Apple A10-powered Macs on the way? Decoding Apple’s WWDC 2016 media invitation

“If you think Apple’s been slow with Mac innovation you are not alone,” Mark Reschke writes for T-GAAP. “Outside of last years MacBook release, the entire lineup of Macs is well beyond aged, smelling less like a rose and more like limburger cheese.”

“Given Apple’s overall history, the company has methodically moved from aggressive innovator under Steve Jobs, to caretaker under Tim Cook. Thankfully, Apple’s press invitation to their June 13, worldwide developers conference gives new meaning to the word hope,” Reschke writes. “Surprisingly, the messages hidden within the invitation do not appear all that cryptic, so here is to breaking down what is hidden within the Terminal-esque media overture.”

WWDC 2016 Invitation
Apple’s WWDC 2016 Invitation

“Apple appears ready to take the wraps off all-new Mac hardware at WWDC, and with it a new OS X, soon to be renamed macOS to match the other operating systems in Apple’s line up,” Reschke writes. “Prepare for Apple to usher in macOS written for their new desktop class A10 Macs.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: iOS devices and OS X Macs inevitably are going to grow closer over time, not just in hardware, but in software, too:

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

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. And that’s more than likely for the best. Those who depend on Intel will always need Intel. That’s not a bad thing, Apple will lose a bunch of customers. For the vast majority that are performing general computing tasks, there’s nothing that an Intel processor provides that can do any of those basic tasks any better than any other processor.

      1. If the A-series is *only* at their extreme low-end macs, that might be acceptable. The overhead of supporting both chipsets may tempt Apple to migrate even their mid- and high-end Macs to A-series too.

        That would be the end of Macs in many development shops, including the one I work for. I just got permission to get a replacement Macbook Pro (it’s an otherwise mostly Windows company), but if the next time I’m due for a replacement they’re all A-series, I’d have to sacrifice speed and memory to emulate environments instead of running virtual ones at near-full speed, and that would be absolutely unacceptable.

        1. The A series is only up to A9 now, what’s to say they don’t create a processor, say the A100, that’s as powerful as the stuff they’re getting from Intel, but even less power hungry?
          They’re already building chips, building more powerful ones shouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility.

          1. The problem is that your hypothetical A100 chip could be as fast as the latest Intel and have the same number of cores, but that doesn’t matter for this type of development because *emulating* an Intel will be much, *much* slower than running virtual machines natively. I remember the PowerPC vs Intel years… PPCs may have been more powerful, but you were lucky to get half the real-world performance of an Intel CPU when emulating it.

            Now multiply that by 5, which is sometimes how many VMs I run at the same time for my work. Not happening.

            Performance-per-Watt doesn’t matter if this A100 is running at 100% with full fans most of the time when you’re emulating multiple Intel CPUs.

            Not to mention Apple would lose all the customers who buy Intel Macs, just to put Windows or Linux on it. Apple doesn’t care how many people run MacOS per se, they care how much hardware they sell.

            1. This only means that it wouldn’t be the right machine for you. This is meaningless to the vast majority of their customers who browse the web, check Facebook, do a little word processing, maybe a few other programs here and there. An A100 or whatever with super long battery life would be great for most users. Your use case is a niche within the context of the overall market.

            2. Which just goes back to my original comment: “The overhead of supporting both chipsets may tempt Apple to migrate even their mid- and high-end Macs to A-series too”

              Their mid- and high-end customers are NOT those who merely browse the web, check FB, or word process.

              Pros are a “niche” the same way people buying $60K+ cars are a “niche”, they’re the ones that buy the expensive, high-end stuff. To not cater to their needs is to admit that “make it up in volume” is a valid long-term business strategy. Apple was smart enough, years ago anyway, to realize that these pros are who the non-technical people ask for advice when buying traditional computers (i.e. not iPhones and iPads, which were consumer devices to start and had no pro-level offerings).

    2. Before you make that decision, better see what the A10/A10x offers. If they were to make that switch I’d imagine it would go something like this:

      A10/A10x mobile (iOS devices and MacBook)

      A10/A10x desktop (MacBook Pro and entry level iMacs and Mac mini)

      A10/A10x server/professional (27″ iMacs and Mac Pro)

      If they were to make such a transition, the A series processors would have to give more benefits than they lose similar to the Intel switch. So if the A10 desktop and pro/server were equivalent performance wise with the i7 & Xeon or maybe faster, and emulation/virtualization wouldn’t be painful, and it used less power…. Or as Steve put it 10 years ago “better performance per watt” They’d do it in a heartbeat. Plus it may allow them to lower costs sine they control the hardware. And if they have a Rosetta type solution like last time it won’t be difficult, especially if it’ll run x86 code. I think going back to pure risc chips is probably the right idea since Intel is hitting the wall with performance similar to the late 90’s when the G3/4/5 chips blew the doors off of the pentium II/III/IV net burst chips. Idk this is all speculation, but if they were to do something like that there is defienitly a plan.

      1. Maybe. I remember PPC. And how the Intel/AMD systems on Linux and Windows always ran much better. PPC let mac give you the illusion of power though… and a nice warm heater for your office. Sure for a few months Apple could say their G4/G5 was faster then a pentium. But we all know how long that lasted.. then they finally had to give in.

        1. That lead lasted from 1998-2004. That’s when Intel decided to take some ideas from their cross licensing agreement with amd and create the core achetechture. At the the end of ’05 apple switched. But the IBM G5 and POWER achetechture was and is more powerful than anything Intel built then, and can build now.

          But performance per watt is the important metric. Hence the switch. Everyone remembers that’s the P4 had diminishing returns as they cranked up the speed, and that net burst was a disaster.

          And yes, applications that weren’t truly cross platform ran far better in the Cisc chips P2, 3, 4. But applications that were PowerPC ran far better on that platform. So your example of pro tools is great, but you could also throw in avid, premier, and the early versions of final cut…. But in raw compute power a pure RISC chip is faster than a Cisc chip at a lower clock speed, simply due to the way it processes instructions.

          For example: the Powersystems S822LC is much more powerful than th equivalent Intel based system. So, if Apple went back to a pure RISC achetechture with modern enhancements, i.e. iOS devices…. They’ll probably be ahead in performance.

        2. The Dogs Motorola and IBM refused to see the future, when Jobs asked for smaller better cpu’s, where are they today hardware wise, and now Intel is doing the same thing, move on Apple.

          1. Let’s not forget when the geniuses at HP bought Compaq, they sold the only real asset the company had to Intel:

            The Alpha processor, back then, the most powerful processor in the market.

            Intel buried it, but took a lot of the Alpha and put it into the new Pentiums. The Alpha was pure RISC. I wonder how much of today’s Pentium is RISC….

      2. Worked in a big org that had top of the line Windows and Macs in the 90s.. the Intels (HP) blew the pants off the macs for everything. G3/4/5’s were never that amazing, outside of a few very specific tasks. We had Top of the line G5s at the time, and HPs. HPs ran circles around the macs running the same Software (Adobe, Autodesk, Avid etc..) In fact the only thing that worked better was Pro Tools, but that was only because Digidesign had only recently introduced a windows version at the time.

        1. I think you may have to think laterally but in that last sentence or two lies the answer to the reasons behind your conclusions and one of the reasons behind Apple moving to Intel to alleviate the ongoing third party software problem they faced due to an unwillingness from those third parties to dedicate time and effort to tune to their software to the platform. Apple of course while it could solve that other major problem it had with the RISC hardware itself by scaling up the power of the chipsets rather than inefficiently down (a similar problem Intel has now ironically), would still face that problem of applications working inefficiently on that hardware for the most part.

      3. “the A series processors would have to give more benefits than they lose similar to the Intel switch”

        That’s just the thing, A series processors don’t have to provide any additional benefits. They just have to run OSX software comparable to current Intel offerings. If iMovie compresses as fast, Numbers calculates as fast and Safari renders as fast, that’s all that’ll matter for the vast majority of new Mac purchasers.

        1. I agree wth that assessment for most users. However, there are many users who still think they needs cross platform software ability. And for pro users they would need someting equivalent in performance or better to make the switch. Also Apple would have to support that Rosetta solution for a few years during the transition like they did last time until 10.6.8

    3. X86 is dead. Intel has said so. Windows sales say so. Desktop sales overall says so. Why are some people so delusional not to be able to wrap their heads around it.
      It only makes sense all the way around for Apple to move to their own chip. One that they spend heavily on already. One that they are smart enough to ditch it before the bottom falls out on X86 completely and are left with their pants down.
      Get over it already.

    4. If it means emulation and companies having to transition applications again like they did with the last major chip change, then yeah, no more Mac dung for me. My MBP is the 2nd latest and good for what I need to do. I can dump Safari. I can survive with Scrivner and Adobe prods for anything else I do professionally.

      And other companies are about to kill Apple TV so I can cut the cord as planned in January.

      Eventually I’ll lose all Apple iCloud media products (687 movies and triple that in music [already lost a quarter of music due to the big iTunes change a year ago, and now some films are disappearing].

      But then I’m entering twilight years and heck, all I’ll really need in a few years are a shaded porch and rocking chair…to watch the world burn thanks to idiots like Cook and his Leftist friends.

    1. The only thing that’s stale is the endless clarion call for “more unicorns! Apple is boring!” from the terminally clueless who couldn’t engineer a mousetrap, never mind a market disrupting new platform.
      The ‘me me’ generation should get a clue.

      1. I think it is more about the other innovation happening with other companies. The gap between Apple and others are closing and while no company can continually throw out “unicorns” every year, they need to provide impactful value otherwise they are susseptible to lost customers. Take Samsung for instance. You have seen a strong move to Apple because there was a stretch where they were becoming very stale in design and output. A lot of cool stuff happening outside of the Apple Ecosystem.

        1. “A lot of cool stuff happening outside of the Apple Ecosystem.”

          Like what Oculus Rift?

          It’s funny how many Apple “fans” don’t understand what Apple is about.

  1. Looks like the ‘date strip’ w/ the forward slashes in the WWDC graphic is a reference to a method of ‘commenting out’ words/sentences/documentation in executable programming code. So possibly a major Swift/Xcode overhaul or release??

    1. Lots of people talk about either/or, but Apple can provide both. There are plenty of people who have no need of Intel compatibility.

      I’ve never owned a Windows PC ( and have had computers since the mid 1970s ), therefore I don’t use any applications that specifically require an Intel CPU. For many users, an Ax powered Mac would do everything that they need and could be a smart-looking, reliable and affordable option.

      Having said that, I do think that Apple should also offer Intel Macs for as long as Intel can keep developing CPUs that are sufficiently good. With the decline in the global PC market, it seems likely that there will be less incentive for Intel to spend fortunes on pushing the envelope of what might be possible.

      If Apple should start offering ARM based Macs relatively soon, then they will be building up expertise and encouraging developers to write for the new CPU, while allowing users to migrate. If Intel drop the ball and ARM overtakes them, Apple will already have skated to where that particular puck is heading and if it doesn’t happen, Apple will still have a very attractive and viable alternative to Intel powered Macs.

    1. When the Apple Mac chip is released, it will blow Intel out of the water. They will not release it until it meets that metric. And Apple will create it specific to Mac and iOS without any of the crud that Intel injects into it to meet as many types of Windows rigs as possible.

  2. A series chips have also been specifically designed for phone/tablets. so they don’t have to take into account a lot of things regular computers need to do. But they could add all that in I suppose.

  3. Why does everyone think innovation spit out at warp speed under Steve Jobs watch? It was just as slow and methodical as the current regime now. And Jobs had the benefit of more obvious device markets to capitalize on aka “easy pickin’s”.

    We’ll never know how Jobs might’ve really coped in a post-iOS device introduction world. More than likely the idiot One Note Repetitious Joe doomsayers out there would say “He’s lost his touch and Apple’s doomed” if he had.

    1. I think U nailed it! comparatively cheap, cloud connected portables with Ax (Apple get you cloud shit together!). I think this should be interesting, next 2-3 years!

  4. An Apple Surface RT? What a stupid idea.

    A-series chips are simply never going to be idealized for power users. NEVER. It is first and foremost designed for battery-limited portable devices. For any serious power computing, input power limitations are nonexistent and therefore the best chipset need not be hamstrung by unnecessary constraints.

    No matter what Apple is able to accomplish with an A-series chip in the near future, Intel already has something that is less efficient which will blow it out of the water.

    You know, because some people actually do need to drive trucks.

    1. So, Apple has been able to best all the other mobile chip manufacturers since the 2010 release of the A4…. What makes you think they can’t beat Intel at their own game since they do that all the time? The PA semi team has designed the most efficient and simultaneously powerful mobile chipsets in the world, you don’t think they can do that for desktops if they wanted to?

      You’re talking about a company that bested every phone manufacturer in the world, and every computer manufacturer several times when they all said “pc guys aren’t just going to walk in here and figure this out”

      If there’s one thing we know as Apple customers it’s that we are at the forefront of the future, and accept change. If you think Apple hasn’t been figuring out how to beat Intel at their own game for the last decade you’re out of your mind… That’s Apple’s mo, partner with someone until they figure out how to beat them, and then release a product to beat them.

      1. I don’t recall Apple ever saying that they couldn’t design a better chipset than Intel.

        Of course, that’s not what Apple is doing, is it? Apple doesn’t make Broadcom communications chips, nor LG displays, nor Samsung hard drives, nor thousands of other Mac internals that “operations genius” Cook long ago decided to outsource.

        And it’s not just design — look at the market demands. Let’s not forget that ~90-95% of the world’s professional and productivity software still runs on Intel chips. So even if Apple somehow found a way to replace Intel with a lower cost or higher performance/value CPU, Apple would still run headlong into the problem of degraded system performance because of emulation and/or virtualization complexity.

        Then look at manufacturing capacity. Despite the constant IP theft, Cook still relies heavily on Samsung for A-series chipset production. He hasn’t located a foundry with the capacity to replace Intel’s chip production with any other performance CPU. Nor has he investing in internal manufacturing despite sitting on a cash hoard larger than any other manufacturer by far.

        So why would you imaging that Timid Tim would be bold enough to change the status quo of the Mac?

        I would be more impressed with Apple right now if it just kept up with Intel’s chipset release schedule, or at least drop prices as its hardware falls behind. Apple does neither. Apple seems to no longer care about offering the best value to users. It thinks it has enough Mac users totally addicted to Ive’s unreadable washed out GUIs and the now passe’ thin aluminum box shapes. One would believe this if one spent his entire time in echo chambers like this. Go into the real world, however, and it’s a multi-platform world and the Mac is seen as a good OS that is suffering from bad hardware planning and horrible anti-user design choices. It’s no longer appealing to buy Macs when as a pro you just end up being forced to install Windows to get the software and external hardware you need for your work, and then you find you paid twice as much for half the horsepower.

        I say put up or shut up, Apple. If you’re so great, show us with some new Mac hardware that offers better value than the competition. Until then, speculation isn’t worth the time. The Mac platform is not healthy and the A10 chipset isn’t a cure, it’s suicide.

        1. You seem to forget that Apple is dependent on Intel for the Mac platform. If they run into chip delays then apple runs into system update delays. Kinda how that works….

          And my point is simple, no one expected apple to release a phone that was at least 5 years ahead of everyone else, no one expected Apple to release a mobile processor that was ~4 years ahead of everyone else with the A4, and no one expected Apple to then leapfrog the entire industry with a 64bit mobile chip. (Which no one still has been able to match) …. So, if they want to beat Intel? They’ll beat Intel if they’re not meeting apples requirements. They’ve been doing that since the 80’s…. Every partner they’ve ever had they have either figured out how to do it better and released their own solution, or they’ve moved to another partner who can fill those needs.
          Again, if y u don’t think there are chips in that lab that can run circles around the Intel family you’re nuts…. At this point it’s probably down to figuring out the virtualization/emulation issue, and I highly doubt they’d release something that wouldn’t be able to do that very capably.

  5. Apple has sold over 800 Million iOS devices. Those mobile devices will become your computer of the future. A computer that is always with you and will be able to connect to a keyboard and monitor.

    iOS is Apple’s grand plan for future domination.

    1. iOS is dead to me. If Apple thinks they will dominate computing with a walled garden approach practically reliant on the iCloud or other clumsy 3rd party datamining services for any file sharing, then they are in for a rude awakening. The day the Mac is neutered to become anything like iOS is the day the power users abandon Apple for good.

  6. I’m tired of all of this stuff about how Apple has become slow to innovate.

    The same thing could have been said about Apple before the iPhone launch. The iPod was its most popular product, and all we had were iterations in new colors and sizes; nothing bold. The Mac line was kind of what it is today; great machines, but just incremental innovation.

    So it’s really the same ol’ story, it’s just that people can’t somehow refrain from criticizing Apple unless they come up with some new breakthrough product every month.

    “Prepare for Apple to usher in macOS written for their new desktop class A10 Macs.”

    Tech-Ignorance. Stupid meme of 2015 lives on in 2016.

    How intensely sad that tech journalism has sunk to this all time low. Utter FAIL Mark Reschke who writes for T-GAAP. Go read up on CISC vs RISC and hang your head in shame.

    And no, I won’t be going over the technology yet again in the comments. Been there, done that, sick of bothering. You either figure it out on your own or you don’t. Just don’t bother me with your ignorance.

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