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. 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.

  2. 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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