yet another thought: This could be the greatest thing ever to happen to Mac Mini lovers.

The A11 is already way faster than the i5 in the current Mini, and the A12 should blow it away.

And the A11 costs Apple $66.50, which is likely much less than what Apple's paying for that i5.
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Dave
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2018-04-03, 15:47

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post
Yet another thought: This could be the greatest thing ever to happen to Mac Mini lovers.

The A11 is already way faster than the i5 in the current Mini, and the A12 should blow it away.

And the A11 costs Apple $66.50, which is likely much less than what Apple's paying for that i5.
To fair, the Mac mini uses laptop parts, doesn’t it?

I really hope this doesn’t end up being because Apple decided “nobody needs a CPU that draws more than 15W” or something. (To be clear, AFAIK, nobody’s suggested that’s the case.)

When I was a kid, people who did wrong were punished, restricted, and forbidden. Now, when someone does wrong, all of the rest of us are punished, restricted, and forbidden... and the one who did the wrong is counselled and "understood" and fed ice cream.
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chucker
 
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2018-04-03, 15:48

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post
And the A11 costs Apple $66.50, which is likely much less than what Apple's paying for that i5.
Those component cost estimates are never worth much.
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Frank777
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2018-04-03, 22:16

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker View Post
Those component cost estimates are never worth much.
True, but the case that the A11/12 chip is going to be much cheaper for Apple than the Intel i5 is pretty solid.

And the possibilities of using an iPad chip in a Mac Mini is going to light some Apple engineer's brain cells on fire, and we might actually get a solid competitor to the Intel NUC/HP Slice. If, for example, at WWDC Apple announced a new iMac with an Ax brain at the midrange, and a new Ax-based Mac Mini/MacBook Air combo at the low end, people will riot in the San Jose streets.

The reason I think this Ax rumour is really plausible is the timing. The A12 will definitely take Apple into desktop-class territory, and that's without even knowing what sneaky modifications they've been hiding in their labs. If Apple had just wanted to test the low-end, they could have made an edu-only laptop model (running iOS) to fight Chromebooks. They've clearly been waiting until the Ax chips had the sufficient power to power most, if not all of the Mac line. That's my thinking anyway.
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kscherer
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2018-04-04, 14:51

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post
That's my thinking anyway.
I agree, mostly. While Apple clearly wants to keep all their systems in the same "compatibility" atmosphere, I think they are likely to either: A) Start at the very low end and hope strong adoption will carry the cost of R&D; or B) They will start at the high end to showcase some whiz-bang tech and hope the high cost of adoption amongst a small group will carry the cost of R&D.

I think it will be the former, rather than the latter. It will start with the Mac Mini and the MacBook. And I'm still convinced it will happen sooner than 2020.

Since November 2016, I have tried to live my life without politics or football, and it has been the most peaceful time of my life.
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Dave
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2018-04-04, 19:13

Quote:
Originally Posted by kscherer View Post
I agree, mostly. While Apple clearly wants to keep all their systems in the same "compatibility" atmosphere, I think they are likely to either: A) Start at the very low end and hope strong adoption will carry the cost of R&D; or B) They will start at the high end to showcase some whiz-bang tech and hope the high cost of adoption amongst a small group will carry the cost of R&D.

I think it will be the former, rather than the latter. It will start with the Mac Mini and the MacBook. And I'm still convinced it will happen sooner than 2020.
The (well, “a”) problem with starting on the low end is that it makes the x86 emulation that much more painful. Unless Apple can really do that much better than Intel, anyway. But if so, why limit it to the low end, since native code would absolutely stomp the “high-end” x86 models?

When I was a kid, people who did wrong were punished, restricted, and forbidden. Now, when someone does wrong, all of the rest of us are punished, restricted, and forbidden... and the one who did the wrong is counselled and "understood" and fed ice cream.
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Brave Ulysses
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2018-04-04, 20:23

Not sure this is a good idea this time around.
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Eugene
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2018-04-08, 23:18

We all knew it was coming. Hell I thought the MacBook would go A-Series this year. 2020 is quite a bit later than I expected.

Also I highly doubt the first processors will be high-end. It makes too much design sense to start with mobile and it’s lower display resolutions considering how weak the current tile-based GPUs are. Also exact prices notwithstanding, this is definitely a cost-cutting move...cheaper products first...

Last edited by Eugene : 2018-04-09 at 01:43.
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turtle
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2018-04-09, 21:25

It would be interesting to see the switch happen this time. Sure they can make it happen, just means I'll have to buy a new version of VMware for the new chipset. That won't happen right away either.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
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chucker
 
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2018-04-10, 00:29

Quote:
Originally Posted by turtle View Post
a new version of VMware for the new chipset
Don't hold your breath.

Regarding running x86 stuff: VMware has always virtualized, not emulated, and while Microsoft has some tech to do 32-bit x86-on-ARM emulation, jury's out on how fast that is, whether VMware is interested, and whether Microsoft will license to them.

Running Windows on ARM on a Mac: Apple's ARM and Qualcomm's ARM aren't like Intel's x86 and AMD's x86; there is an ARM spec that they both target, but beyond that, actual ARM implementations are kind of all over the place. Standard x86 stuff like having a PCI bus is sort of defined willy-nilly by vendors in the ARM world. So Qualcomm's details will differ significantly, and again, it's unclear if Apple cares enough, and if Qualcomm wants to license.

But suppose they do, or Apple comes up with a compatibility layer with or without Qualcomm's help. Now you have, at best, a Boot Camp scenario where you can dual-boot into Windows on ARM, which is already a pretty mediocre value proposition (it's barely good enough for business apps, but forget about, say, games). For virtualization, you still need either for Apple to step up their plate (there's some evidence they might, given that they shipped their own Hypervisor in macOS and then never used it themselves), or for a third party like VMware or Parallels to step in. Which would take years to develop.

All that for scenarios that mean much for Apple's bottom line and are of limited value even for Apple's developers. They mostly matter to the sizeable subculture of either PC gamers with a Mac, or Windows developers with a Mac (that's yours truly), and while Apple surely doesn't mind their hardware sales, they don't make much of a dent in the grand scheme of things, nor do they push Apple's own platforms forward.

The very optimistic scenario there: Apple has already been working in secret with Qualcomm, VMware, Parallels, or several of those, and are further along on those matters and care more about them than I would expect. In that scenario, 2020 seems like a realistic target for a new ARM Boot Camp and an ARM VMware Fusion or Parallels Desktop or whathaveyou to launch, or to be close to launch (even Boot Camp took a few months to come out). But even in that scenario, Windows will mostly be useful for, like, your old terrible Quicken version.
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turtle
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2018-04-12, 14:08

Yeah, I get all of that and you put it down on the screen so well. I'm not going to hold my breath. I just have to use Windows for my job because they don't like me using a Mac to go in and out of Windows Servers for some reason.

In the end, I'd have a PC sitting in my house somewhere that I remote into that then remotes into the servers I'm working on/with. Not to far form where I am now, sitting with an MBP running a VM that jumps into servers remotely.

Louis L'Amour, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
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alcimedes
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2018-04-18, 11:51

I worry that if Apple did switch CPU's, they'd need to include a VERY simple and clean compiling tool for the new chipsets. Apple might lose a ton of developers otherwise.

Google is your frenemy.
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turtle
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2018-04-18, 18:51

I can't imagine them not using Swift and Xcode. I mean, they could switch it up, but I wouldn't expect it.
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Dave
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2018-04-19, 22:00

Quote:
Originally Posted by turtle View Post
I can't imagine them not using Swift and Xcode. I mean, they could switch it up, but I wouldn't expect it.
It's not so much a question of languages and IDEs as it is just getting the compiler right. I'd be more worried about how well they support running existing x86 code.

When I was a kid, people who did wrong were punished, restricted, and forbidden. Now, when someone does wrong, all of the rest of us are punished, restricted, and forbidden... and the one who did the wrong is counselled and "understood" and fed ice cream.
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turtle
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2018-04-20, 14:18

If the migration from Power to x86 is an indication I would say it won't be painless, but at a minimum functional.
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