Mac sales to grow in enterprise with new Apple A-series-powered Mac

“A lot of discussion has been going around regarding projected sales for Apple’s Mac computers this past quarter. These have been centered around estimates by analysis firms IDC and Gartner,” J. M. Manness writes for Seeking Alpha. “I believe that the whole PC landscape is about to change when Apple introduces new, low priced Mac PCs.”

“Gartner’s numbers give Apple a 7.6% market share, a growth of 1.5% over a year ago. The IDC data is a bit different, but still shows growth in Apple market share. It’s likely that part of this growth has come from increased adoption of Macs in the business sector, in both small/medium businesses and in the enterprise. These inroads have been led by Apple’s mobile iOS devices which lead in the enterprise,” Manness writes. “”

“Last year I suggested that a new Mac would come aimed at the enterprise. It would be a full-fledged Mac OS X running on an Apple A-series processor,” Manness writes. “In another post I explained how Apple’s modus operandi includes the ability to wait until technology reaches a level that allows a leap. Certainly now that time has arrived for ARM-based processors… My guess is that this new Mac would garner an additional 3% market share or close to another 10 million units. This would bring in an additional $3.5 billion annually or about $0.61 per share.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Certainly Apple has OS X running on A-series processors in their labs.

As we wrote back in January:

There is no reason why Apple could not offer both A-series-powered Macs and Intel-based Macs. The two are not mutually exclusive…

SEE ALSO:
Apple A-series-powered Macs are not only feasible, they may be inevitable – January 15, 2015
Why Apple dumping Intel processors would be disastrous – January 14, 2015
KGI: Apple is designing its own processors for Mac – January 14, 2015
Apple A9-powered MacBook Air? – December 16, 2014
Why Apple will switch to ARM-based Apple A-series-powered Macs – August 27, 2014
Intel-powered Macs: The end is nigh – August 4, 2014
Intel’s Broadwell chips further delayed; not shipping for most Macs until early-mid 2015 – July 9, 2014
Apple will inevitably drop Intel for their own A-series processors in the Mac – June 26, 2014
How long before Apple dumps Intel from MacBook Air? – June 26, 2013

73 Comments

  1. The question over offering Macs with only one mfgr’s processor versus 2 different ones is “how much money do you save?” versus the complexity cost of having 2 different ‘chips.’

    I truly wonder if you can justify making a new line of Macs on a new processor and saving say $50 bucks per machine and having then a new line of Macs.

    1. Apple has to continue chewing up its supply food chain to grow profits, so improving profitability with their own PC processors and mobile wireless chips is inevitable.

      But making their own processors has many other advantages:
      – Better battery/power optimization
      – Better optimization for display, SSD and other tech
      – On chip enclaves for fingerprint and other security
      – Better control of product update timing

      And I also believe that once Apple starts making PC processors comparable to Intel, they won’t stop their. They will be much more aggressive and focused than Intel has been recently on whole product optimizations that involve processor advances.

      in other words, at some point Intel’s PC chips will be as inferior to Apple’s PC chips as their mobile chips are now.

      1. Because Cupertino is not delivering maintainable Desktop OS anymore.

        The quality declined over the years while profits grew, same story like Redmond, because “Ballmers” show up in different shapes.

        Some things they all have in common:
        • they are lousy on stage
        • they generally worry about numbers
        • they are not really playing around with their machines

        But who cares?

        Do you?

          1. thatwouldbeif is probably indicating that he sees Cook & Co. are not keeping up the performance of the prior team.

            In some respects I think that is correct.

            When you become “the big boss”, you really don’t have time to delve into the use of the Alpha/Beta versions ‘next version of the OS.’

            That means Apple ships with more undesirable bugs and quirks. That means many of us experienced users won’t run new OS releases until the 3rd update when most bugs and apps work right on the new release.

            I can agree that Apple can keep advancing its chip design for the iOS devices, and that prototyping for trials could have a good effect on Intel prices. Intel doesn’t want to lose a big customer like Apple.

    2. Who’s looking forward to having to trash all their existing OSX-for-x86 apps for new OSX-for-A-series app software? Not me. I’ve got 1000’s of dollars tied-up in OSX/x86 software.

      Hopefully Apple would allow for a ‘classic mode’ like they did for the migration from PPC-to-x86?

    3. But what if Apple were able to source x86 chips elsewhere? And what if that other source were for sale? Apple could be the manufacturer of their own chips.

      (For those not following me, thinking only Intel can make x86 chips, look up a bit about AMD.)

    1. Just replace the word “Low” with “Lower” and it makes more sense.

      Apple doesn’t have a religion on price. When they can make lower priced Macs that maintain their standard of quality/price, they will.

      If/when they do, it will be a blow to Intel and Microsoft’s profitability, and Google’s strategy. The more businesses adopt Macs, the more they will adopt iOS over Android.

      1. I am in when it comes to blow the shabby things out of the ballpark, I am all in, but:

        Wall Street.
        These filthy stained and decadent money miners will squeeze that company so good, I want to put all my money in that game.

        Squeeze me Wall Street, I am a bitch.

        1. More third-grade reasoning on display. You know everyone on Wall Street? You think it consists of no individuals? That thinking allows for genocide (you are a collectivist). Apparently Wall Street hasn’t stopped Apple from making lots of money, so not only is your viewpoint asinine, it is materially incorrect.

      2. Next blow to Google will be standard anti advertising and anti tracking technology built into every Mac and every iOS device. Then watch Google’s profits nose-dive. Especially if Apple can get MS on board with it and I bet they can.

      1. Yes, Adobe will spit Apple sauce, having to code for another CPU. That’s why they push CC.. Quark… Why? Autodesk is the only company stepping up to the plate and innovating on Apple platforms. I think they won’t have a problem, maybe frustrated, but they will come through.

  2. It’s certainly possible that MacBook Air could end up with an A-series processor that could give excellent battery life. I’m sure Microsoft will make a big thing out of the A-series processor not being powerful enough to run desktop applications fast enough or something like that. I know the pundits will have a field day saying Apple made some huge mistake.

    1. Here the thing: As Derek points out elsewhere in this thread, it is essentially impossible to create a version of OS X that runs an an A-series chip that will run existing applications natively. (Please ignore MDN’s takes to the contrary – they are clueless.) So, you have to do either Rosetta-style on-the-fly translation, or run stuff like Intel’s APIs in emulation. These activities will keep the CPU VERY BUSY – so there goes your battery life.

      Like Derek, I am getting very tired of having to explain this every time the subject of an A-series Mac comes up and MDN doesn’t explain why this is moronic.

      1. You don’t need Rosetta-style on-the-fly translation.
        With LLVM, they could translate x86 into the LLVM interim code, then to Ax code. With that you could reach almost native speed. With Apple owning processor design AND LLVM, the best is yet to come.

          1. You are both right. Xcode can emit both ARM and Intel code but also LLVM could be used to convert already compiled Intel apps from any source to ARM.

            In that second scenario, you could install an Intel app and when it was first run a translation would occur. A very small number of apps would break due to non-standard assumptions about their own code files, but most would continue working and at full speed.

            1. ” A very small number of apps would break due to non-standard assumptions about their own code files, but most would continue working and at full speed.”

              By most, I’m assuming you mean Mac-app store only apps?

  3. I call B.S. An low cost A-series Mac might sell to frugal home and small office users, but hardly to The Enterprise.

    To begin with, they want Macs that can—if necessary—run proprietary software on Windows at native speed, which requires either an Intel processor or some sort of emulation (which would require an A-series processor that doesn’t just match Intel speeds, but greatly exceeds them). The same problem would apply to all existing OS X software: it would not run except in emulation. Applications that are still being actively maintained and that are written entirely in well-formed Swift or Objective-C on Xcode could be recompiled, but a lot of existing programs use Intel-based libraries that would be a real headache to update. Custom software written for businesses would be particularly difficult to update to a new processor family.

    Do we really think that The Enterprise is going to embrace a computer that can’t run Microsoft Office?

    1. You are missing the point that selling A-Series Macs does not mean discontinuing Intel Apps.

      You are also missing the point that Enterprise is picking up iOS devices that cannot possibly run Windows so the idea that all devices must run Windows is simply bunk.

      If some part of an enterprises business is served by iOS, having the ability to cross compile to a Mac without a major rewrite (just GUI changes for the most part) is actually a very nice option when a laptop form factor would help.

  4. “The iPad Pro is the clearest expression of our vision of the future of personal computing.” – Tim Cook

    Based on that, I believe the iPad Pro is the “low cost” Mac. Multi-touch devices, supplemented by keyboard or pen are the future for Apple.

    1. EXACTLY.
      Mac: NO.
      iOS device: YES.
      Just like we have now, already.

      For Apple to rewrite OS X to run on RISC would be an absurd waste of time and money. Apple would have to reproduce ALL the Intel CPU APIs for RISC and incorporate them into Xcode. That’s absurd and Intel would most likely NOT be pleased.

      1. “Intel CPU APIs”

        What does that even mean? APIs are merely a front end (interface) to the libraries (or frameworks). For instance, I use the same Foundation APIs for both Mac and iOS development. APIs have nothing to with which CPU architecture you’re targeting.

        1. Start your studies here:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instruction_set

          Then proceed here:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Application_programming_interface

          Note in this article how APIs can access hardware support, such as Intel x86 CISC CPU support. *DING*

          And example: Dual Core and above Intel x86 CISC chips offer virtualization support. Figure out how that can be provided on an ARM RISC CPU. I dare you.

          I’m being extra patient tonight, apparently.

          1. LOL… I just wrote an iOS app that displays the hardware architecture (ISA) that the app is running under…

            When I run it on my actual iPhone 6 it says. “ARM64V8”
            When I run it in the iPhone 6 Simulator, it says, “X86”

            How can the app be running in native X86 code unless the entire OS including the APIs are as well? And for that matter, why in the hell does Springboard, MobileSafari, Settings all show as separate native X86 processes run I run Activity Monitor?

            And as far as your virtualization example…

            http://www.arm.com/products/processors/technologies/virtualization-extensions.php

            But I don’t see how that has anything to do with I’m talking about, hardware specific technologies like that are handled by the kernel and abstracted away from the OS. Kernels are generally written in architecture specific code.

            1. I know what ISA and API stands for. Probably – and obviously – more than you do. Perhaps you should read up on modern OS design and abstraction. The hardware sits at the bottom, the application stack is abstracted a level (or two) away from there via the core OS which contains the kernel.

              OS X (and iOS) have been based off of the same version of Darwin since iOS 8. Prior to that, “Mac” OS X was a year behind. Which is why a lot of iOS features eventually made it “back to the Mac” — remember that statement by Tim Cook?

              EVERYTHING that sits on top of Darwin is completely hardware independent – which means it uses Darwin to access hardware dependent resources, a.k.a. KEXTs (Kernel extensions). That’s what those are for, just as all drivers before them in any other OS.

              ISA = Instruction Set Architecture
              API = Application Programming Interface

              And please, since you’re so knowledgable… explain why when running my app in the SIMULATOR it reports X86 and on my iPhone it’s ARM?

  5. It would be a full-fledged Mac OS X running on an Apple A-series processor,” Manness writes.

    TOTAL RUBBISH.

    I’m not going to start the discussion of exactly why again. Just know that this is utter nonsense. You can’t run ‘full fledged OS X’ on RISC chips of any kind including A-Series chips. NOT GONNA HAPPEN. It’s ignorant to think otherwise. Sorry!

    Read about RISC vs CISC, especially with regard to x86 CPUs versus ARM CPUs. Just don’t bother me about it.

    Soooo sick of baseless, ignorant rumors.

    1. MacDailyNews Take: Certainly Apple has OS X running on A-series processors in their labs.

      NO THEY DON’T. Not even possible.

      iOS: Yes, obviously.

      OS X: Utterly dependent on CISC technology, including Intel APIs. That’s the fact of the matter.

      Mystery Son-of-OS-X: Yes, it’s entirely possible to run Darwin OS (aka XNU kernel) on ARM CPUs. But it will NOT be OS X. Not possible.

      1. You are absolutely right, Derek. I don’t know who writes these reactions for MDN, but they obviously haven’t the faintest clue how the technology works. As C++ jokes, the only thing that could run on an A-series chip natively would be OS X RT – and how did that work out for Microsoft? A Rosetta-style translator would chew up far too many processing cycles and effectively rob an A-series Mac of any power savings. A full-blown emulator would be worse. And without these kludges, an A-series Mac has no software base.

        What gets me is that this discussion has taken place in the forum a zillion time and yet MDN never seems to learn from it.

        1. I was chatting earlier today with Xennex1170 today about what amounts to technological complexity being beyond a lot of people’s understanding, leading to the concept of a techno cognoscenti priest class versus the average human masses, and why it’s important to at least try to translate tech down to street level understanding.

          I’m lucky in that I had a head start in techy stuff all the way back to writing BASIC on a terminal in high school, circa 1974. (Figure out my age!) Then at Cornell U and Kodak I was able to dive right into digital imaging, DOS and Mac technology. I also have the knack for all things gizmo, passed along from my grandfather.

          Meanwhile, acting all elitist is entirely common among techno-geeks. I’ve always hated that I strive to be otherwise. But when a subject is bombarded with ignorance over and over again, such as this OS X on RISC baloney, I vent.

          1. My first computers (that I owned) were Commodore PETs/CBMs and TRS-80s. I wrote my own database software in BASIC and stayed up all night when I got my first copy of VisiCalc that ran on a Commodore. I had an IBM XT for a while, and then traded for a Lisa 2, that I later lobotomized to create a MacXL. My first true Mac was a Macintosh II. That was a great many computers ago…

          2. Give me a break with this “I’m greater than though” attitude…

            I first learned BASIC in 1981, then went on to learn and program in Pascal, C, C++, 6502 assembly, 8086 assembly, 68000 assembly. In college I worked in the computer lab with DOS, Windows, Macs and Unix systems. I assisted students with everything from Photoshop to Excel to C programming to AutoCAD. I maintained the two Mac labs and even taught a class on HyperCard. In the early 90’s I moved onto web design and later programming. Taught myself Objective-C and now moving onto Swift.

            I like to tinker with electronics, love to work on cars and wood working. I like to bake, cook, and garden. I can do carpentry, plumbing, and electrical. All I learned on my own.

            ..but so what?

            I also know that Intel’s CPU’s are not true CISC designs (they haven’t been since the P6), they have a CISC front end that gets broken into micro instructions that a RISC core can then execute. The CISC-ness is kept around for backwards compatibility. Apple would not need to produce code with CISC instructions as there is no legacy code to remain compatible with.

            1. LOL

              You’re like an old dog that refuses to learn anything new. There is absolutely no modern OS that is completely tied to a single CPU architecture and to believe so is just completely ignorant.

              Again, Today… OS X (Darwin) compiles to ARM and x86. Furthermore, developers can compile their apps to LLVM bit code and upload them to the app store where they are then translated and optimized for the target device… this includes, CPU, GPU and ISP and any other processor Apple has included now or will include on the future.

      2. What are you carrying on about? OS X started on the PowerPC, so please explain how OS X is dependent on x86-64 and can never go back?

        And you do realize that iOS currently runs on both ARM and x86-64?

        1. Where are we today: OS X running on CISC CPUs from Intel. This happened in late 2005, 2006. We’re now up to 10.11.0, specifically running on Intel CISC x86 chips with ALL the current software caught up, no Rosetta to allow backwards compatibility.

          OS X is now CISC dependent. Going back to RISC requires taking ALL the Intel CISC APIs and writing them into Xcode to run on RISC. Does that make any sense? NO.

          Does iOS run on x86? NO, except in emulation within Xcode. How can it do that? Because RISC doesn’t HAVE any of the Intel APIs. iOS apps don’t REQUIRE any Intel APIs. Everything is written in code, nothing is taking from the CPU with regard to APIs.

          Could iOS run on its own on CISC chips? Yes. But why Apple would bother, beats me! That’s not the target CPU. What’s the point?

          That’s the end of my chatting about this subject. My points are made and entirely valid. Go do your own homework if you don’t get it yet.

          1. Derek, I usually find your opinions extremely well thought out but you are making blatantly incorrect claims on this one.

            THE ONLY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RISC AND CISC IS HOW INSTRUCTIONS ARE ENCODED. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH OS LEVEL CAPABILITIES OR LACK THERE OF.

            I personally designed the whole ALU for a RISC processor including that portion of the instruction set.

            1) Intel’s chips are not successful because they are CISC, they are successful because Intel controls a widely used instruction set and its marketshare allowed it to pour more money into processor designs and fabs than its competition. But now Apple and Asian fabs are getting scale and sales comparable to Intel.

            1) There is nothing about RISC that prevents a desktop or even server OS from running fine.

            3) iOS is just as sophisticated as Mac OS. Applications are often limited, to limit battery life, but that is not a reflection of the underlying OS which as complete multi-tasking, and every other advanced OS feature.

            3) Most code written for Intel does not actually depend on Intel. This is because most code is written in C or higher level languages such as C++, Objective C and Swift without any processor assumptions. So most code can be recompiled to ARM via X-Code without any changes.

            4) Low level libraries that are specifically optimized for Intel will of course need to be updated or emulated. But most third party low level API’s such as BLAS already have cross platform implementations.

            Derek, you are just plain wrong.

            1. I don’t even think the misunderstanding even goes that deep. Can OSX be written for ARM? It absolutely can. The only thing preventing it is just them doing it. Will current applications execute on top of that stack? Current applications will never have to as long as the developer can download the latest version of Xcode at the time and recompile with the “ARM” button clicked. Of course that ONLY works for applications that are built with Xcode, but the vast majority are.

              I’ve followed this topic for awhile now, not from a will they or won’t they perspective, but just from a “could it happen” view. And, while I’ve seen a lot of indicators that might make the situation more or less likely, there are VERY FEW voices that say it’s impossible. Even some of the strongest articles “against” always end in “while it’s possible, I just don’t think they’ll do it.”

        2. The current implementation of OS X is dependent on Intel APIs and hardware functions at the chip level that are part of its CISC architecture. Could you create a version of OS X that ran on an A-series chip? Sorta, but no existing OS X software would run on it – it would be Apple’s version of Windows RT, which was a complete flop for Microsoft. As I’ve written in two other places in this thread, you have to do either Rosetta-style on-the-fly translation, or run stuff like Intel’s APIs in emulation. These activities will keep the CPU VERY BUSY – so there goes your battery life.

          1. I am not arguing the fact that current Mac applications cannot run on an ARM version of OS X. And yes, there would be a shortage of applications, but most apps (in the app store) would just require a flick of a switch and a recompile.

            I am saying that any architectural differences would be handled by the kernel and abstracted away from the rest of the OS. This is proven by the simple fact that the core OS (Darwin) currently runs on both ARM and X86 – they share the same code and it’s compiled for both (actually it’s compiled for X86-64, ARMv7 and ARM64v8).

            In very simple terms, Xcode compiles down code (C, C++, Ocjective-C, Swift) to LLVM byte code. That byte code is then optimized for each target ISA (X86-64, ARMv7, ARM64v8).

            You honestly don’t think Apple maintains 4 completely separate code trees (OS X, iOS, tvOS, watchOS)? They all definitely have different distribution branches, but the code is mostly the same – obviously with the exception of UI and UX code and resources.

            1. You are absolutely right. Apple has handled more difficult transitions so I don’t know what Derek’s or other people’s issues are (besides ignorance).

              The fact iOS is simply a variation of Mac OS and is already a fully modern 64-bit OS with modern process and memory management ought to be a clue.

              Mac OS on ARM will be a vastly simpler transition than Motorola->Power PC or PowerPC -> Intel were.

    2. I think you’re looking at this upside down, OS X running on an A-series chip doesn’t need to be compatible with OS X running intel chips, it needs to be compatible with iOS software running on A-series chips. Apple will produce laptops that run a new version of OS X that can be operated via a mouse, keyboard etc with full multitasking finder and dock file system, but this software can be used in two scenarios, the first will be in iPad mode and the second in desktop (laptop mode). There are more Apps available on the iOS App store than are available for the Mac. For A-series laptops there will be absolutely no need whatsoever to be compatible with current intel based Macs. All the convergence that Apple has been doing with its software over the past few years is leading to an A-series laptop that can do touch and can do desktop. Just a matter of time. The RISC CISC compatibility argument is mute and irrelevant.

      1. Agreed that the CISC and RISC difference is irrelevant.

        But Mac OS and iOS are already variants of the same OS optimized for mobile vs laptop/desktop.

        It makes no sense to re-optimized iOS for a laptop. That is what Mac OS already is.

        I think people get confused thinking iOS = A-series chips and Mac OS = Intel, but Mac OS has run on three processor architectures and will run fine on A-series with a little work (that Apple almost certainly did long ago) once those chips have the performance Apple wants.

        1. My question is, if Apple does make an A-series laptop / desktop that runs Mac OS, how easy would it be to recompile apps that are not on the Mac-app store? Apps such Photoshop, Office 2016, Creative Cloud, etc.?

          Mac App store apps, I can definitely see being much easier to compile due to their nature and also being sandboxed.

          1. The same as it was with the switch from PowerPC to Intel. It really depends on the tools they use to compile their apps. Xcode is/was built to handle these transitions with the littlest amount of friction. That’s why it only takes a flick of a switch to target multiple architectures.

            A lot of people don’t seem to understand that once you have a framework in place natively, you can efficiently process and translate assembly code from one architecture to another, this is how Rosetta worked which was based off work from Transmeta Corp. which took any code and on-the-fly translated it to X86. Apple could very easily include a processor in an A-series chip that did the translation from X86 to ARM.

            As it stands now, all code in Xcode is compiled down to a LLVM byte code and then optimized for whatever architecture the developer is targeting, even if it’s multiple architectures – and that doesn’t just include CPUs, it also includes GPU, ISP, DSP and anything else Apple throws at it.

  6. A heading from one of yesterday’s news reads: Microsoft’s Surface Book sells out in 5 days!!!
    I believe Apple has to have an A-powered Mac and I believe that it will arrive with the arrival of the A10 processor. A year ago all my students had iPads now they work with the Surface. Many would prefer the iPad, but it doesn’t run OS X – they need applications that runs under OS X!!!
    I believe the A10 will be a pure 64bit processor (it will not be able to run 32bit applications) and this will limit its usage, but not more than most students can live with it. Unfortunately, I believe Office 2016 Mac is a 32bit application and this could be a problem, but Apple most face the reality that the Surface is picking up momentum everyday and Apple has to react accordingly. We need an A-powered Mac no later than the arrival of the A10 processor- please Apple.

    1. Or an Intel powered iPad perhaps would be more logical from that point of view, market and the competition, depending upon who’s argument is fundamentally correct above of course, though that would be something of a failure of the overall plan of course if they did an about turn.

    2. In the same story they wonder “Is it because of strong demand or weak production” and come to the conclusion that it’s more than likely weak production.

      They didn’t make many and they sold out. That’s not really a call to action. Plus Microsoft is now directly competing against their partners, so if they are taking ANY money in the near term, it’s likely from Dell or HP.

  7. How about a super A10X+ with 4 or 6 cores, 32GB of ram and super GPU running iOS 11+ and emulating OS X, and Windows, and Linux. My 2010 MBP with a dual core i5 is likely less powerful than the A9X that will be in the iPad Pro, and it does a good job of running Paralles / Windows 7. The A10 series will likely be on par with Intel laptop chips, or better, so the processing power will be there to run desktop apps next year. I am imagining both computers, and iPads with Apple’s A chips outrunning most Intel chips soon.

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