Apple’s emphasis on security makes ARM-powered Macs ‘inevitable’

“Apple will offer Macs equipped with an ARM processor, the same silicon used in the iPhone and iPad, an analyst said, calling the move ‘inevitable’ because of the company’s emphasis on security and encryption,” Gregg Keizer writes for Computerworld.

If Apple truly wants to bring their security philosophy to their products in every part of the ecosystem, they must also do what many predict and make A-series processors for Macs… [Apple] has convinced me even more [that] A-series processors for Macs are inevitable. — Ben Bajarin, Creative Strategies analyst, Tech.pinions, April 19, 2016

“‘Secure Enclave sits in the middle of making all secure bits secure,’ said Bajarin. ‘The more I look back on that, it’s clear that Secure Enclave plays a much larger role than we have given it credit for,'” Keizer writes. “Bajarin didn’t limit his analysis to Secure Enclave, but instead pointed out the top-to-bottom control that Apple maintains over security on its devices. It crafts the A-series silicon and the Secure Enclave co-processor; it develops and maintains iOS: nothing is off the shelf, and it relies on no outside party.”

Keizer writes, “If security is at root a critical component of Apple’s strategy, Bajarin argued, it surely must expand from the iOS platform to the Mac.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Yup.

Think code convergence (more so than today) with UI modifications per device. A unified underlying codebase for Intel, Apple A-series, and, in Apple’s labs, likely other chips, too (just in case). This would allow for a single App Store for Mac, iPhone, and iPad users that features a mix of apps: Some that are touch-only, some that are Mac-only, and some that are universal (can run on both traditional notebooks and desktops as well as on multi-touch computers like iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and – pretty please, Apple – Apple TV). Don’t be surprised to see Apple A-series-powered Macs, either.MacDailyNews Take, January 9, 2014

There is no reason why Apple could not offer both A-series-powered Macs and Intel-based Macs. The two are not mutually exclusive.MacDailyNews, January 14, 2015

In order to build the best products, you have to own the primary technologies. Steve felt that if Apple could do that—make great products and great tools for people—they in turn would do great things. He felt strongly that this would be his contribution to the world at large. We still very much believe that. That’s still the core of this company.Apple CEO Tim Cook, March 18, 2015

Apple is a semiconductor powerhouse; expect the first ARM-based Macs to appear in 2016 – March 31, 2015
Apple’s blowout quarter predicted very accurately by same analyst who predicts ARM-based Macs – January 28, 2015
Five barriers that might keep Apple from moving Macs to custom ARM chips – January 16, 2015
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


  1. Keep in mind we’re dealing with Tim Cook, a guy so lazy he can barely brush his teeth.

    A guy so greedy that 16GB RAM Macs would not be out of the question.

    A guy who’s so inherently incompetent, he actually updated a completely worthless laptop, with a worthless processor and kept the same single worthless port… Oh yeah, but it does come in Cook’s favorite color, hot pink/rose gold!

    1. Apparently you’re actually a closet admirer of Tim Cook and especially his chosen sexual preferences. It’s okay, you can also come out now, you no longer need to peek out the ajar boudoir door. You no longer need to hide your true essential nature. We will judge you only as you yourself judge others. Uh D’OH!

  2. Boy, lots of Tim Cook haters here today. Who would you rather have, Steve Ballmer? Cook is doing just fine.

    Regarding the A chip, it is only a matter of time. As the A-series gets more and more powerful it will filter start to filter into the Macs. First while be the laptops where the low power consumption of the A-series is a real plus. iMacs will be next and finally the Pro.

    Apple likes to control the whole kahuna and running everything on the A-series allows that. It may take years, but it will be the end result.

    1. 84 Mac Guy: If you check out other posts being made here at MDN today, you’ll notice a fairly consistent collection of moronic comments. My guess is that one of Apple’s competitors is particularly ticked off and paid someone to play the fool around here. And fool they are.

  3. A series performance continues to rise. It’s power envelope has always been better than x86, that is why Intel was never used in iPhones or iPads. When the performance of the Apple book In the lab is better than the shipping MacBook, then Apple will release the new machine and let the market decide. Imagine it, paper thin Apple books with more than 9 hours battery life and a price point at or better than today’s machines. Faster performance at the things that stress today’s platform, graphics translation, media editing, sound editing, multi program multi session workflow…it will be great.

  4. A move to ARM would be a lot like a move back to PowerPC, except modernized and considerably sped up. I think it is a great idea. I have used some Intel Macs, but haven’t owned one since the PPC days. I love my iPad pro. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not anti-Macintel; I just would love to see Apple back in full control again.

    1. Full control, really? You are forgetting history. Motorola made the first Apple chips. Power PC came from the AIM alliance, and when they failed to produce chips faster than 2GHZ (Remember the no show 3ghz G5?) Apple went shopping again, and landed on Intel’s doorstep.

      That was ten years ago, and funny enough, after ten years we still don’t see the majority of CPUs rated above 3GHZ.

      OTOH, Apple does average about 10-13 years with any given chip producer, so maybe it is time for a change. OK, back on topic, Apple and it’s Macintosh computers has NEVER had full 100% control over their CPU chips, there has always been a third party manufacturer of the CPUs

  5. Maybe, but I think the biggest driver to have Ax chips on Mac would be the fact that Intel is slowing down, intending to now update its CPUs each 2 years instead of every year. That means less sales for Apple and a big incentive to switch to something else.

    1. This isn’t an issue. Where its basic product lines like iMac, MacBook and Mac mini are concerned, Apple has not been in any hurry to use the newest fastest just off the production line CPUs.

      Intel only updating every two years just means business as normal for Apple, WITHOUT the critics and tech pundits backlash of being able to comment that ‘Apple is lagging behind and failing cause it doesn’t use the newest chips from intel”

  6. Sure.

    #1) The encryption could be delivered by simply designing a co-processor into a Mac-specific mobo. No migration to ARM-based processors necessary.

    #2) Good luck with getting Intel to license Thunderbolt to Apple to use it with their own A-series. Let me know how that goes.

  7. On the one hand, that the most current Macs aren’t using the latest Intel chips tells us that we still don’t know how well Macs can perform with a good Intel processor inside. Still, while Motorola and IBM were actively and aggressively developing their PPC architecture, Mac performance was, from the beginning, of PPC (G3) until the very end of G5, considerably better than any comparable Intel-based computer of the time.

    With Apple writing highly optimised code for their designed-in-house processors, I have no doubt the A-series-based Macs would be outperforming their contemporary Intel-based PCs.

    Moving away from the Intel architecture would mean another massive migration (requiring the transitional period of architecture emulation layer, such as Rosetta was for PPC-to-Intel move), where developers would have to be dragged through this yet again. Last time this was done was over ten years ago (the longest period of platform stability so far); previously, it was about 6 years (System 9 to OS X), before that, about five (68k to PPC)… And this time around, we have by far the largest Mac user base ever. In other words, if Apple were to do this again to the developers, the developers would have by far the strongest incentives to come along. If Adobe, Microsoft, Quark and others found justification to do the move in all those prior migrations, it would be hard to argue in favour of abandoning the platform now that there are more than twice as many users as last time the migration was forced upon them by Apple.

    1. Wide brush strokes….

      Apple abandoned Motorola specifically because performance fell behind the Wintel boxes.

      Apple today has only two Mac models running Skylake chips, and one of those was released this week: a netbook that has inferior performance to Macs that are several years older.

      Bottom line: If Apple choses to abandon Intel, then it’s not doing so because of performance reasons. Intel performance with current chips would trounce anything that Apple currently offers by wide margins. A-series chips might offer better battery performance, but it would severely lag in all other areas. Just like G5 chips.

  8. If Apple does drop Intel and the mega-centralized processor model for microcomputers there may be a good reason. Intel just core-dumped a bunch of employees because they believe their role in the electronics world is changing. So if Intel will not provide mega processors to run PC’s ( the real meaning not the IBM product) who will step in to fill that void? Apple has already shipped OS’s that allow programmers to kinds blur the difference between GPU’s and CPU’s. What if a Mac shipped with 15 A-series chips and one CPU controller chip? This news brigs up a lot of questions with the possibility of exciting answers. A processor agnostic operating system that can fling tasks to any chip in the system that can crunch numbers would revolutionize HPC, I can tell you that.

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