Will Apple’s next-gen iPads be faster than Macs?

“Apple has added support for an ARM chip to macOS Sierra, igniting another wave of speculation that it may ship ARM-powered Macs to complement its ARM-powered iOS devices,” Jonny Evans writes for Computerworld. “The kernel release notes for macOS 10.12 tells us that the OS now supports a new ARM chip family, code-named ‘Hurricane’. This is likely to be a new Apple-designed processor, given that the A7 was called Cyclone, the A8, Typhoon and the A9-series Apple chip was called Twister.”

“This support in conjunction with Apple’s decision to cleanse apps running legacy code from the App Store is setting thoughts in motion. Techtastic observes: ‘Apple can easily make the transition to a different instruction set, for example, switching from x86 to ARM without all apps need to be resubmitted,'” Evan writes. “This makes it possible for Apple to introduce an ARM-based Mac capable of running existing Mac apps, or, indeed, launching an ARM-based iPad capable of running Mac apps in some form. Either way it eases any transition plans.”

“The new A10 Fusion chip is remarkably fast. It has quad-cores, two dedicated to high-performance tasks and two energy efficient cores to handle regular activity. Geekbench tests suggest iPhone 7 scores better on both single- and multi-core than most MacBook Airs; almost as well as a 2013 MacBook Pro and even beats the 12-core Mac Pro in single thread performance,” Evan writes. “One thing we can predict is that it will put a much faster version of the current iPhone’s A10 chip inside next year’s iPad Pros – and these processors will be faster than the ones presently used in current Macs.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote back in January 2015:

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

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

macOS Sierra code suggests Apple could dump Intel processors in Macs for Apple A-series chips – September 30, 2016
The iPhone’s new A10 Fusion chip should worry Intel – September 16, 2016
Apple’s MacBook Pro not likely to sport Intel Kaby Lake processors this year – August 16, 2016
Mac sales to grow in enterprise with new Apple A-series-powered Mac – October 14, 2015
Apple is a semiconductor powerhouse; expect the first ARM-based Macs to appear in 2016 – March 31, 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. Any new machine Apple creates will have to support third party profesional software with current stability or no profesional will replace their Intel/AMD Macs or PCs. And that is the most difficult part for Apple because it does not depend on Apple itself and there are lot of applications.

    Another possible implementation for an Apple chip for the Mac could be to create co-processors to speed up certain tasks and to keep adding feature support.

    Take Otoy as an example. They say they teamed with Imagination deliver a 10x increase in ray tracing performance per watt over the best GPGPU. This is for a video game render engine supporting Unity3d and Unreal but also for their own plug-in supporting 22 profesional applications.


  2. Look, this whole argument is folly. It’s about the software. Like it or not, the viability of the Mac relies on its ability to run Windows and Linux software. That software runs complex instruction sets, which ARM cannot. Period, end of story.

    Regardless of architecture or instruction sets, cooling is the key to allowing a chip to run faster. In a passively cooled mobile device, you’re going to hit a performance wall. A desktop machine doesn’t need to have such cooling limitations, and efficiency isn’t a limiting factor either.

    Macs have fallen dramatically behind the performance of the latest gaming and workstation PCs, because Apple has compromised its designs to be thinner and more fashion oriented. The reason the 2015 MacBook is as slow as an iPad is because it has no active cooling. That is a mistake that Apple has to correct if it wants the Macs to be viable going forward. Macs need to run CISC programs and they need to offer top performance in ways that matter to the high-performance computing crowd. ARM delivers neither for the foreseeable future. If Apple releases a Surface RT like Mac, then it will achieve the same result as Microsoft did — a pretty thin device that is useless and uncompetitive with the market.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.