‘Hello Again’ means Apple ‘A’ series-powered Macs

“This week Apple plans to introduce new Macs to an aging lineup and the invitation to the October 27th event was a simple ‘Hello Again’ card; white text, black background, partially covered Apple logo,” Wil Gomez writes for Mac360. “The original Mac was introduced with a simple ‘hello’ written in cursive, way back in 1984. ‘Hello Again?’ It’s new Macs. But maybe something else. Perhaps a Mac with it’s own CPU inside instead of chips from Intel.”

“Let’s think thinner, faster, lighter for the MacBook Pro plus some kind of Magic Toolbar with Touch ID built-in, perhaps a speed bump for the iMac, maybe even some USB-C ports in the old MacBook Air and a lower price tag,” Gomez writes. “What else could come from Apple’s ‘Hello Again‘ show? ARM-based Apple A10 Fusion-like CPUs in the MacBook Air and the Mac mini.”

Gomez writes, “This would be a great way to introduce a far less expensive Mac line without devaluing the the value of the more capable MacBook, MacBook Pro, iMac, or Mac Pro, all of which can be made faster with new Intel CPUs inside.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote just after Apple’s invitation was delivered, “The use of ‘hello’ by Apple (previously used to introduce the original Mac, the original iMac, and the iPhone) is significant and signals that this is more than a typical Mac event.”

A few more quotes:

MacPad.MacDailyNews, February 21, 2013

Now, does it make more sense to be smearing your fingers around on your notebook’s screen or on a spacious trackpad (built-in or on your desk) that’s designed specifically and solely to be touched? Apple thinks things through much more than do other companies. The iPhone’s and iPad’s screens have to be touched; that’s all they has available. A MacBook’s screen doesn’t not have to be touched in order to offer Multi-Touch. There is a better way: Apple’s way. And, no Gorilla Arm, either.

The only computers using Multi-Touch properly, using device-appropriate Multi-Touch input areas are Macintosh personal computers from Apple that run OS X (and Linux and can even slum it with Windows, if need be) and iOS even more personal computers (EMPCs), namely: iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and iPad mini.

Note that none of this bars a “MacPad” from production. Any iOS-based iPad would become a high quality display (possibly still “touchable,” but likely not due to the reasoning stated above) when docked into a “MacBook” (running OS X, and providing keyboard, trackpad, processor, etcetera). Such a convertible device would negate having to carry both an iPad (car) and a MacBook (truck) around. They’d be one thing, but able to be separated into two, each providing the best capabilities of their respective form factors.MacDailyNews, May 4, 2013

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

Anyone in the market for a 12.9-inch device that’s an OS X-powered MacBook when docked with its keyboard base and an iOS-powered iPad when undocked?

Illustration from Apple's hybrid Mac-iPad patent application
Illustration from Apple’s hybrid Mac-iPad patent application

— MacDailyNews, October 7, 2014

SEE ALSO:
Three new Mac laptops appear in Russian regulatory database ahead of Thursday’s ‘hello again’ event – October 24, 2016
Apple’s A10 Fusion chip ‘blows away the competition,’ could easily power MacBook Air – Linley Group – October 21, 2016
Ming-Chi Kuo: Apple to unveil new 13-inch MacBook, 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pros at ‘hello again’ special event – October 22, 2016
What to expect from Apple’s ‘hello again’ special Mac event – October 21, 2016
What Apple’s new MacBook Pro might have learned from iPhones and iPads – October 21, 2016
It’s official: Apple sends invitations for ‘hello again’ event on October 27th – October 19, 2016
Get ready, Apple’s new Macs are finally set to arrive! – October 19, 2016
All-new MacBook Pro, refreshed MacBook Air and iMac, and more coming at Apple’s October 27th special event – October 19, 2016
Apple plans to launch new Macs at special event on October 27th – October 18, 2016
Apple’s A10 Fusion chip miracle – September 20, 2016
The iPhone’s new A10 Fusion chip should worry Intel – September 16, 2016
Apple’s remarkable new A10, S2, W1 chips alter the semiconductor landscape – September 15, 2016

55 Comments

  1. I think Apple is going to announce products that will not be immediately available. I think it will introduce new MacBook and MacBook Pro but I also hope the announce something along the line of an iMacPro or MacPro. I am currently in the market for said machine. The MacPro in it’s current form does not represent good value and Apple knows it.

    1. “The MacPro in it’s current form does not represent good value and Apple knows it.”

      Boy is THAT an understatement. In my opinion there should never be a moment when that situation should exist. Even though I know that’s easy for me to say.

    2. I think there will be some updates to their desktop lines. They almost have to at this point. I doubt they will spend much time on it. They will probably show off updated FCPX too. This will most likely be at the beginning of the show and they will quickly move on to the MacBooks. That will be the highlight of the show, and the only thing the press will talk about. Watch the show, re watch it, then visit Apple’s web page to get any information on desktops. I am sure Tim will squeeze in IBM’s new TCO study at the top. Probably at the expense of desktop time on stage.

    3. I want a new Mac Pro as well (an UPGRADABLE machine no less)

      looking at the issue at another angle: the MP is built in USA, can Apple afford to abandon building Macs in USA? the political pressure to continue is great as Tim Cook keeps having to defend his position of jobs in USA (latest hits is during the presidential campaigns). In a TV interview a few months ago when Cook was asked about USA manufacturing he NEVER mentioned the MP, probably because he knew it was so out of date, which probably galled him. So here’s just hoping for political reasons (all those ‘ban’ made in China protests etc) T.C will keep MP USA alive (but NOT the Cylinder please, some UPGRADABLE TOWER would be better…)

      1. I grant that the cylinder was not an ideal shape. But had they chosen to they could have made it upgradable using a stacking configuration. The cylindrical cards and housings would have been more expensive but it could have been done and Mac Pro users would have gladly paid the difference. I love Apple but sometimes I just can’t fathom what they’re thinking.

        Bring back the CHEESEGRATER!!!

    1. The A10 variant for Macs (A10M) could include 8 or more cores at higher clock speeds (compromise on power efficiency and heat production) to increase performance. And Apple’s multi-core GPU embedded in the A10X already kicks 4K/SUHD butt as-is. But Apple could add some more GPU cores, too.

      Who knows where this might go. Your skepticism is premature.

      1. Perhaps. Architecture changes need a WWDC.. Because other then all the little app store apps all the big boys would need to re-code for yet another apple processor flavour of the year. Or.. just say F it and keep releasing for workstation class powerhouses running linux and windows.

        1. agree, it wouldn’t make sense to announce an architecture change without giving the devs lead time to make changes. they at least give the summer to update from iOS9 to 10 and from 10.11 to 10.12

  2. That was my thoughts as well….I hope not. Or if they do have a separate line of them along side the intel versions. Moving away from intel and loosing Windows compatibility I think is a mistake if true.

    1. Traditionally, the “Hello” thing has accompanied significant changes of direction rather than incremental upgrades. It seems quite plausible that Apple could be about to announce A-series CPUs in Macs.

      I’m convinced that the A series Macs will be a range that sits alongside Intel Macs. Those who need Intel Macs will pay the extra for the Intel CPU, while those who use only applications written for Macs will be able to enjoy cheaper and more power-efficient Macs using A-series CPUs.

      I’ve never needed Windows compatibility and would buy an ARM powered Mac as soon as the applications that I use are available for ARM.

      1. The problem with dual architecture options is that Apple has been overrun by beancounters and can’t seem to evaluate each product on its own merits, only by percentage of overall revenue.

        Look at the Mac Pro. They generate the least total revenue in a quarterly report even though per-machine margins are high, because it’s a niche market. And even though that niche is important, Apple has ignored it for 3 years (and arguably longer, if you consider that the Mac Pro form factor is unsuited for proper pro work in many ways).

        Even Macs in general have suffered, with no major updates to most families in over a year. If we have A-processors in the least expensive offerings, which traditionally are what sells the most, the beancounters can say “hey look, the Intel line isn’t selling well” and convince the execs (if the execs aren’t the very shortsighted beancounters in the first place) that not enough customers are interested in Intel compatibility, leading to either higher-end Macs languishing, or cut altogether.

  3. I’m convinced it is going to be a big announement. THey are obviously channeling other historic announcements. Add that to the time the Mac has languished plus the effort Apple is known to put into their products. I’m expecting a lot.

  4. That was my thoughts as well….I hope not. Or if they do then have a separate line of them along side the intel versions. Moving away from intel and losing Windows compatibility I think is a mistake if true. Also the amount of time between upgrades is another sign of major changes coming.

  5. iPhone and iPad with A10X. Able to plug into the new Thunderbolt Display. 256Gb storage option on these devices allows them to become the primary computing device.

    Walk around with your primary and only computer in your pocket. Full size apps when you plug into the screen at home but work as normal iOS variants when screen unplugged.

  6. Switching processors brings up the issue of getting old code to run on new processors. How does Apple pull off a processor switch once again? Is there a version of Rosetta that translates x86 to ARM instructions?

      1. No actually. You still don’t understand the difference writing for CISC CPUs and RISC CPUs. It is far from as simple as you pretend. I keep pointing the way and if you don’t go there you end up spreading nonsense about this situation.

        1. As a software engineer and previously a RISC processor ALU designer I disagree.

          Yes, there will always be complications through any transition, but I disagree that this is an impediment or would stop Apple from doing whatever is most compatible with where they see computing in 5-10 years.

          A focus on the product results in growth for Apple down the road, even as it often generates pain for users in the short run.

          On the technical side, most code can just be recompiled. Not all, but most as in 99.5%. Of course the 0.5% that must be rewritten is often very foundational/complex low-level processor/device specific code. But it is in the minority.

          I would see it as Apple’s job to provide as much low-level transition support as possible (BLAS libraries, make real gurus available for developers, etc.) while making most code just recompile seamlessly.

          Apple has the advantage of owning their whole tool, software, OS and hardware stack, and even an optional software store for handling sales, updates, etc. They won’t move until they think everything is lined up right.

          And I agree with the Intel hold outs, Apple will continue shipping Intel Macs. It will be the low end that gets A-series chips first where performance and Windows compatibility are not issues for most people.

            1. If you actually read what he wrote, he agreed that most of the code could simply be recompiled. Rather, a small percentage of code would have to be rewritten. As someone who has ported applications across architectures (same OS), I agree with his assessment and would suggest that arguing this point simply demonstrates that you don’t know what you’re talking about. Generically speaking there could be endian issues to deal with, but even that isn’t likely. Your CISC vs RISC comments are pretty comical. If you’re writing in Swift, how exactly do you expect to be impacted by this? If you’re writing in assembler, it would be an issue, but then you’d need a complete re-write anyway.

            2. To be clear, I’m not agreeing with KingMel’s position that something like Rosetta wouldn’t be needed. It would. Rather, I’m laughing at your explanation as to why it would be needed. Perhaps you might want to rethink your reasoning before commenting further. Hint: CISC vs RISC really has nothing to do with it.

            3. Thanks for making factual arguments. I agree with them.

              Yes, porting low-level code will take work. Apple will no doubt take that into account and work to make that as easy as possible. Their may be some emulation, but certainly tools to help with that.

              But don’t expect Apple to hold off from what it sees as a long term advantage (if it does see owning its Mac processors as advantageous) due to the short term pain for a minority of developers.

              Product comes first for Apple, not developers. They have truly screwed developers many times. Developer pain is not hight on the priority list for for Apple as they have demonstrated many times.

            4. Yes, I agree with your position that Apple will do what Apple thinks is best, regardless of developers needs, etc. I don’t believe there is much of a technical barrier for Apple at this point. There are other things to consider though. Chip development is expensive. Apple certainly “can” build a better chip than Intel based on ARM’s instruction set. I don’t think that’s in question. The question is about benefits.
              It makes sense for Apple to do custom silicon for their iPhones because the iPhone is Apple’s “bread and butter” and because Apple ships products in ridiculously high volumes with these chips. Especially when you include iPads, iPod Touch, AppleTV, etc. The volume of Mac shipments is very low by comparison and would hardly justify the cost of a custom CPU, etc. Further, the ability to run Windows apps (boot camp or virtual PC) has proven to be an overall benefit for Apple in selling Macs. It’s not clear that creating a custom Mac ARM based CPU would be worth it.

            5. Derek, I would rarely disagree and would almost never be read to you.

              But f#ck you. I have designed chips. I know the difference between RISC and CISC far better than you probably do as have designed instruction sets for both.

              Your faceless ad hominem attack is not like you, so I look forward to more sensible discussions in the future.

              1) RISC to CISC instruction set conversion is easy. Their are profound differences in how they pipeline and branch predict, etc., for performance but the actual translation for equivalent functional behavior is EASY when conversion is from C or another higher language in both cases.

              2) x86 is not just CISC but CISC laden with enormous design debt. It is actually very inefficient in terms of silicon area compared to what the same CISC functionality would have if designed in modern times.

              3) RISC by definition has very little design baggage as there is so much less to complicate.

              Get a f@cking education on RISC and CISC – by which I mean actually go through the process of designing instruction sets and fabbing processors. I HAVE.

            6. And when you communicate a view BACK IT UP with objective points. I continually see you making CISC > RISC comments without the least bit of factual information.

              You are wrong to start with. But when you don’t back up your points objectively you are not even wrong.

            7. Derek, I apologize for coming on strong, but not for strongly disagreeing with you from real experience.

              Normally I agree with just about every view you express.

            8. As I posted elsewhere today, I’m going to sit back and snooze through this nonsensical subject into the future. Have fun watching nothing happen, for the reasons I’ve been jabbering for a year now, and more… 💤💤

  7. I am not looking forward to transitioning to a new cpu architecture again. And, I don’t think that is what is going on. I think it more likely that we will see a new device. One that is between the ipad and a macbook. I believe MDN has said that these two platforms will continue to merge/blend over time.

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