Apple’s insistence on XCode for iPhone OS apps not about Adobe, but switching chip architectures?

“This week Apple confined developers to a specific set of tools (XCode),” Steve Cheney blogs for steve’s blog. “A lot of people think this is to kill Adobe Flash. Sure, that is a tactical reason, but there are much broader strategic reasons. By telling developers to move to XCode tools, Apple is setting the stage to potentially switch architectures.

“History often repeats itself: In 2003, Apple advised developers to switch to XCode tools,” Cheney writes. “This was not a coincidental move—2 years later Apple moved to Intel across its entire Mac line. Developers who complied could simply press a button and applications would run natively (full performance) on new Intel Macs.”

“Now consider this – Apple may have already switched without people knowing. Here’s an anecdote – the innards of Apple’s A4 (powers the iPad) have been speculated ad nauseum by experts, but the reality is no one knows what’s actually inside. This week, there was very surprising analysis that the A4’s die size far exceeds what it ‘should’ be (single core ARM Cortex A8 with a 64 bit memory bus and GPU).

“This analysis is not yet mainstream, but will add tremendous fuel to the fire that perhaps the A4 is NOT an ARM architecture,” Cheney writes. “In fact, it’s highly possible that the A4 is a dual core Power Architecture, which is what the PA Semi team worked with, prior to Apple buying them in 2007.”

If this is indeed the case, then iPhone OS 4.0 would bring incredible speed improvements to the iPad, since it would no longer run applications on an ARM processor emulator,” Cheney writes. “Can you imagine if OS 4.0 improved the iPad’s speed by 50% on day 1? Apple would be heralded as a software God. But in order for these speed improvements to be realized, apps would need to be written in objective C—which is exactly what Apple is now telling developers to do.”

Cheney writes, “We will likely find out what’s really inside the A4 soon. But one thing is already clear: Apple is sowing the groundwork to make architecture changes seamless—developers will only need to flip a switch to give their apps blazing, native performance… I find it fascinating that Apple has been so good at diverting attention to the Flash argument, that people don’t see the true genius behind Steve Jobs’ vision…”

Full article – recommended – here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Jack” and “jax44” for the heads up.]


  1. It’s amazing how Apple surprises the world, and blindsides the rest of the tech industry, seemingly on a daily basis. It’s a bit mind-boggling just how far ahead the company thinks, prepares and then actually releases all this stuff.

    It would interesting (to say the least!) to have a little peek at Apple’s road map for the next 3 to 5 years.

  2. The irony is
    that objective-c / cocoa is relatively easy to code, as programming languages go. The fact that Adobe is so slow in embracing it is a testament to their laziness.

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