No, Apple won’t build A-series ARM-based Macs

“Apple did a marvelous job migrating macOS from Motorola 68000 chips to Power PC and then to Intel x86,” Robin Harris writes for ZDNet. “With the amazing success of Apple’s ARM-based A series chips, speculation arises that they will do it again. But that misunderstands the dynamics driving Apple’s business.”

“There is simply no technology or marketing reason for Apple to migrate macOS from x86,” Harris writes. “I’m certain they could do it, but without a good reason, why would they?”

“Apple’s long game is to grow the iOS business, and let customers decide which platform they prefer. Apple has been gradually making iOS more capable, and now iOS 11 can finally replace notebooks for many users, which for me came with the iOS 11 Files app.,” Harris writes. “Apple has no reason to abandon Intel, so they won’t. And as the upcoming iMac Pros and the new Mac Pro arrive, we’ll see why. Intel’s many-core chips can do the heavy lifting that Pro users require, and that very few consumers need today.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Perhaps Apple is content with the situation but two quotes fro two Apple CEOs are tough to ignore:

I’ve always wanted to own and control the primary technology in everything we do.Steve Jobs, October 12, 2004

• 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

41 Comments

  1. Yes. Just like Steve got tired of waiting for IBM to make newer PowerPC chips, the new Apple is tired of Intel’s ever slowing “tick-tock” production schedules. They are at the mercy of a company that puts its own needs first. That is totally fine and justifiable for Intel, but their customers (Apple among them) may have to meet their own needs using alternative methods. Apple is Intel’s only customer with the money, capability, and yes even the need to do this. Its coming — sooner than later.

  2. Technical reasons apart If I have to choose from a cheaper and more powerful Arm-Mac option that is not 100% compatible with what I need I will still pick an Intel-Mac until everything is right. As most high-end users can’t trust first generations. Stability and reliability first. Then we need all important options and the scalability. It is not only if Apple can produce a powerful Arm-CPU for the Mac but if they can scale to the performance and options from a 16 or more Intel core chip, as those are current Intel options.

    If not, the Mac will be fragmented for years, it will create confusion and Apple will still have to support the Intel-Mac. And many new users may need to migrate to an Intel-Mac when he/she needs more demanding computing or options not available on an Arm-Mac.

    Its been done in the past, but precisely it is the past and it requires a very transparent transition today, almost perfect as this market is very mature now.

    For the price reason with this generation Intel started to add more cores to all i3, i5, and i7 CPUs at the same price point while AMD is creating more pressure to lower the price and offer more performance.

  3. They already have a duel CPU setup in the MacBook pros. One arm cpu, one intel cpu. It wouldn’t be a big leap to put a more powerful arm chip in there and start offloading background processes to it (checking email etc); would meaningfully improve battery life.

    i think this is the route they will take, the mac will evolve away from intel, process by process.

    1. I don’t think the Mac will evolve, Apple will simply continue to make Awhatever faster and faster. As Intel continues to slip in the mobile sector, Apple’s chips will outperform using similar apps on iOS across the board.

      You either stick with slow (but compatible with virtualization and your old apps) Intel, or you go with iOS. Those Pro’s that stick with Mac will be left with lesser powered machines than iOS 🙂

  4. Good reason?
    1. intel is dead
    2. If you’re already producing chips that may outperform Intel why bother with them and “their roadmap” and expensive price tag?
    3. Intel chips like most of the Arm chips are designed for the widest possible computer design, Apple needs one focused solely on the Mac.

    There are many more reasons but it’s been obvious Apple would ditch Intel eventually.

  5. Back in the days of macs running the g4 and g5 chips Apple faced the legacy software code issue and as much as performance per watt drove apple to IBM native code vs ports from another architecture is the real deal here

    When apple had someone code properly for the RISC based G chips we mac users got some real power out of our machines but when the code was just a port of an Intel app, man did we mac users suffer bad

    It was a huge stumbling block in pro apps with years of legacy code and for gaming alike

    Apple with the advances in IOS and what not have managed to get a lot of native development going in xcode and so on but running mac Os on anything RISC means we mac users suffer again with poor non native app code performance.

    Probably be ok for general usage. Like first iMac intels that had powerpc apps run under that “emulator” they bought at the time but for pro usage, no.

    1. Right. And as time marches on, desktop machines become even more like trucks than cars, and trucks continue to be powered by diesel. There won’t be any electric trucks anytime soon.

  6. Apple migrated the CPUs to x86 (CISC) because of the roadmap vs PPC (RISC). That is what Steve Jobs said.

    There is no reason Apple could not make it happen if they see fit to do it. The chip design team they have has the chops to make it happen.

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