back to article Intel outside: Apple 'prepping' non-Chipzilla Macs by 2020 (stop us if you're having deja vu)

Apple is once again reportedly working on switching out Intel processors for its own homegrown, presumably 64-bit Arm-compatible, CPUs in Macs. The changeover could happen as early as 2020, according to Bloomberg today. iPhones, iPads and other iThings use Arm and Apple-designed chipsets to run software, while the desktop kit …

  1. HmmmYes Silver badge

    Xeons are nothing more than a v big. Cache and tiny cores.

    Given good compilers and strict coding practices - and stricter test harnesses, producing complex, cpu portable code is a piece of piss.

    Just be careful on unintended word alignment and threading issues.

    Intels not having a good 2018, are they.

    1. Philippe

      A bit early, isn’t it?

      Apple doesn’t like announcing things which aren’t ready or close to ready. Having things leaking 2 years early is either an attempt to manipulate the stock price and there is no substance behind the rumour or an unfortunate incident which could have serious financial consequences?

      1. Captain TickTock

        Re: A bit early, isn’t it?

        Or pressure to get part prices down?

    2. Nate Amsden Silver badge

      I'd think that Xeons are a tiny fraction of the Intel CPUs Apple ships as they are probably only in the Mac Pro.

      And you say by simply making everything a lot more complicated producing cross platform code is really easy. In the world of less complex tools in linux I have noticed over the years how many issues there have been making/maintaining portable code across CPUs even on the same OS.

      Certainly helps to have a transition layer like Android did with java-like experience, and Apple did when they moved to x86 from PPC.

      Will be interesting to see if at some point they start shipping their ARM chips in their laptops(I think they already do for the touch bar stuff), and be able to run ARM and x86 stuff side by side at native hardware speeds in some way.

      1. Mark 65 Silver badge

        This could be anything from an attempt to create a lower end laptop a la Chromebook with better performance/energy characteristics than they could achieve using Intel chips to a way of end-to-end controlling the entire ecosystem with a handy side effect of removing Hackintosh boxes from it (although I believe they tolerate and don't care about that side ecosystem due to the potential for up-sell).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Apple don't care about Hackintoshes?

          They care enough to make sure it's near impossible to run iMessages on one.

          1. GIRZiM

            Re: Apple don't care about Hackintoshes?

            >They care enough to make sure it's near impossible to run iMessages on one.

            That'll be to protect the integrity of the service from the kind of system built by the kind of person likely to know enough to get into it via some nefarious exploit or, conversely, ignorant and foolish enough to have followed a guide and got themselves infected along the way. The service and brand are far more significant/profitable than the Mac hardware - they make their money from the iPhone and really I'm almost (but not quite) surprised they're still even in the 'computer' business any more.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Bye bye Bugzilla, enjoy the Meltdown

      That's great news, macOS running on Apple CPUs, Linux & Android & Magenta running ARM and Ryzen. Down goes the WIntel cartel.

    4. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      "Intels not having a good 2018, are they."

      Not while they've still got their BFF in Redmond to ensure their OS will slow down their next generation of hardware.

      Until that little co-dependent facilitating partnership is broken up they will be BAU until the chips get down to 1 atom thick insulators on the gates.

  2. ThomH Silver badge

    Intel's would still be the longest-surviving Mac instruction set

    The Mac was 68000-based for a decade from 1984 until 1994, then PowerPC-powered for the 12 years from 1994 until 2006, so by 2020 will have had Intel inside for 14 years.

    Now that we all sit atop compilers and execution units are so far divorced from instruction sets, it feels difficult to get very emotional about it. If it were to happen, it'd be more interesting to find out what Apple would use the opportunity to eject from the legacy software stack. I think there's too much of the Objective-C runtime underlying Swift's optional dynamic dispatch, and it still has a substantial role in bridging to C++ but I'm sure other candidates would present themselves.

    1. Jason Hindle

      Re: Intel's would still be the longest-surviving Mac instruction set

      Indeed. When Apple moved from PowerPC, there was a sense of “How the hell will they pull that of”. Now it will be a case of “So what”.

      1. WallMeerkat Bronze badge

        Re: Intel's would still be the longest-surviving Mac instruction set

        OSX had always had a secret shadowy x86 build - NextStep based OSX prototype Rhapsody could run on x86, they kept this going until 2005.

        This obviously helped with the transition.

        So, it would be interesting to know if they already have OSX compiled for ARM - given the IOS branch it wouldn't be a huge surprise.

        1. BebopWeBop Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Intel's would still be the longest-surviving Mac instruction set

          Quite. I had a PC (x86) running NextStep for a few yeasr (the sponsors would not fund a machine - although they were happy to pay for a verty decent Intel based machine with additional software. I have a suspicion, it was a long time ago, that I didn't list the software. Ran perfectlly well.

    2. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Intel's would still be the longest-surviving Mac instruction set

      The end game, perhaps another 5 or 10 years from now, is to move the entire computer into virtualization. Then Apple could build the Mac using any old hardware; wouldn't really matter. Just port the legacy hardware emulator and load the Mac.

      1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

        Re: Intel's would still be the longest-surviving Mac instruction set

        "Then Apple could build the Mac using any old hardware; wouldn't really matter."

        Difference engine?

      2. GIRZiM

        Re: Intel's would still be the longest-surviving Mac instruction set

        >Just port the legacy hardware emulator and load the Mac.

        Why would anyone bother?

        Machine with kernel+container of binaries = cloud service.

        No-one's gonna have apps in future - you'll have a link to service hosted somewhere 'convenient' that isn't on your machine so you can be charged per use.

        Look at Android with its 'instant' apps - that's the future, not VMs or emulators.

      3. DanPittPaloAlto

        Re: Intel's would still be the longest-surviving Mac instruction set

        Or, as some comic wrote in IEEE Spectrum back in the late 1970s, a "computer [that] would recursively interpret itself and need no hardware".

    3. CPU

      Re: Intel's would still be the longest-surviving Mac instruction set

      I'm sure some young Apple Exec thought this would be a bold new idea- make our own CPUs! Then in 20 years time some other Exec will suggest they outsource to Intel- the circle of life continues and compiler compiles more buggy code.

  3. Pier Reviewer

    Spelling

    “There is apparently a project within Apple, codenamed Kalamata”

    It’s spelt “calamity”.

    1. Captain TickTock
      Coat

      Re: Spelling

      "...codenamed Kalamata”

      Olive some of that

      1. Bill Gray
        Coat

        Re: Spelling

        That pun was the pits.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Spelling

          An a-salt on the senses.

          1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

            Re: Spelling

            It took some stones to post those puns.

            1. onefang Silver badge

              Re: Spelling

              I read it as calamari, which I originally typed as calimari, which lead to typing that into start page to check the spelling, which lead to https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=calimari

              Sometimes it's hard keeping your mind out of the gutter.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Spelling

                "Sometimes it's hard keeping your mind out of the gutter."

                So long as it's only your mind that's been in the gutter when tickling your SO's calimari, it's all good.

              2. Captain TickTock
                Alien

                Re: Spelling

                Calimari - "It's a trap!"

              3. DanPittPaloAlto

                Re: Spelling

                I believe you mean "led to", not "lead to" in the past tense. Unless you're talking about the pipes used to irrigate the olive trees.

  4. Jason Hindle

    Makes a lot of sense

    I’ll put money on Apple making this a success before Microsoft (who are supporting the launch of ARM based Windows 10 laptops, this year) and friends.

    1. Graham Triggs

      Re: Makes a lot of sense

      Microsoft's approach has every chance of success.

      The main difference will be in the driving forces.

      With Apple, the transition to Intel was complete because they forced it to be. And that's OK, because you are going from a rare desktop class chip to a common desktop class chip, which as well as being capable to run native software, gave you extra capabilities in running dual boot, etc.

      The question with ARM chips is how many consumers want it. If enough users flock to Windows ARM, it will thrive. But then they will also keep the Intel side going as long as there is demand too.

      Will Apple try to force everyone over to ARM? It's possible, and they'll certainly take some of their users with them. But they might just lose some.

      1. tom dial Silver badge

        Re: Makes a lot of sense

        I am a consumer. I do not write assembler code any more. I think it is extremely likely that only OS implementers do that, and then only for certain critical pieces of code where detailed profiling has shown it will significantly benefit performance. Please tell me why I should care whether my C or other compiler level language is executed by an ARM, Intel, Motorola, MIPS, IBM, or other processor.

        1. Mark 65 Silver badge

          Re: Makes a lot of sense

          Please tell me why I should care whether my C or other compiler level language is executed by an ARM, Intel, Motorola, MIPS, IBM, or other processor.

          The endless merry-go-round of version upgrade fees on all your major applications, sometimes because a lot of work was involved and other times just because they can?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          " why I should care whether my C or other compiler level language"

          In many ways, it was simpler when CPU instruction sets were far smaller. Today you have a lot of extensions for multimedia, encryption, etc - and they may be less compatible than simple move or jump instructions. Low level details like CPU-specific optimizations, threading, cache access coherency, etc. are also not irrelevant for high-performance and heavy-load applications. Some of these can be shielded by good libraries and frameworks, but not always.

          For example, Adobe had to work with Intel to speed up Lightroom performance (not everything runs on a GPU, even today). As long as both Apple and Windows run on Intel, the work is useful on both versions of the product. If they had to optimize the code for very different architectures, it becomes pretty more difficult.

          Of course, it depends on what applications you write. Simple, single threaded, CRUD applications will no issues.

        3. tiggity Silver badge

          Re: Makes a lot of sense

          @ tom dial

          A few things matter for your C code.

          e.g. size of common objects such as an int

          e.g. endianness - if you have some bitshift operations (quite common in C) then unexpected results on opposite endian architecture

          .. there are plenty more

          caveat - depends how clever your compiler / build routines are when you specify the target OS, such things as mentioned above may be handled OK ... or they may not

          1. ThomH Silver badge

            Re: Makes a lot of sense @tiggity

            Bit shift is endian-independent as its defined on the full logical word, not its in-memory representation; mistakes tend to manifest when talking about serialisation or any attempt at sub-word access. Also sometimes in latent misuses of or deliberate endian-assumptions within a union.

        4. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

          Re: Makes a lot of sense

          "Please tell me why I should care whether my C or other compiler level language is executed by an ARM, Intel, Motorola, MIPS, IBM, or other processor."

          Well, for one thing, I believe the A-53 architecture doesn't have speculative execution and is Spectre and Meltdown immune. In future as other vulnerabilities are discovered, choice of processor may have quite a big impact on security.

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Makes a lot of sense

          I think the issue is really about such things as memory management, security levels and context switching in the Deep States of the OS.

          CPUS are not just fast z80s with lots of RAM.

          A LOT of code under the hood goes into making them LOOK like that. But they are multi cored cached to the hilt security level conscious fickle brutes.

          I know enough to know that I dont know nearly enough to say more than that.

      2. georgezilla

        Re: Makes a lot of sense

        " ... Microsoft's approach has every chance of success. ... "

        Um ......

        Can you say Microsoft Surface RT?

        That went over well didn't it.

        It means porting EVERY software app over to run on ARM. Not that it can't be done. It can be. But just how happy will a software company like Adobe (just to name one ) be with doing it?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Makes a lot of sense

          "It means porting EVERY software app over to run on ARM"

          Go back and read every bloody article on this subject for the last 6 months; then comment.

          1. Hans 1 Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: Makes a lot of sense

            @Lost all faith

            Thing is, they claim their emulation layer performs well ... I doubt it, seriously, and given the hardware you need on Intel/AMD kit to get a somewhat well performing OS, well, I doubt the emulation layer will cut it ... and op explicitly mentioned Adobe, like, Photoshop emulated on Arm ? Are you nuts ?

            Full blown Windows is a resource hog on Intel, who in their right mind thinks one can squeeze that on ARM ? And I'm not even talking EMULATION, here, yet ...

            So, we have read the articles, we all think it is just hot air, not gonna perform anywhere near what they claim, success will not happen ... just like RT.

            Ohhh, and, the emulation emulates a 32-Bit CPU, which means 3Gb* RAM max per app, if they get it right.

            How many more times will I have to write this out ?

            * 3Gb max means 1.5Gb max for the unlucky windows luser.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              "Ohhh, and, the emulation emulates a 32-Bit CPU"

              If so, you can't run applications like Photoshop or Lightroom which are available in 64-bit only for a while. And the latest release of Lightroom suggests at least 12GB of RAM to exploit the latest optimizations....

            2. Mike Moyle Silver badge

              Re: Makes a lot of sense

              "Photoshop emulated on Arm ? Are you nuts ?"

              Well, that just opens the door wider for Serif Software's Affinity Photo program, which has Photoshop-level capabilities and currently runs on iOS, MacOS, and Windows. (...and SELLS for $50 -- no subscription needed!) (Serif ALSO makes an Illustrator competitor -- Affinity Designer -- and is working on a page layout program to compete with InDesign. I'm hoping to get my employer off the Adobe Cloud crazy train as soon as I possibly can!)

              Trust me: If it means losing their market, Adobe will adapt.

      3. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: Makes a lot of sense

        Microsoft's approach has every chance of success.

        The main difference will be in the driving forces.

        All the fun, diversity and huge selection of s/w of UMP then?

    2. d3vy Silver badge

      Re: Makes a lot of sense

      "I’ll put money on Apple making this a success before Microsoft (who are supporting the launch of ARM based Windows 10 laptops, this year) and friends."

      Probably, because apple tend to go for an all or nothing approach. In 2007 if you wanted a mac you were buying an intel mac. When MS release Windows for ARM you will still be able to go out an buy an x86/64 machine and run windows on it..

      We seem to forget that Apple are at their core (no pun intended) a hardware company which writes software and MS are at their core a software company who make some hardware.

      We cant really compare Microsoft and Apples efforts in this area Apple have an opportunity to force new sales down a specific route, with MS (or indeed linux) you will have the choice to run it on whatever hardware you like - I really dont think that the demand is there for ARM Windows (Not without some decent emulation to keep x86 apps running)

      Maybe if MS decided to stop selling windows to third parties so that if you wanted a windows machine you would have to buy one of their surface range then we could start comparing. Until then comparisons between MS developing windows for ARM and Apple building new ARM based machines are almost literally comparing apples to oranges.

  5. John Savard Silver badge

    Why?

    I get emotional, because the ordinary Mac user is likely to have to buy new copies of some software at great expense.

    More importantly, though, since you can't buy the Apple processors used in iPhones and iPads to put in your own products, these new processors, if Apple can have them made, won't further the ARM ecosystem that much.

    And since their volumes are limited by the Mac market, it will be hard to justify development costs.

    If they thought it was hard getting a choice of PowerPC chips to work well in laptops... this could be the prelude to the demise of Apple. Or at least of the Macintosh.

    1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: Why?

      > the ordinary Mac user is likely to have to buy new copies of some software

      Existing machines won't stop working, nor will their CPUs change the instruction sets they use.

      1. Zot

        Re: Why?

        “Existing machines won't stop working, nor will their CPUs change the instruction sets they use.“

        Haha, not much experience with OSX then? And I’m not just talking about 32 bit.

        1. Mark 65 Silver badge

          Re: Why?

          Existing machines won't stop working, nor will their CPUs change the instruction sets they use.

          +1 for subscription software? Just kidding, you've more than paid for the update.

      2. JakeMS Silver badge

        Re: Why?

        Existing machines won't stop working, nor will their CPUs change the instruction sets they use.

        It would be interesting to see them try though.

        How awesome would a CPU with multiple instruction set capabilities be? A toggle feature between x86, ARM and PPC would be interesting. Monday, you have PPC, Tuesday you've got ARM then by Wednesday you're running x86 :-D.

        Granted this is almost impossible, but interesting non-the-less and would be amusing if OS's could switch it. It would make patch Tuesdays interesting.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Why?

          A laptop with multiple architectures is fairly trivial - Apple already make one. Their chip that runs the touchbar is ARM.

          No reason the primary CPU can't be ARM, and have an application that requires x86 or 64 run on a discrete x86 chip. To do it crudely would just require treating the x86 as a separate machine and using MacOS's equivilent of XWindows.

          The idea of silicon sitting doing nothing is common - its central to the Big.Little design of many ARM-based chips

          1. Jaybus

            Re: Why?

            "No reason the primary CPU can't be ARM, and have an application that requires x86 or 64 run on a discrete x86 chip."

            You mean other than increasing the cost of an already overpriced laptop?

        2. itzman

          Re: Why?

          How awesome would a CPU with multiple instruction set capabilities be? A toggle feature between x86, ARM and PPC would be interesting. Monday, you have PPC, Tuesday you've got ARM then by Wednesday you're running x86 :-D.

          Since almost all CISCS run microcode, its probably quite easy.

    2. Mike Moyle Silver badge

      Re: Why?

      "...this could be the prelude to the demise of Apple. Or at least of the Macintosh."

      If it is -- and I'm not convinced that it is, mind -- it won't be because of low outside development or niche marketry or code incompatibility or any of the other "This will be the end of Apple, just like I've been predicting for the last 20 years!" reasons that most people give. It will be because this time they don't have a Steve Jobs-level obsessive beating Apple's engineers brutally about the head and shoulders demanding that they Get It Right. Love him or hate him, he had a vision of what he wanted and was -- well, "ruthless" is such a HARSH word, isn't it...? -- let's say "determined" in getting it from his designers and engineers.

    3. Jason Hindle

      Re: Why?

      Existing software may well still work, by some method (translation to new instruction set, on first use, for example). Microsoft's approach is certainly aiming to do that (albeit only with 32 bit software, which seems pretty half arsed to me).

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why?

      "I get emotional, because the ordinary Mac user is likely to have to buy new copies of some software at great expense."

      I used Macs during the 68k to PPC transition, and during the PPC to Intel transition.

      In both cases, almost all old software continued to run on the Macs with the new processor architecture. Apple's shown twice that it can shift to a new type of CPU without forcing users to replace all their old software.

      It's true that eventually, Apple dropped the ability to run the old software - but users had several years of being able to run the old stuff on the latest Macs and latest OS, and generally speaking you'd have upgraded a lot of your software over that time period in any case.

      It's reasonable to assume that's the way it'll go if Apple does switch CPU architectures again.

      "And since their volumes are limited by the Mac market, it will be hard to justify development costs.

      If they thought it was hard getting a choice of PowerPC chips to work well in laptops... this could be the prelude to the demise of Apple. Or at least of the Macintosh."

      The demise of Apple and of the Mac has often been predicted. Nothing lasts forever and certainly Macs and Apple will both vanish at some point, but the idea that Apple's going to roll over and die because it's moving the Mac to a new CPU architecture for a third time doesn't really hold water.

      I'm sure Apple's thought this through very carefully. Apple moved from PPC to Intel because IBM wanted Apple to foot the bill to develop a newer PowerPC CPU. But since then, Apple's taken to doing processor design in-house, is already spending money developing CPUs for various iThings, and surely had a good idea of the likely cost and engineering difficulty of designing a suitable Arm-based CPU for a new range of Macs before it embarked on the project. Apple wouldn't be doing this if it didn't make sense.

      It's worth bearing in mind the fact that these days, especially if you're using Arm technology, it's much easier than in the past to design a really good CPU. Arm does a lot of the hard work for you.

  6. David Kelly 2

    This Is Exactly What Apple Shoukd Be Doing!

    This sort of development is exactly the kind of thing Apple should be working on. Would be nice if it works out, but youll never know if you do not try.

    Displays too. Apple is oworking on displays.

    And remember the metaurgy investments leading to iPhone and MacBook cases? And Gorilla Glass?

  7. Hi Wreck

    The only fly in the ointment...

    ...is running legacy windows code in a virtual windows machine. All the native OSX stuff is an update from the App store or recompile away.

    1. Jason Hindle

      Re: The only fly in the ointment...

      Good point. I don't imagine the existing Linux virtual machines I run (via VirtualBox), on my current Mac, will work.

    2. John Savard Silver badge

      Re: The only fly in the ointment...

      That could be an upside, though. If Mac users can't run games in Windows under Boot Camp, that might encourage more developers to port their games to the Mac. Also, Linux runs on lots of chips besides x86, and ARM is one of them, so Linux won't be lost as an option.

    3. Mark 65 Silver badge

      Re: The only fly in the ointment...

      All the native OSX stuff is an update upgrade from the App store or recompile away.

      FTFY.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's raining Foxconn employees

    I wonder how many Apple employees or subcontractors will jump from the roof of Apple's new factory because of inhuman working conditions.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A historical note about Rosetta

    The article states: "Apple has experience with this, running PowerPC apps on x86 Intel Macs, for example, via its Rosetta toolkit."

    Rosetta was Apple's marketing term for its version of the QuickTransit cross-platform virtualisation technology licensed by Apple from Transitive Corporation, which built on work done by the University of Manchester.

    Transitive Corporation was eventually bought by IBM.

  10. J27

    I don't know anyone who owns a Mac that doesn't have Bootcamp installed on it, although I suppose that could be association bias because I'm a software developer and I often speak with other software developers.

    1. TWB

      Bootcamp?

      I've heard of it but never felt the need to install it. You better not meet me.

      1. mrtom84

        Re: Bootcamp?

        I’ve never installed it on my MBP either, and I’m a software developer.

        1. onefang Silver badge

          Re: Bootcamp?

          I bought a Mac Mini specifically to do cross platform development, it also doesn't have Bootcamp installed on it.

    2. Shane Sturrock

      VMs make BootCamp largely obsolete

      For the majority of use cases, a Windows or Linux VM does all that is needed with having to reboot into it natively. Even a fair bit of GPU stuff runs pretty well in VMWare these days so unless you're gaming there's little reason to use BootCamp. I did back in the early days but once Parallels and VMWare got their act together it didn't make sense to do so any more. More to the point, I use the VMs less and less now too as there's so little software I need now that isn't native to the Mac anyway. I keep the VMs around for testing mostly just in case one of my clients has a specific problem on Windows or Linux. Nice to be able to boot up whatever OS version they're on the reproduce the problem and even OS X runs in VMWare happily on a Mac so I can have a single machine cover all my development and testing needs.

    3. ThomH Silver badge

      I have VMWare with a Linux image for ensuring my cross-platform open source project really is still cross-platform but in 12 years I've never once felt compelled to install Boot Camp. It's not really useful for anything besides gaming, and that's a niche interest in itself so gamers who buy Macs must be extremely negligible.

  11. Binraider666

    This really is no surprise at all. ARM boards for servers have been in circulation for some time now. This is assuming it's an ARM of course. The latest incarnations of PPC are pretty tasty too. Can we expect an iOS and OSX merger to follow? Have Apple learned from MS the folly of putting a mobile OS onto the desktop?

    The twisted part of me is also thinking RaspberryPi OSX is probably not far behind either.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Have Apple learned from MS the folly of putting a mobile OS onto the desktop?"

      The MS folly was to put a mobile/tablet UI onto a desktop OS - the underlying OS was never a mobile one, and that's why Surfaces (Pro) are far more useful and versatile than iPads, since they have no mobile OS limitations.

      Maybe Win10S is an attempt to put mobile limitations onto a desktop OS - and that's because MS is still envious of the app stores and related tracking options - just let's hope the Facebook debacle will soon put an end of these attempts to lock in users and suck their blood...

    2. onefang Silver badge

      "The twisted part of me is also thinking RaspberryPi OSX is probably not far behind either."

      Apple really doesn't like running their OSes an other peoples hardware, so that would be an Apple iPi running Mac OS. It would cost more and be bigger, coz Apples are bigger than Raspberries, though less sweet.

  12. EveryTime Silver badge

    Apple has been aligning things so that this is a potential future path for many years.

    One key element has been down-playing the exact performance of their machines, and in some ways hobbling that performance. They had margins and market demand for top-end GPUs, but instead promoted 'integrated graphics' and only offered GPUs that were a generation behind. They have slipped from a half generation to a full generation behind Intel's latest offerings.

    I suspect that the only reason Apple hasn't switched off of x86 yet is that iPhone improvement still represents a bigger short-term market than spinning a version of their current ARM design for the MBP/Air.

  13. jms222 Bronze badge

    Sure about ARM ?

    Any chance we’re talking POWER or MIPS ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Any chance we’re talking POWER or MIPS ?

      Not if they're after a single CPU for all platforms with low power requirements.

    2. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Sure about ARM ?

      I can't believe anyone would seriously ask this question. Why the hell would Apple go back to PowerPC after they left it? Or to MIPS? What could they possibly get out of such a stupid idea?

      They have their own ARM architecture CPU design that's way in front of anything else, equivalent to midrange desktops in performance. In fact, performance hasn't been a reason not to do this since the A9, one of the other reasons not to do (people using Macs to run some Windows applications using Fusion) goes away if/when the ARM port of Windows is stabilized.

      1. itzman

        Re: Sure about ARM ?

        I can see a day when 'OSX' and 'Windows' are just another Linux Distro.

        One where the apps aren't free...

      2. Jaybus

        Re: Sure about ARM ?

        "hey have their own ARM architecture CPU design that's way in front of anything else, equivalent to midrange desktops in performance."

        Based on what? Even Geekbench doesn't imply that. But I do expect that Apple might get away with a slower performing MBP by stating that it is better because it is Apple.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sure about ARM ?

      I'd predict that fairly soon Apple will start referring to processors using the Apple processor architecture and start to airbrush ARM away and a few years further on they'll announce that "its now all our own work so we're not paying anyone anything anymore for it"

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: Sure about ARM ?

        The ARM architectural license costs so little at Apple's volumes it would take decades to get payback on an ISA switch from ARM made solely to avoid the expense.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sure about ARM ?

          Who said anything about another ISA switch?

  14. AndyMulhearn

    It would come as no surprise, though as has been said, Apple don’t tend to leak stuff like this so far in advance. But as it stands at the moment, Apple has a significant investment in ARM and are doing all kinds of crazy stuff that’s surfacing in iPhones and iPads which says they have the knowledge in-house to take this on. So why be dependant on Intel?

    Then the convergence of iOs and Mac OS is something they mooted a while back and rumour of iOs apps running on Mac OS has re-surfaced again recently. This could be something that has an even bigger impact as they can start pushing iOS apps to people that don’t have current iOS devices and start pushing even more app purchasing down the App Store. Removing the complexity of supporting both Intel and ARM for that and the associated toolchains, SDKs and so on could possibly have significant benefits.

    Could be interesting, particularly as they fooled Microsoft into trying to converge their PC and Moblie operations and we all know how well that ended...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Then the convergence of iOs and Mac OS is something they mooted a while back and rumour of iOs apps running on Mac OS has re-surfaced again recently. "

      I've heard on the grapevine, MacOS is going to become a more mobile forcused OS, and there may be a new Corporate OS in the works for macPro's and iMacs etc to get around the managability problems of macs in the enterprise space.

  15. Richard 12 Silver badge

    More likely is the end of macOS

    Rather suspect this is more likely to be Apple killing macOS and making something like a Chromebook running iOS.

    I know a lot of people who would be more than horrified - but it'd probably be a profitable move from Apple.

    1. John Savard Silver badge

      Re: More likely is the end of macOS

      Apparently, if the A9 is powerful enough for a midrange desktop, they could make a Chromebook running iOS. But they don't need to kill the Macintosh in order to do that. Even if there might be a slow shift of emphasis away from it to this new option.

      1. d3vy Silver badge

        Re: More likely is the end of macOS

        "Apparently, if the A9 is powerful enough for a midrange desktop, they could make a Chromebook running iOS"

        You realise you just described an iPad with a keyboard?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: More likely is the end of macOS

      I know a lot of people who would be more than horrified - but it'd probably be a profitable move from Apple.

      I don't believe it would be profitable long term. Think about it. If you remove my opportunity for a proper desktop machine in your ecosystem I, and other users of more powerful hardware, need look elsewhere. If my desktop is then running Linux or, God forbid, WIndows then why would I bother using an iPhone?

      Don't get me wrong, I cannot get on with the "designed by an engineer" front end and "my vendor won't release the latest update" issues I have with Android but you did just remove any reason I had for wanting an iPhone. If I now have the potential for compatibility headaches between my desktop and portable devices then I may as well look at what's cheaper or more open. TBH, if Linux (not Android) had the option of phones and tablets of similar ability I'd ditch Apple in a heartbeat. I'm already part way there by using a Hackintosh because their desktop selection is shithouse. My backup NAS has had its proprietary OS flashed with Debian to keep that an open system. Surely it can't be long?

      1. ThomH Silver badge

        Re: More likely is the end of macOS

        Apple computers are disproportionately prominent in a few markets: publishing, video, photography, education.

        Too many of the core Mac use cases would vanish if it became a glorified iPad, and thankfully with sales of the latter now well down from their peak, it has lost its waymarker sheen. Similarly, the Mac App Store is largely moribund.

        I therefore strongly doubt that Apple would kill macOS, whether explicitly or only in effect.

  16. Slx

    This doesn't surprise me

    From Apple's point of view, this is an opportunity to distinguish their hardware from being just another X86 PC, albeit a more expensive one with a different OS and nice looking form factors.

    With modern approaches to software, I can't really see how it will make any difference to end users, other than just bringing a new processor to the ecosystem.

    I don't really see any evidence or logical reason why they would remove macOS either. It would essentially completely kill their Mac business as iOS is absolutely not a competent replacement for a proper desktop OS. I would drop Macs like a stone if that were to happen and never look back.

    It may not be their biggest product, but macOS and the Mac platform is still a pretty big niche. I mean they've the 4th highest laptop shipments globally, which would indicate that there are a lot of machines running macOS out there. Also the professional user base is like marketing gold dust.

    They've got all sorts of creatives using Apple hardware and keeping it relevant. They've idiotically messed around with that in the past and it really is an area where they need to remain, as a lot of that 'cool' will wear thin if they're just a mobile phone and tablet maker.

    I'd suspect you're just going to see iOS and macOS apps continuing to share more of the same code and a lot more inter compatibility between what are essentially two forks of the same OS anyway.

    1. Mark 65 Silver badge

      Re: This doesn't surprise me

      I don't really see any evidence or logical reason why they would remove macOS either. It would essentially completely kill their Mac business as iOS is absolutely not a competent replacement for a proper desktop OS. I would drop Macs like a stone if that were to happen and never look back.

      Unfortunately given the history and current direction of Apple that doesn't mean they wouldn't jump off of this particular cliff in the name of short-termism. The MBAs are piloting the ship at present and seem to be disappearing up their own arses. More engineering and less form over function now desperately required.

      Their so-called modular Mac Pro replacement could be the make or break for the future of the Mac desktop and OSX in general. iMac Pro may have power but it has shit heat characteristics with poor upgrade-ability and part replacement capability. It's been 5 years and counting - it best be f'cking good.

      1. Slx

        Re: This doesn't surprise me

        Yeah the Mac Pro was a completely stupid move. It's managed to be totally impractical and easily confused with a rubbish bin!

        A surprisingly poor product for a company with Apple's reputation.

        I've a sense the company will be back to its pre Jobsian days, floundering around again. It’s easy to forget Apple was a mess in the 1990s and even well after the initial iMac launch, which was a huge risk - had that failed to catch on, the company was finished.

      2. Aitor 1 Silver badge

        Re: This doesn't surprise me

        The iMac Pro was a short term stopgap.. anyone that knows a bit was quick to determine that was going to be a furnace.

        Anyway, I do see them being able to replace i5U series with their own arm, but the big questions should be.. why? the only reason would be not to be compared with say a dell latitude... and that makes little sense to me.

        1. Mark 65 Silver badge

          Re: This doesn't surprise me

          @Aitor 1: Macbook Air battery life with Macbook Pro 13" performance? To be honest, with the iPad Pro that end of the product line seems a little cramped. Perhaps it is an upward creep to the Macbook Pro line as they feel they are constantly waiting around for a performance/power kicker from Intel? That would give more synergy (MBA-ism, sorry) between the iPad Pro line and the next portable item up, leaving the real meat of performance in a (hopefully) revamped Mac Pro which would (presumably) remain Xeon.

          iMac and Mac Pro to be Xeon, all else Apple ARM? Given where the bulk of sales sits it kind of makes sense to be master of desired characteristics in the volume segment and just buy in at the server-grade end from Intel/AMD.

  17. PhilipN Silver badge

    "cheaper than Intel"

    Assumed by whom? I do not know when the expression "economies of scale" was coined but I very much doubt the foundry price per unit of Apple-branded ARM chips could match those of Intel. And I also doubt that fundamental cost was the main driving factor. For example the switch to Intel was because Macs could no longer do what Apple wanted them to do on Power. More to do, if memory serves, with speed, and heat.

    1. EveryTime Silver badge

      Re: "cheaper than Intel"

      Foundry price per unit doesn't come into the comparison.

      Apple pays "retail" for Intel chips, and the foundry price for their own designs. Intel might have a lower internal cost, but the price they charge Apple is based on what the market will bear, not their fab cost.

      For Apple their investment is largely the opportunity cost of their chip design team being redirected for a design cycle. That might be incredibly expensive if they risk falling behind Samsung, or almost free if it's just adding a few options to the next iPad chip. Once they tape out, their per unit cost is certain to be far below what they are paying Intel. As an architectural licensee, their fees to ARM are trivial in comparison to the value delivered.

    2. Mark 65 Silver badge

      Re: "cheaper than Intel"

      Economies of scale are the vendor's profits not your saved costs. Sure, they pass on a little for bulk orders but, just like cloud providers, those economies add to their profits not your savings - there's a reason Bezos is loaded and it ain't his altruistic generosity.

    3. Hans 1 Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: "cheaper than Intel"

      "economies of scale" only hit the customer when you have competition ... who is competing with Intel ?

      Thought so ...

      That being said, I dunno if Apple can produce cheaper chips than Intel and I do not really care, not an Apple customer ...

    4. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: "cheaper than Intel"

      For "cheaper" read bigger margins for Apple: margins on the phones are higher than those on the notebooks not least because the CPUs are cheaper to make.

      But it's not the main reason: ARM allows more customisation and control and Apple has been increasing the parts that it designs itself, which allows it to differentiate its products more from the competition. Apple can then choose which manufacturer makes its design, though once Qualcomm gobbles NXP there won't be many.

  18. doublelayer

    I'm concerned

    I would not particularly care about switching, but I'm concerned that apple will take the opportunity to perform more locking. Right now, I can boot to something else, such as a linux disk for fixing things or a portable OSX disk for a different system. If apple likes the extra-secure IOS model where I'm not allowed to do very much, then I wouldn't want to buy one. This wouldn't be integral to arm, but this would be a convenient time from apple's perspective to do so.

    They're already starting to make moves that concern me, such as their work on making sideloading painful or just their terrible performance with the latest update, where security problems were happening one a week and I still have a computer that repeatedly fails for weeks before working well for another four days. Locking me out any more will almost certainly lose me as a customer.

  19. Wade Burchette

    If anyone can do it, Apple can

    Microsoft couldn't pull off such a feat. Only Apple could. Part of the reason is because Microsoft cannot go all-in on another CPU architecture. They do not have a devoted legion of followers like Apple does. But Apple can; they do not need to transition because many of their users will buy whatever they put out. Not only that, Apple's culture will mean it will be close to right before they even try. Microsoft's culture is now "we will fix it later, for now let us figure out how to make money out of people".

    But there are many questions. Rumors are that Apple was the reason why their is an AMD GPU on an Intel CPU. Not only that, Intel learned the hard way that GPU is a different beast than CPU. What about the GPU on an x86-less iMac? Will it still be AMD? Which architecture will Apple go with? Will it be ARM? Or something from the ground-up? Will they license x86 instruction set for emulation? If so, will it be from AMD or Intel? So many questions.

  20. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Are you still here?

    Had I known in the 1980s that we'd be using x86 until at least 2030, I might not have become a software engineer. Everything in tech changes so rapidly yet here we are still running MacOS and Windows on upgraded x86 code.

    Honestly, I was hoping that programs would dynamically compile from virtual instructions sets by now. Apple has a bit of that with LLVM and Android has a bit of it with JVM, but it's just pieces of code using it. It would be nice to have generic instructions for math, memory movement, virtual addresses, thread communications, and I/O that don't need different compilation options before distribution.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      " It would be nice to have generic instructions"

      It just hinders innovation (or can't use it) in the underlying hardware level. The translation between "generic instructions" and actual CPU ones could become really hard, and sub-optimal, when architectures becomes very different. They may require different higher-level programming patterns to choose the best approach for a given problem on a given architecture, not just some late compiler selection among different instruction sets.

      LLVM is a "lazy" approach - perfectly fine with less demanding applications where it simplifies a lot - but it will hit roadblocks for more demanding ones where it's difficult to abstract fully the underlying architectures, the risk is to adopt a model where only common features are available - so you don't get anything better than Java...

      1. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

        Re: " It would be nice to have generic instructions"

        The trick is being able to concisely describe intent rather than actions. Actions are difficult to optimize but intent is easy.

        Besides, there's no need to stick with a single virtual instructions set. There could be varieties optimized for different tasks - almost like source code but without the automatic safety mechanisms that come with some languages.

    2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: Are you still here?

      > Android has a bit of it with JVM

      Android never had JVM. It had Dalvik and now has ART.

  21. Stuart21551

    Inventors

    do not trust intel

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    macOS drove me mad slowly

    My Mac now runs Linux ironically faster than its own native OS.

    1. itzman

      Re: macOS drove me mad slowly

      Apart from a pretty case, why on earth put Linux on a Mac?

  23. ps2os2

    Apple screws the consumer

    Apple for the umpteenth time has decided that everybody must be uniform. Apple wants everybody to be exactly like everybody else, so they do not have to expend any energy on new products. Hey, as one Apple boy said, we all are the same under the covers, so Apple is doing us the favor of enforcing the idea that we are all equal. Said a second Apple boy wouldn't it be great to be the same as we will have all interchangeable parts and have only one OS. The consumer is damned! We will dictate to the world that every person is equal. The universe is one all hail APPLE!

    Hey, Apple I do not want this uniformity. I do not like your phone why ruin a perfectly good OS interface by dumbing down everyone?

    You buggy OSX has already got me thinking to go back to windows, your system crashing is now on par with Windows. You are on the verge of losing a lot of customers. Fix what you have and become a stable OS first.

    1. TVU Silver badge

      Re: Apple screws the consumer

      "Your buggy OSX has already got me thinking to go back to windows, your system crashing is now on par with Windows. You are on the verge of losing a lot of customers. Fix what you have and become a stable OS first"

      I have a lot of sympathy for that last point because, for the past couple of years, the quality control for releases and updates of macOS leaves a lot to be desired.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Apple screws the consumer

      "The consumer is damned! We will dictate to the world that every person is equal. The universe is one all hail APPLE!"

      Where's that woman with the hammer when you need her?

  24. BlokeInTejas

    No need for virtual machines....

    Moving from x86 to ARM within a controlled environment like MacOS/OS X can be much simpler than deciding to have to run emulators/jit compilers and the like. Instead, long before the processor architecture swap is put in place, you change the form of the 'binaries' that the computer will accept and install.

    And you change that to something equivalent in form and function to the llvm compiler's internal representation. And when you install that binary, you perform the last pass of compilation to whatever processor architecture your computer has installed. And everything runs at native speeds.

    This can even be back ported to the appropriate last few OS releases; it will leave those who insist on staying the past somewhat high and dry, though.

    1. stephanh Silver badge

      Re: No need for virtual machines....

      Apple has already a different solution in place for that: universal binaries, which may contain machine code for different architectures.

      LLVM bitcode isn't architecture-independent anyway; I cannot take LLVM bitcode compiled for x86 and use it on ARM.

  25. Named coward
    Pint

    Under-Growing the market?

    I was going to write a rant about the obnoxious terminology, but see icon

  26. trevorde

    When you only have 10% of the desktop market and don't care about backward compatibility (*), then you can do anything you like.

    (*) "backward compatibility" means forever, not for one major release of the operating system. If the software vendor has gone out of business or is not willing to update their product, you *really* need backward compatibility. That is why Macs will never succeed in the enterprise.

    1. Philippe

      That is why Macs will never succeed in the enterprise.?

      The reason Apple marketshare of the PC market has gone from 3 to 8% worldwide by only selling high-end kit is because they're succeeding in the enterprise.

      Tons of companies are now giving a Mac option as well as a PC option when ordering a new laptop. This was unheard of, even 3 years ago.

      The tools are there to manage the Mac, the ratio of support personal to device is a tenth of the PC side.

      Backward compatibility is something you Citrix VDI, not something you limit your CPU choice for.

  27. elvisimprsntr

    Moore's Law is nearing the end for CPU computing. Growth in GPU performance/parallel computation for scientific and graphical applications is the future.

    I've moved all my VM Guests from locally hosted VirtualBox to a QNAP NAS Virtualization Station, thus dependency on Intel for desktops/laptops is eliminated. Apple's support for eGPU eliminates is need for high power internal discrete graphics.

    If it means more compact, longer battery life, less heat, lower cost, I'm on board.

  28. Torben Mogensen

    About time

    I have long been expecting this move, and I I'm surprised it hasn't happened earlier. Using the same CPU on iPhones and Macs will simplify a lot of things for Apple, as will having the ability to make their own chips combining CPUs with coprocessors of their own choice instead of relying on the fairly limited choice that Intel offers.

    With the advent of 64-bit ARMs, integer performance is similar to x86 performance, and due to the smaller core size, you can fit more cores onto a chip, increasing overall performance. Where ARM CPUs have lagged behind Intel is in floating-point performance, but that may not be important for Apple. And if it is, they have a license that allows them to make their own FPU to go alongside the ARM cores. In any case, the most FP-intensive tasks are rapidly moving from classical FPUs to GPUs, so as long as Apple supplies their Macs with GPUs that runs OpenCL at decent speed, sequential FP performance may not matter much. In general, single-core performance (whether integer or FP) is becoming less and less important as the number of cores grow: To get high performance, you have to code for multiple cores, regardless of whether you code for Intel or ARM.

    As for running legacy code, this can be done with just-in-time binary translation: The first time a block of x86 code is executed, it is emulated by interpretation, but a process is at the same time started on another core that translates the x86 code to ARM. As soon as this translation finishes, the code will run compiled when next executed. There might even be multiple steps: Interpretation, simple translation, and optimised translation, each being started when the previous form has been executed sufficiently often that it is expected to pay off.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "loating-point performance, but that may not be important for Apple"

      Ehm, no. Many video/audio application today imply the use of doube/single precision floating point operations, not using the old Intel x87 FPU instructions, but the newer SIMD instructions - ARM of course has its own implementation, but those capabilities and performance are important for a lot of software people buy Macs for - unless it's not just to show off with the logo on the cover, of course.

      I don't think Apple will fully switch to ARM until it can deliver the same performance level that are expected by its power users, which are not a small fraction of its buyers.

      After all, if you need to run a text editor in a console to type some PHP, Linux is a far cheaper choice, unless, of course, again, you have to show off...

  29. jms222 Bronze badge

    AS/400

    > And when you install that binary, you perform the last pass of compilation to

    > whatever processor architecture your computer has installed

    Like AS/400 then.

  30. Simon 4

    I bought my MacBook Pro i7 16GB RAM for video editing.

    Multiple camera angles.

    I know that Intel chips are inefficient, but I doubt an ARM machine would be up to the same challenge.

    A lot of Mac users do more than just surf the inter webs.

    Not sure how this is gonna work out.

  31. Jove Bronze badge

    Would the size of the heat-sink required by current generation Intels be anything to do with the difficulty in delivering product updates that are recognizably apple, rather than Mother Kelly's doorstep?

  32. Missing Semicolon Silver badge
    Meh

    Intel. Not Good Enough for Apple

    Ouch.

  33. GIRZiM
    Facepalm

    Wasn't it a good idea

    for gov.co.uk to sell off ARM?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wasn't it a good idea

      It was never theirs to sell/not sell.

      Arm won't be making much more money (directly) out of this alleged decision anyway.

      1. GIRZiM

        Re: Wasn't it a good idea

        >It was never theirs to sell/not sell.

        True but it should never have been allowed - one of the few genuinely successful UK businesses, manufacturing chips in HOW many systems worldwide, sold off just before Brexit means the nation is going to need all the business it can get and the revenue stream has just been diverted elsewhere.

        I'm no socialist but there are times when a bit of government intervention wouldn't go amiss, I think.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Wasn't it a good idea

          >manufacturing chips in HOW many systems worldwide,

          None. I don't think you've a clue about Arm. Nor how capitalist business works, Komrad

          1. GIRZiM

            Re: Wasn't it a good idea

            Yes, okay, they don't actually manufacture anything, they licence things.

            And you said 'Komrad' as well! Kongratulations on your mastery of both pedantry and pithy wit that people must absolutely love at parties (I bet you're popular with the ladies too).

            The point is that whatever revenue they made for the UK has been allowed to be sold to another nation for a quick buck at the very time when the nation will need all it can get.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Wasn't it a good idea

              It's doubtful Arm will book their revenue in the UK . Not many tech companies do. Every comment you've made on this subject has been flat wrong.

              1. GIRZiM

                Re: Wasn't it a good idea

                Do you even know what what government is FOR, let alone how it actually works? Every comment you've made on this thread has been predicated on the fatuous assumption that it is not empowered to do whatever it sees fit by virtue of it being legally empowered to legislate in favour of, or against, the sale/purchase/merging of businesses, when, in fact, it is not only empowered to do precisely that but, furthermore, DOES precisely that - that's WHY the government had to okay the sale in the first place.

                Until it okayed the sale of ARM to a foreign buyer, the government could have insisted that ARM book everything in the UK.

                That decision might not have been popular with ideologues like yourself but it would have been perfectly legal and, therefore, your options would have been to lump it or go and live in a neoliberal paradise like Singapore.

                Everything you have said here has been, at best, irrelevant pedantry and, at worst, not even wrong: https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Not_even_wrong

                1. itzman

                  Re: Do you even know what what government is FOR, let alone how it actually works?

                  Everyone knows that what a government is for is to replace your parents, by giving you a strict moral code, supporting you in your indolence and making you feel good about yourself, even if you discover your internal fantasies don't match the hardware nature supplied you with.

                  Mutti Merkel and the Mumsy Minges know best, dear!

                  Any suggestion that one might grow up and leave the EuroKindergarten of 'Jeux sans frontières' is met with howls of anguish greater than any teenager who has had their I phone removed from their live puffy hands and stamped on.

                  Anyway I thought that the whole point of the EU was to have one architecture and one operating system?

                  Surely everyone understands the benefits of harmonised 'cultural diversity'.

                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xtdqp30dJlE

                  1. GIRZiM

                    Re: Do you even know what what government is FOR, let alone how it actually works?

                    Government is not there to replace our parents, it's there to protect us from snake-oil merchants and carpet-baggers by saying "No, you don't - and, before you ask, THIS army." Anyone who thinks it's for more than that is a simpleton who needs to get off infowars.com and start paying attention to real life in the real world.

                    The UK government allowing the selloff of ARM has got nothing to do with the EU - what are you smoking?

                    I only mentioned Brexit because, whatever I may feel about it myself, it is going to take us a minimum of ten years to get trade deals properly sorted out and even longer to get any appreciable number of them completed - unless we are going to sign our names to any old Ts&Cs that favour the rest of the world while we get on our knees and beg for a face-slapping, that is.

                    Every little is going to help and it was a bad idea to allow the selloff of some of the little we do have that can rightly be pointed to as a success - if it weren't, nobody would've wanted to buy it in the first place!

                    Brexit is happening, whether you, I or anyone else likes it or not, so let's make a good fist of it - and selling off our most successful assets for a quick buck is not the way to go about it!

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: Do you even know what what government is FOR, let alone how it actually works?

                      >Until it okayed the sale of ARM to a foreign buyer, the government could have insisted that ARM book everything in the UK.

                      You need to stop with the fantasies.

                      Your inability to grasp Arm's business model and market, the investment it needed to move forward and grow its business and the fact that nearly everyone involved is pretty darn happy about Softbank's acquisition of Arm make your arguments just sound like petty Little Englander indignation that those darn foreigners have done it again!

                      England is not the only country where Arm has worked on great innovative technology.

                      1. GIRZiM

                        Re: Do you even know what what government is FOR, let alone how it actually works?

                        > Your inability to grasp Arm's business model and market, the investment it needed to move forward and grow its business and the fact that nearly everyone involved is pretty darn happy about Softbank's acquisition of Arm make your arguments just sound like petty Little Englander indignation that those darn foreigners have done it again!

                        Holy crap!

                        I have spent my life living in various countries, speak multiple foreign languages to native level, count my friends as being natives of just about every major country in the World and certainly from every continent ... and am, for one, bitterly disappointed by the outcome of the Brexit referendum and only thankful that, thanks to the fact that I left the UK in 1985, I have options available to me that render it less significant in terms of my own life.

                        I do, however, have friends and family in the U.K. about whom I care and it will impact them far more than it will me. Moreover, I have concerns for my own future based upon (specifically) the sale of ARM at this time because I have to consider the possibility of a return to the UK after all this time for family reasons, do not know how viable it will be to leave again afterwards or, if it should be, to what timescale, and have, therefore, to consider the possibility that it might become a long-term, if not permanent, fixture.

                        But the fact that you see me as a little Englander highlights no more than your own inability to grasp the fact that you have an incredibly simplistic world view that forces everything into a narrow black/white, pro/contra, entirely lacking in nuance, that is, furthermore, borne out by your belief that orthodox neoliberal economic dogma is the yardstick by which the wisdom of an act may be measured. You probably think that current measures of what makes business sense bear any relation to future realities - hint: this is Economics we're talking about, so they don't ... because, in Economics, unlike the Sciences, past performance is no indicator of future performance.

                        Little Englander?

                        Me?

                        HAhahahahahahaha!

                        Dear God it must be cramped in your head!

                        1. Anonymous Coward
                          Anonymous Coward

                          Re: Do you even know what what government is FOR, let alone how it actually works?

                          >Dear God it must be cramped in your head!

                          Maybe. But at least I know a bit about Arm and other similar multinational semiconductor IP companies. And don't go around spreading FUD about "pesky foreigners, coming over here, buyin' our stuff!"

                          1. GIRZiM

                            Re: Do you even know what what government is FOR, let alone how it actually works?

                            > FUD about "pesky foreigners, coming over here, buyin' our stuff!"

                            Again, the fact that you are trying to force me into that box is not only evidence of your own narrow and unnunaced view of the world but, furthermore, highlights the fact that you, yourself, view the whole thing in those terms, not me.

                            As stated, my friends are nearly all 'foreigners' as you like to describe them. However, I view them as people first and foremost and, like myself, 'citizens of the world' if I think about them beyond that - rarely do I need to consider their technical nationality because, at any given time, we are nearly always foreigners together (none of us living in the country of our birth).

                            So, your view of my mentality is your own, not mine.

                            The fact that a non-UK purchaser was found is not a reflection of my view that foreigners are coming here and turking er jerbs and bizniss. How could it be, coming from someone who, as I stated, has spent the last thirty-three years of his life being that very foreigner himself and loving every second of it?

                            The issue is not that a foreign business entity wanted to buy it, it's that the UK government shortsightedly sold it for a quick buck rather than invest in its long-term success on behalf of the nation.

                            The fact that you can't see that and couch it all in terms of foreigners reflects your own attitude, not mine - my issue is with the UK government, not the with the nationality of the buyer(s).

                            If you haven't already, maybe you should consider actually spending some time living in foreign countries and cultures rather than pontificating upon it from the comfort of your island mentality - otherwise, you're the Little Englander, not me (no different to the Brexiters I assume you despise for their equally parochial view of the world.)

                            1. Anonymous Coward
                              Anonymous Coward

                              Re: Do you even know what what government is FOR, let alone how it actually works?

                              >The issue is not that a foreign business entity wanted to buy it, it's that the UK government shortsightedly sold it for a quick buck rather than invest in its long-term success on behalf of the nation.

                              Arm is a global company that was listed on the NASDAQ as well as in London. It got bought.

                              You keep posting that "uk.gov sold it" but it wasn't ever theirs in the first place! What part of that can't you grasp?

                              You have lots of foreign friend? Good for you!

                    2. conscience

                      Re: Do you even know what what government is FOR, let alone how it actually works?

                      @ GIRZiM - It sounds like you assume ARM earns more than they actually do. ARM profits aren't big enough to really worry about who owns it, we're 'only' talking a few hundred million a year not billions.

  34. Jediben

    Planned Obsolescence. When Apple do something, they go all in...

  35. patrick tyrus

    de ja vu

    that reminds me of PowerPC

  36. ForthIsNotDead Silver badge

    Good riddance

    I long for the demise of the x86. I have to take my hat off to Intel though. When you can run old machine code written for an 8086 on a modern Intel CPU, that's pretty fucking impressive.

    But at the same time, it's pretty fucking dumb, too. I do wonder how much progress has been arrested by having the planet married to a processor that, even today, has some DNA from a 1976 8086 in it. How many transistors are there to just make the thing 8086 compatible? It's bonkers.

    I'm looking forward to owning a non-intel/non-intel-clone laptop so that I can get back to assembly language. I've written assembly language code on a variety of cpus over the years, but the one I could not stand was the Intel stuff (it was a 286 when I was looking at it) and it's a LOT harder to write assembler on a modern x86 (apparently - I haven't done it). I've assembly language on ARM M0 CPUs and it was quite nice.

  37. mark l 2 Silver badge

    I doubt it is the only reason but I bet the recent meltdown bugs that plague all recent Intel CPUs made Apple think it is probably a good time to start to look at their own in house processor designs as an alternative to Intel.

    Intel don't have as much of a performance lead they had in 2005 when they Apple switched from PowerPC, and maybe Apple are thinking that longer battery life and extra security from an ARM SOC will be good selling points for them.

    1. doublelayer

      Don't assume that ARM is secure

      I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that ARM is and will always be secure. For one thing, many ARM cores have speculative execution that was insecure, and it hasn't necessarily been fixed. Yes, intel is worse for now, as meltdown is their thing, but ARM isn't perfect now from the security perspective. There's no guarantee that ARM will be more secure than intel in the longterm. In fact, there isn't even a reason to assume that is likely. The next CPU architecture flaw may hit any processor type.

  38. Matthew 17

    An awful lot of software appeared on Macs when they went Intel as it became easier to port from PC

    Presumably they can save money by having bagillion-core Arm-based Macs and they'll be fast enough for all the chromebook type activities most people are happy with but as always there's always suspicion that the people that use their hardware to earn a living aren't really key to any decision process.

    Will see what the future holds.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Its getting sad now

    So basically a new-gen Acorn Archimedes?

    1. Anonymous C0ward

      Re: Its getting sad now

      Will it run RISC OS?

  40. Anonymous C0ward

    What was wrong with m68k anyway?

    Far nicer architecture than Intel. 32-bit registers from the start and no weird segmentation.

    1. Torben Mogensen

      Re: What was wrong with m68k anyway?

      Apple moved from 68K to PowerPC because there was no high-performance 68K processor. PowerPC promised (and delivered) higher performance than 68K, at least in the foreseeable future. At that time, Apple was mainly about desktop machines, so power use was not all-important.

      The move to x86 was allegedly motivated by lower power use for the same (or higher) performance, which was required for laptop use. Competition between Intel and AMD had driven an arms race for more power for less power, and Apple could ride on that.

      A move to ARM can be partially motivated by a desire for lower power use, but it is more likely so Apple can build their own ASICs, as they have done for iPhone, and so more code can be shared between iOS and MacOS.

  41. martinusher Silver badge

    Going Around in Circles

    The move to x86 chips was almost certainly driven by Intel's investment in what they called "Banyas" in the early 2000s. This was a huge investment in a lower power architecture designed primarily for laptops. The Power architecture lacked a low power solution so Apple essentially moved to an inferior processor architecture to get a more advanced solution. The problem with the x86 architecture, though, is that its essentially an almighty kludge, it has roots in the venerable 8080 from the 1970s with 16, then 32 and finally 64 bit support tacked on (plus intermittent coprocessor add-ons). Its endured not because it was good but because it was widely utilized. ARM, like the Power architecture, is more regular in design and ultimately you're going to need less brute force to get the same amount of computing throughput. I've always been a bit skeptical of ARM as a high performance platform -- it used to rely heavily on specialized co-processor units to get the desired performance -- but, like Intel before it, it is widely adopted because its widely used, not necessarily because its the best.

    Personally, I found the Power architecture a bit of a mouthful to digest but once you get to know it you realize its extremely fast for a given processor clock speed. It just never got developed. (But then you could say the same about other neglected architectures.)

    (Intel has played with making ARM chips in the past, they could probably do it again. Intel had a moderately successful RISC architecture in the 960 series but dropped it when it purchased a ARM design from DEC. This ARM4 was then replaced by an ARM5 "XScale" which they eventually dumped in the mid-2000s by selling it to Marvel.)

  42. tin 2

    Intel outside

    Had such a sticker on my Amiga circa 1996. Nerd banter.

  43. IntermediateAl

    ARM computers were emulating x86 30yrs ago

    A virtual machine for intel based software shouldn't be a big deal.

    Those of us old enough to have used the ARM based Acorn Archimedes at school or college in the late 80's and early 90s might remember the software based PC Emulator. Which if memory serves me correctly ran software at the same speed an original IBM PC would. Not exactly fast, especially when compared to an AT or 386 PC but pretty good going considering it was done in software.

  44. conscience

    Intel out, AMD in?

    Intel may well be on the way out, but could that be because AMD is on their way in as they can offer more bang for Apple's bucks?

    While Apple's ARM chips may be more than good enough for the iStuff and their mid-range desktops and laptops, for the time being I can still imagine Apple wanting to supplement them with something a little beefier for their high performance models. It could make some sense for them to employ a big.little type configuration with their custom ARM CPU for less intensive tasks, but having a Ryzen/Epic (and Vega graphics) kicking in when higher performance is required. Also by not abandoning x86 straight away, this could also help give them time to further boost their ARM performance and allow the Mac developers to port their applications to the new architecture.

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