Canonical founder: Apple’s 64-bit A7 chip to shows very clear intent to converge iPhone and MacBook Air

“Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth believes that Apple intends to merge the Mac and iPhone,” Brooke Crothers reports for CNET. “‘Apple was sending what we think is a very clear signal that it will converge the iPhone and the MacBook Air,’ Shuttleworth said in an interview with UK-based PC Pro, published Friday.”

Crothers reports, “The creator of the Ubuntu operating system expanded on what he believes Apple was thinking when it announced the 64-bit A7 processor: ‘People are saying yes, mobile processors are catching up with the desktop. When Apple announced the iPhone 5s, it called the processor ‘desktop-class,’ and I don’t think that was an accident — it was sending what we think is a very clear signal that it will converge the iPhone and the MacBook Air. There’s no point talking about the desktop performance of your CPU unless you plan to make a desktop device with that CPU.'”

Read more in the full article here.

31 Comments

    1. Mark Shuttle worth has read my comments on MDN and decided to channel them as his own!!!
      How can I get him to cough up some of the dough he has made from it?

    2. What he’s saying really isn’t very far-fetched. Apple’s already handled CPU transitions in the Mac product line several times, and this one would mean a huge increase in battery life.

      -jcr

  1. “There’s no point talking about the desktop performance of your CPU unless you plan to make a desktop device with that CPU.’”

    That Apple would want to use it’s massive iOS user base as a way to coax users into it’s laptops and even desktops makes sense, but Apple has been talking about “desktop class” since the introduction of the original iPhone.

  2. More likely an iPad and a MacBook Air Hybrid. Desktop apps on a convertible iPad, or special touch oriented user interface, or slide out keyboard? God only knows, but they they have had years to think about what is right and are slowly pushing the technology forward to get everything in place to change everything yet again.

  3. I’d sure like to see an 64-bit A8 processor running OSX. Imagine the long battery life a notebook computer would have. I’d trade off overall processing power for battery life on a mobile device. I’d still want an Intel Haswell processor for a desktop because I can’t believe an ARM processor could be as powerful as a high-end Intel processor.

    1. You may say now that you would trade off processing power for battery life, but it’s far more frustrating watching spinning beach balls than it is finding a power outlet for a quick charge.

  4. Silliness. Apple knows very well that desktop and mobile OSes are good at very different things. The A7 (or A8) may make its way to the MacBook Air, not as a merger of the products but as a powerful and power-saving processor.

    Mobile devices will get more powerful, but they won’t merge (at least not in Apple’s ecosystem). They will be able to handle much better cross-platform uses, for example, Apple’s iWork suite would be not need to have basic features stripped out just to have a mobile version, thus permitting the same document to be shared between mobile and desktop platforms without any content loss or feature incompatibility.

  5. You guys are too funny! Bet dollars to donuts that Intel and Samsung already have this all figured and rused Apple to roll its chip out before they did theirs so that they can ridicule it when they go hard on their respective chip sets.

    For the record Apple knows this and they will track just fine with their followers who would buy tons of toilet paper from Apple for no other reason than the logo.

  6. it was sending what we think is a very clear signal that it will converge the iPhone and the MacBook Air

    NO. And we’ve raked over exactly why several times here at MDN. Want a stark illustration? Study the problems Microsoft is having providing the Surface slabs with two different CPUs:

    1) Intel = Windows 8 OS
    2) ARM = Windows RT OS

    The software from one is NOT compatible with the other.

    Software developers have zero incentive to rewrite their software for ARM/Windows RT, and aren’t.

    Get it?

    ∑ = No. Not gonna happen, no way, no how. So please drop this ignorant subject tech ‘analysts’ or whatever. Go get some computer science training.

    1. Shuttleworth is only touting the idea because it lends credence to his own programme to universalise his love child, Ubuntu. It’s great PR, but as you point out, abstract, as the failure of Windows 8 convergence attests. Developer incentives aside, the key is different begging points for hardware in the field, not a common code base that is suboptimal for every device.

    2. I disagree, Derek. Windows RT is completely different not because it runs on ARM. It’s completely different because it imposes artificial limitations both on programmers and on users. Those limitations are why it is a failure. Failure in Redmond is not evidence that something is not a good idea. It just means Ballmer’s still running the show there.

      Apple has successfully executed a processor migration twice in the past: Motorola 68K to PowerPC, and PowerPC to Intel x86. They can absolutely do it again, and I think they will. Imagine a MacBook Air with a week of battery life.

      1. Apple has indeed kindly transitions to superior CPUs on two occasions. They have also provided compatibility layers to their OS that let ‘universal’ code work on BOTH CPUs during the transition. Microsoft has NOT done this.

        IOW: You are incorrect about the situation with Windows RT. There is ZERO ability to easily port any Intel CPU written software over to Windows RT. Zero. Blame Microsoft. I am entirely correct in pointing out that ARM, as a RISC processor, does NOT have the plethora of legacy Intel CPU APIs required for any porting of Intel based software. Can’t be done without a REWRITE. All that missing code, all those missing calls to what’s innately part of the Intel chips, has to be written into the ARM supporting software. It doesn’t appear out of the air like magic. You can’t just rip it off from Intel and throw it into your own code. You have to write it yourself.

        Go do some research on CPUs, kernels, APIs, RISC and CISC. That will get you started understanding what’s going on.

  7. I would not put it past Apple to do exactly this and I think it would be a good move!

    They have said that the A7 is Desktop Class. They also say that the iOS and Mac OSX API’s are nearly identical. But the biggest possible proof is that Apple has done it before. Remember the Power PC? Apple kept the OS up to date publicly on the Power PC and privately on the Intel chip set, then switched. Back then many people were saying the same thing – that it would NEVER happen, but it did.

    Apple can keep the same processors in different devices and make them work great – they are after all a software company, too.

    1. But then there is all the third party software that runs on Intel chips. Do you want another 10 years of emulators like Rosetta and a mix of emulated and native software? Remember this not just about the OS. We buy computers to get work done and most of it in third party apps.

  8. I took the “desktop class ” comment coupled with the free availability of ” iWork” software as a means of telling consumers to look at their iDevices as content creating devices not just content consuming devices.

    I’ve taken that to heart and stepped up my use of iCloud. I now create much more stuff on the iPhone and finish it on the Mac and vis versa.

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