back to article Apple to ditch Intel – report

Apple may dump Intel as its CPU supplier for the Mac, reports Bloomberg. The newswire quotes “people familiar with the company’s research” as saying Apple is “exploring ways” to use its own silicon in future Macs, as it has become frustrated with Intel’s inability to deliver chips that can be built into thin and light devices. …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

This post has been deleted by its author

Silver badge

Watch OS X (or XI?) drop to sub-Linux levels of marketshare as people discover they can no longer run Windows in bootcamp, or if they can, it's in an emulator and running rather slowly compared to a Core i-something.

I don't think Apple is going to drop x86/64. Not unless Microsoft is going full ReTard too.

Maybe an x64-almost-compatible-but-only-in-Apple-gear processor?

10
8
Anonymous Coward

Isn't Windows running on ARM these days too?

I think I heard something about some Windows ARM tablet being sold by some big name company whose name describes everything most women don't want on a penis.

3
11
Silver badge

Yes, Windows RT, the locked-down wall-garden, can't-run-anything-asides-RT-apps version, is running on ARM. Windows, however, is not.

Or did you not spot the "full ReTard" quip?

13
1
IT Angle

@ M Gale

>

I don't think Apple is going to drop x86/64.

<

Why not? It would be revolutionary, beautiful, truly magical and whatever else Mr. Cook can think of.

And it would be bought: because Apple fans don't give a poo about what's inside. It's inside an Apple computer, so it has to be top quality and it will "just work".

It's like asking a Rolls Royce owner what spark plugs he prefers: The answer would, most likely, be something along the lines of "I say, I shall ask my butler to tell the driver to query the mechanic for you. And would you excuse me now, it is time to shoot an antelope."

How accurate is a Rolex? Who gives a fsck. What thread is a Pierre Cardin dress stiched together with? Couldn't care less.

Fashion ware. Veblen goods. Apple. No need to be rational.

27
11
Anonymous Coward

You seriously overestimate Mac users' interest in Windows

I assume that this is a troll, but... seeing as Dassault Systèmes (Solidworks) estimates that only a fraction of one percent of OSX machines have installed Windows (any version), I doubt if Apple is losing any sleep over it. Recent versions of Boot Camp have already dropped support for anything but Windows 7 because of a near total lack of interest.

7
7
Anonymous Coward

There are no 'killer' Windows applications any more

This is 2012, not 1999. While I use both Windows 7 and OSX all day long, I can't think of a single Windows application that would be worth the bother of installing Windows (or even Parallels) on my Mac. Even Office for Mac is cleaner and faster than the equivalent on Windows 7.

11
2
Silver badge

Re: @ M Gale

I feel that you have an outdated and quite biased view of us Rolls Royce owners. I shall enquire of my butler if he encounters many people like you on his weekly shopping expeditions.

17
0
Silver badge

@AC

I think that the most popular use for BootCamp, Parallels, VMWare, etc is probably to play games. They're still routinely released for Windows but not for the Mac. Having a quick glance at the current Amazon charts, if you exclude Windows 8 then the first thing not available for the Mac is "Honestech VHS to DVD 5.0 Deluxe" at number 24 (though, in fairness, I think not all variations of Quicken are available).

That said, per NetApplications Apple had 4% marketshare before it switched to Intel; more than six years later that's moved up to 7.2%. Linux has remained just below 1% across the entire period. There's basically no chance of Linux overtaking the Mac even if Apple were to make any sort of drastically unpopular change — there seems to be a glass ceiling Linux can't break through while the Mac has managed to endure regardless of mismanagement.

0
0

Windows RT is not available as a consumer purchase

So no, not unless Microsoft actively wants to get into the backup OS for mac users market.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Linux never overtaking Mac on desktop?

Depends upon the particular market, I guess. The high end (i.e. CAE tools >$10k) desktop in the electronics engineering world is now dominated by RHEL, with Windows 7 losing ground. This is true of most other computationally intensive engineering fields as well. Mac's share of these markets is, as it has always been, exactly zero. When it comes to the consumer desktop, I suspect that most Linux users (with the exception of a vocal evangelistic minority) don't much care who is king of the hill on the boxes at Currys.

11
1
Joke

@ frank ly - Re: @ M Gale

Your butler goes shopping? That's a job that is usually delegated to the servants by the housekeeper on behalf of the butler.

You cannot possibly be a typical Rolls Royce owner.

. . . antelope gorrrrn . . .

Thumbsup nonetheless!

1
0

I find it highly doubtful myself but there are some intriguing possibilities. Microsoft is in business to sell Windows licenses more than anything else. If they cut a deal with Apple to allow a special version of Windows RT for Boot Camp that allowed desktop apps under x86 emulation, this speed things up considerably by having the OS and APIs be in native code. Sort of like WINE but with an emulator.

Remember the emulator for running x86 Windows apps on the DEC Alpha under NT/2000? It was called FX!32 and had a remarkable feature unlike other emulators: it saved the translated code produced by the emulator. This meant the app's performance increased with use as more and more of it became native and optimized. (Some hints suggest Microsoft used something similar in the emulation of the original Xbox on the Xbox 360, which is why a download is needed when an old Xbox game is run for the first time on a 360.) In this day and age most popular apps could have existing translated code downloaded automatically, greatly speeding up the process.

If Apple and Microsoft collaborated on such a scheme Microsoft would of course retain the rights to use the technology on other ARM platforms, after a period of exclusivity for Apple, offering a path for Windows RT to be leveraged further against Intel the next time Microsoft needs something Intel doesn't want to give them.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: There are no 'killer' Windows applications any more

A single Windows app (not available on Mac) that I have to have Parallels installed for? Hmmm... Publisher. Sad, but true when handling client supplied artwork and they refuse or are too inept to just send a pdf. :-/

0
0

Re: @ M Gale

"No need to be rational?"

M Gale, All through the 90's and 00's it was a few rational Apple customers among millions of personal computer users who persistently purchased machines which "just worked" over balky, clunky, virus laden, Windoze PCs.

(They're not much better these days.) So as you say, "Who cares what's in it?" Who indeed, just as long as it works. That seems pretty rational to me.

2
8
FAIL

Re: There are no 'killer' Windows applications any more

Microsoft Office on Windows remains the killer app. Particularly VBA support and when working with complex documents. Office for Mac just fails to produce documents that look the same on Windows. That is a total deal breaker.

2
3
Anonymous Coward

don't want

Micro and Soft ??

0
0

Re: @ frank ly - @ M Gale

The butler tells the housekeeper to tell the servants to go shopping? No, the vendors come to the tradesmans entrance to drop off their goods. You cannot possibly know a typical Rolls Royce owner...

0
0

Re: There are no 'killer' Windows applications any more

In this age of dynamic binary translation and API wrappers, Mac users were able to play Skyrim the day it was released thanks to Wine-X or Cider "ports". Why bother installing a bloated OS into a VM when you can have your app running seamlessly and at quasi-native speed, directly in the native env ?

The move to Intel chips was a success back in the days mostly because Motorola (and to a lesser extent, IBM) had failed to keep up in processing power. It was painfully obvious then that Macs were lacking in performance and no Photoshop tricks could hide that sinking feeling in the fans' minds. The performance boost that came with the first Macintels certainly helped the architecture transition (universal binaries, Rosetta binary translation) go smoothly from the user viewpoint.

Somehow I doubt it would go as well, moving from Core iXXXX to Ax.

It makes more sense that Apple will fuse its OS X branches, until the very same apps can run on anything they produce using the same mechanism as before (universal binaries). Expect it to go a lot more smoothly than the Win8 transition on the Microsoft side. Then they can consider ditching Intel.

1
0

I'm really trying

...but I'm buggered if I can think of any big name companies called cheese.

The buckets in the corner!!

2
0
Bronze badge
Thumb Up

Re: There are no 'killer' Windows applications any more

Difficulty with MS Publisher files? Zamzar, free .pub to .pdf conversion in yer browser. No connection other than a satisfied freeloader.

0
0
Coat

@stpete - Re: @ M Gale

If you really have to take the joke seriously:

The hitch with Apple is that while "it just works" most of the time, it just works because there isn't anything that you don't need. And the need is defined by Apple: If we don't do it, you don't want it.

Your opinion seems to me like calling a Nr.12 Torx screwdriver a good toolkit. Good screwdriver no doubt, but a little less useful if you need a soldering iron.

If it's commercial, then it will be done for Windows (thinking of, for example, CNC controllers); chances are, if it's cool and interesting, someone might tinker about with it on Linux. On Apple OSs you eat what you're given.

Mahlzeit.

2
0
Coffee/keyboard

@ CmdrX3 - Re: I'm really trying

See icon. That was not nice of you.

0
0
Silver badge
Stop

Re: There are no 'killer' Windows applications any more

Except for, er every last one of the games.

4
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: There are no 'killer' Windows applications any more

@CAPS LOCK : thanking you very kindly sir, I'll have to check that one out :)

0
0
Anonymous Coward

VBA support?

So... you're saying that OSX isn't an acceptable alternative to Windows -- because it doesn't run proprietary Windows code? Sounds like circular reasoning to me. It's also unlikely to be true except within specific business environments -- which probably already mandate Windows for IT management reasons anyway.

I've managed engineering groups, large and small, for 30 years, and I've never encountered a situation where I *had* to support the proprietary hooks in Office. I've been obliged to use Windows in many of those situations, but there was never a good technical reason for doing so. (And if you're using Word to prepare complex documents, you're really using the wrong tool! Professional technical writers and publishers still eschew Word.)

For all the discussion so far, the only reasonable argument for a 'killer application' is for Windows games.

1
0
Silver badge
Happy

Re: Owners of Rollers

Such a person would actually not be on this forum at all, but would have received notification of a little local dissent via the butler, who would then have conveyed his lordships views to the housekeeper, who's secretary would have posted a suitable rejoinder.

0
0
Boffin

Re: There are no 'killer' Windows applications any more

About that total deal breaker:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Office_for_Mac_2011

Seems like it supports VBA on a Mac.

Office for Mac is probably largely built built with a common C++ core as the Windows version. So if MS can't read/write files without breaking stuff between Mac and Windows versions, that would imply to me that you should not rely on any future versions of Office on Windows opening documents without breaking stuff. OfM is probably more compatible than things like Office on WinRT at the moment

0
0
Facepalm

Re: There are no 'killer' Windows applications any more

Oh God. We use Virtual Box extensively here in the Sands of Araby. There's no decent Arabic WP package for the Mac (Word for Mac doesn't support Arabic script properly) so we've no choice but to use Office for Windows on VB.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: There are no 'killer' Windows applications any more

You're clearly using older versions of the software - that was always my experience too, but MS seem to have really got their act together with Office '10 and '11.

After over 12 months moving data between the two environments, I've yet to see anything fail in any way.

Quite impressive if the documentation is as weak as has been mused in the past...

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: @stpete - @ M Gale

"The hitch with Apple is that while "it just works" most of the time, it just works because there isn't anything that you don't need. And the need is defined by Apple: If we don't do it, you don't want it."

On OSX? What utter, utter bollocks. OSX is just as "open" as Windows in that respect. it's a desktop on which you can install applications and applications (non-apple) exist in their thousands.

Charitably, I can only assume you're getting confused with IOS...

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Huh?

Surely they can't be that stupid.

0
2
WTF?

Re: Huh?

Yes they surely can! They do say some stupid things, in the hope that it garners clicks to their website.

Assuming that you are talking about Bloomberg, the source of this 'story'.

6
0
Silver badge
Gimp

Re: Huh?

Yes, the can be that stupid. And it might work. There are enough loyal Fanbois who will continue to pay more than twice the price for a "quality" product.

Never underestimate how much of Apples sales is about image and not functionality.

8
3
Thumb Down

I'll believe it when I see it. Sounds like another silly rumor.

2
1
Silver badge

I guess it's always possible that when those "people familiar with the company's research" say that Apple is "exploring ways" to use its own silicon in future Macs what's actually being proposed is the consolidation of every non-CPU function into a single chip, keeping the Intel processor and moving to a [pretty much] two-chip design? They're already doing soldered RAM and SSD, the iPad designs are triple-sandwiched CPU+GPU+RAM chips and peering at the current Macbook Pro motherboard on Google images appears to show tens of chips across the board.

They're already using the on-board GPUs but I guess that building RAM+SSD into a single unit would be a good saving? It doesn't feel like something that's likely to come onto the market from anyone else.

2
0
Anonymous Coward

research

We can be sure ARMv7 and possibly prototype ARMv8 versions of OSX are happily running in Cupertino. I'd be surprised if much translated to product on notebook/AIO before 64-bit is viable so most likely 2-3 years out before a possible transition from x86. Other research projects using hybrid x86/ARM (e.g. GPU and iOS focussed) seem a bit more likely to be productized meanwhile although given that high-margin iPhone sales account for majority of Apple revenue and underwrites high stock valuations, seems unlikely this is a high priority for Cook and co. in short term, although worth doing even if only to pressure Intel on price and function.

Over a 5 year perspective, odds IMO must be better than evens Apple goes x86-free if things go well on proprietory silicon route but there are lots of if and buts. Intel could stumble on 14nm or 10nm node, Apple could decide to build their own FABs, impossible to predict.

Research. One thing for sure, you have to think well beyond the products you can buy in the shops today and the predictable incremental improvements underway for next year to grasp what drives this kind of change Escape being trapped in the now like journalists and most of the blogosphere. These are strategic decisions which take years to unfold, just like the Google trajectory with Android and Microsoft with Windows 8 and beyond.

8
0

Re: research

This comment is far too sensible for this thread.

Other topic: power use. I bet Apple would love to get even closer to making the computer disappear than they have so far.

3
0
Silver badge

Re: research

That was the feeling I was getting from the article: that a move away from Intel would be something Apple would do like five years down the road IF conditions were favorable. This sounds more like back-burner stuff: stuff to consider down the road, not stuff that's on a priority track. Jumping to PowerPC and then to Intel in the past made sense since both processor lines were stalling in the face of continuing x86/x64 development. Now processor development IN GENERAL is starting to stall because of physical limitations (processors can only be so small and go so fast), and R&D is now turning towards finding other ways to improve performance. ARM has shown tremendous progress in the portable market, but as the article notes it's had trouble penetrating the performance market because arm's energy-efficiency focus makes it less suited for high-performance applications.

2
0
Facepalm

Re: research

Is there anyone with half a brain who doesn't think the in Apple's R&D labs there's a Macbook Air with magnetic keyboard, touch screen, an ARM processor running OS X when the keyboard's attached and iOS when it isn't? Or maybe it's an iPad with attacheable keyboard?

Anyway, they've almost certainly ported OS X to ARM to see how it runs and then dropped an ARM CPU into a Mac of some sort.

1
0

This post has been deleted by its author

Facepalm

Re: research

Of course they've ported OS X to ARM. It's on 80 million phones. It's called iOS.

0
0

Re: research

I can imagine them integrating ARM into the current Intel motherboards to allow a splashtop style iOS for Mac laptops, trading performance for massivly extended battery runtimes.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: research

Please leave El Reg right now, sensible factual threads have no place here.

0
2
Silver badge
Windows

Re:"Of course they've ported OS X to ARM. It's on 80 million phones. It's called iOS."

I am neither a Mac or a iPhone user but even I know that that is about as accurate as saying the WinPhone 8 is simply Windows 8 ported to mobile phone space.

1
0

This post has been deleted by its author

Alien

Apple have rather successfully negotiated two architecture changes in the Mac's lifetime.

In the last one (the move to intel) many people didn't even realise they were running PPC code on intel until Rosetta was no longer installed by default.

Similarly before that many users ran 68K code quite happily for years on PPC.

I really don't think that it is the least bit surprising nor do Apple users have anything to worry about should this eventuate.

Windows user's have not a lot to worry about.

No one (as yet) has said anything about changing instruction sets - just hardware manufacturers.

5
1
Unhappy

You'd hope...

I actually don't think apple would do such a thing again, mainly because in my experience with OS X, apple is caring less and less about its long term users. I bought a 2008 top of the line iMac and it's virtually useless now. Leopard and Snow Leopard ran beautifully (and still do when I experimented reinstalling them). Lion ruined Logic Studio 8 for me (which was a real kick in the teeth, a $500 kick in the teeth), and slowed the computer to a complete halt. I'm not even bothering with Mountain Lion, but to me, that says I get 4 years of support before I have to upgrade.

So if apple do, in their infinite wisdom, decide to move to a new manufacturer, or even a new instruction set, count me out.

2
1
Anonymous Coward

Are they going to roll their own x86 though? it would be quite expensive.

Anyway, one thing is for sure it is a lot easier to run CISC code on a RISC type design than the other way around. You can assemble RISC instructions into equivalent CISC instructions. But of course, byte ordering is also important. If your emulator spends half of its time flipping byte orders around then it won't run too fast.

The PPC chip had some sort of switchable byte order to get around the above problem.

0
0

Different corcumstances

In both previous architecture shifts the new CPU family was a major boost over what the previous machines had. For instance, at the time the PowerPC 601 was first shipped (although it was not intended to be a production CPU and had been built as a proof of concept) it was the fastest microprocessor BYTE magazine had ever tested. A major jump for that era.

The PowerPC models Apple used also had the advantage of a dedicated bit of transistor real estate to do some of the conversions that would otherwise have added a LOT of overhead to emulating the Moto 68K family.

When it was decided to go to Intel the problem was that Apple alone wasn't a big enough customer for IBM to commit the resources in producing competitive desktop CPUs at a pace to match Intel. The profit margins were tiny compared to IBM mainframes but the level of capital required was greater. Apple had no interest in encouraging an open market for non-Apple PowerPC desktops, so something had to change. By the time the first Intel Macs shipped the last round of CPUs IBM produced for Apple were getting a bit dated by the standards of the PC industry. Once again, the new architecture had plenty of spare horsepower to handle the emulation problem.

Unless ARM's upcoming 64-bit product line offers unprecedented level of performance gain, at least an order of magnitude over current ARM designs, there is just no way to have a third relatively easy transition. Something has to give. Either Apple dumps its professional users and allows their desktops to age into uselessness, or they once again offer some hardware means to ease the transition.

I'd expect the former to occur as those users have become a very small portion of Apple's revenue picture. The cachet of holding that market is no longer as useful as it once was now that they've become so strong in the consumer end.

Another possibility is that Apple continues on x86 but dumps Intel. AMD is currently circling the drain but has some very valuable IP. Apple could buy the lot using the change under the cushions of the couch in Tim Cook's office. One question would be whether to retain the ATI portion of the company or spin it off into an independent company again.

0
0

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.

Forums