Apple’s iMac Pro might be the first ARM Mac, but it won’t be the last

“In the latest in a long line of leaks lately, a recent report says that the upcoming iMac Pro will also include an A10 Fusion chip—the same processor that powers the iPhone 7 series,” Dan Moren writes for Macworld. “This is a shoe we’ve been expecting to drop for some time, and it’s fueled a lot of discussion of whether or not a Mac solely powered by an ARM processor might be in the offing.”

“I think it’s pretty clear that if this report is true—and the evidence is solid enough to believe it is—that this first Mac with an ARM chip won’t be the last,” Moren writes. “But at the same time, it doesn’t mean that Apple’s about to throw the x86 architecture to the side and put all its chips — if you’ll pardon the expression — on ARM.”

“The A10 chip in the iMac Pro seems to be relegated to certain specific functions, though we don’t know all the details of its responsibilities yet. Secure boot has been mentioned as one task, which would also have the side effect of making it harder to run macOS on unauthorized hardware. But the other prominent feature that the A10 apparently handles is “Hey Siri” functionality for the Mac,” Moren writes. “But this is all just the start.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Also, as A-series chips proliferate across the Mac family and they become intrinsic to macOS operation, the “hackintosh” will be relegated to history.

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

SEE ALSO:
Apple’s iMac Pro could include mobile connectivity for ‘always on’ theft protection – November 21, 2017
Why does iMac Pro have an Apple A10 Fusion chip inside? – November 20, 2017

20 Comments

  1. Makes sense. It’s not as if a computer is just made up of one chip, a hard drive and a screen. If a dedicated chip for a specific set of functionality is better then of course they should add it.

  2. Why would Apple use the A10 Fusion rather than the A11 Bionic? I suppose the design of the iMac Pro began well before the A11 began shipping in volume, but it still puzzles me a bit. However, it does not sound like the A10 will have all that much to do in the iMac Pro, so why not take advantage of it?

    1. Doesn’t Apple always use the previous technology component instead of current ones to everyone’s dumbfounded frustration for reasons known only to them? Then charging “yesterday’s technology at tomorrow’s prices.” I say this with love for all things Apple.

      I do think this idea of both ARM & Intel in the same machine but addressing different forward thinking purposes will help to differentiate the Mac from Windows further in a very good way.

  3. The current MacBook Pro has a risc chip in. So it wouldn’t surprise me that the iMac shouldn’t have the same thing. They must have some process for distributing tasks on different cpu architectures efficiently. This shouldn’t stop the hackintosh world. It will just make it a rather second rate experience. Which it should be.

  4. I’m surprised not one of the posters here has thought out a real possibility for the ARM chips in an iMac, or even include the MacBook Pro and Mac Pro.

    Once you have the A10 on board, you can run iOS entirely on board your Mac. That means you can have the entire App Store functionality at your fingertips on a Mac, no doubt including the ability to move data between the Mac OS & iOS.

    A Mac trackpad can be an iOS screen if you want it do that. on an iMac that might mean an extension on the right side which has the iOS screen instead of the “number keys.”

    I can guarantee Apple is thinking about what will be needed in 5-10 years.

    1. Me me me! We’ve chatted here previously about iOS on Mac. But the A10 is supposedly only given 512 MB of RAM. These days, certainly on a Mac, that’s a limitation. I.E. don’t expect much, if any, direct iOS functionality.

    2. It’s been discussed a million times. A hybrid Mac could be seen as an interim step to moving people to iOS permanently. If you have the MacBook Pro that allows for the screen to be detached and it then runs as an iPad, for instance.

      From an enterprise perspective it seems messy. From a computer enthusiast perspective it seems as if we’d be moving backward from the extraordinarily powerful macOS to the capable but very limited world of iOS.

      If I’m on a Mac what the hell do I need iOS for?

      This is where Microsoft’s Windows everywhere push has an advantage.

      1. If you are going to be truly competent in the next 10 years, you can’t avoid MS/Windows compatability one way or another.

        If it is going to be on Mac hardware, I believe the MacOS will have to run on Intel to run its best. If somehow Parallels lets it run as well as native, then maybe the Mac ARM processor could do it.

        I am betting Intel stays inside of Macs and having a fully functional iOS computer inside does several things including allowing phone and internet connections that are not required to use a wire or the insecure ubiquitous public WiFi.

    3. Except that my understanding is that one can already run iOS onboard through the Developer Suite (if one is an App Developer). Granted, having an A10 would make it native and consume less power, but that’s an enhancement of an already-existing capability, not a new capability. Similarly, to make something more popular than it already is.

      FWIW, I agree with your observation that Apple is thinking about what’s needed in the years ahead … but in counterpoint, this could also be as simple as providing the security features already developed for iOS, as well as being an anti-hackintosh step. After all, we all know that Apple has done extremely poorly in providing “Truck” hardware to support their power users.

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