Macs may need ARM processors to survive

“The heyday of personal computers is past. Those happy years up to 2014 when every shopping centre had outlets wanting you to leave the store with a new Mac or PC have sadly gone. According to Statista, desktop PC shipments are expected to decline from a worldwide total of over 150 million in 2011 to less than 80 million by 2023,” Howard Oakley writes for Eclectic Light Company. “As a successful vendor of personal computers, Apple faces a stark choice: innovate, or watch its sales slide inexorably into the sunset.”

“Take a look at recent hardware benchmarks for Apple’s latest models and one thing is obvious: iOS devices are now delivering as good and better performance than bulkier and more expensive Macs,” Oakley writes. “Using the Geekbench suite, for example, this £/$/€ 5000 iMac Pro with its eight cores of Intel Xeon and costly Radeon Pro Vega graphics card isn’t that much faster than one of the current iPad Pro models costing from £/$/€ 769 with its Apple A12X Bionic system-on-a-chip. Compare their graphic performance using Metal 2, and the iPad is slightly faster, with a benchmark of just under 18K compared with the iMac Pro’s 16K. The embarrassing fact now is that the hardware in Apple’s latest iPad Pro has CPU performance very similar to that of a MacBook Pro mid 2018 with a four-core i7 processor, and GPU performance which is already superior to almost any Mac.”

“Intel’s prices are also far from cheap… Then there’s the problem of Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities, and the latest, appropriately dubbed Spoiler,” Oakley writes. “Apple’s own systems-on-a-chip could be the answer to most if not all of these issues.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: It is inevitable that Apple free themselves, and the Mac, from third-party processor vendors wherever possible.

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

Steve Jobs predicted the Mac’s move from Intel to ARM processors – April 8, 2019
Intel execs believe that Apple’s ARM-based Macs could come as soon as 2020 – February 21, 2019
Apple’s Project Marzipan could mean big things for the future of the Macintosh – February 20, 2019
Apple iPad Pro’s A12X chip has no real rivals; it delivers performance unseen on Android tablets – November 1, 2018
Ming-Chi Kuo: Apple A-series Macs coming in 2020 or 2021, Apple Car in 2023-2025 – October 17, 2018
MacBooks powered by Apple A-series chips are finally going to happen soon – September 18, 2018
Apple A-series-powered Mac idea boosted as ARM claims its chips can out-perform Intel – August 16, 2018
Did Apple just show its hand on future low-end, A-series-powered MacBooks? – July 13, 2018
How Apple might approach an ARM-based Mac – May 30, 2018
Pegatron said to assemble Apple’s upcoming ‘ARM-based MacBook’ codenamed ‘Star’ – May 29, 2018
Intel 10nm Cannon Lake delays push MacBook Pro with potential 32GB RAM into 2019 – April 27, 2018
Why the next Mac processor transition won’t be like the last two – April 4, 2018
Apple’s ‘Kalamata’ project will move Macs from Intel to Apple A-series processors – April 2, 2018
Apple plans on dumping Intel for its own chips in Macs as early as 2020 – April 2, 2018
Apple is working to unite iOS and macOS; will they standardize their chip platform next? – December 21, 2017
Why Apple would want to unify iOS and Mac apps in 2018 – December 20, 2017
Apple to provide tool for developers build cross-platform apps that run on iOS and macOS in 2018 – December 20, 2017
The once and future OS for Apple – December 8, 2017
Apple ships more microprocessors than Intel – October 2, 2017
Apple embarrasses Intel – June 14, 2017
Apple developing new chip for Macintosh in test of Intel independence – February 1, 2017
Apple’s A10 Fusion chip ‘blows away the competition,’ could easily power MacBook Air – Linley Group – October 21, 2016


    1. I disagree. The Mac has been unacceptably maintained on many fronts, the Intel chipset is not the bottleneck. Apple doesn’t even get first in line for the latest chipsets anymore.

      Before throwing Intel under the bus, explain to everyone why Apple is incapable of updating its flagship Mac in over 6 years. Does Apple really believe there is hot demand for a trashcan with Thunderbolt 2 ports out there in the world? Mac Mini, which got annual updates before 2012, has been pushed to a ~4 year refresh schedule, skipping generations of Intel chips that could have kept it competitive. The next-to-useless single port MacBook is sporting a 2016 Kaby Lake processor. Is it Intel’s fault that Apple can’t keep up?

      MDN: stop already with the incessant ARM processor rumor mill. The problem at Apple is that they don’t care about offering Mac users a good value. Apple wants to be a utility company.

      1. “the Intel chipset is not the bottleneck”
        I know, right? People THINK that the Cannon Lake chips that Apple wanted to buy in 2016 never saw the light of day… and they’re right. BUT Cannon Lake has NOT been cancelled yet, so… it’s Apple’s fault they aren’t using them, plain and simple.

        “explain to everyone why Apple is incapable of updating its flagship Mac in over 6 years”
        Because it’s not important. 🙂 Apple could spend resources making the things that millions want to buy OR they could make the things that a percent of a single digit percent want to buy… kind of easy to see where the importance lies.

        1. “Intel is the past”. What does that even mean? Close to 100% of personal computers use x86 architecture chips from AMD and Intel for very important reasons.

          I suppose air water fire and food are all “the past” too but to be successful, a human needs it to thrive. Especially if that human runs a business that has significant computing demands. Nothing using Apple’s mobile chips comes close to meeting the existential needs of computing professionals at any price. You and Wrong Again can keep beating your drum, it’s not going to stop Apple from rolling out Intel powered Macs for many many more years … assuming Apple makes computers in the future years.

        2. Yeah, Danox, close to 100% of phones sold today are Nokia… wait, they’re not? You mean to tell me that market dominance is by no means guaranteed in tech? You’re directing me to look at 3Dfx that created a market and was then shut down in 2000?

          You make excellent points, Danox.

        3. I wasn’t the person at Intel that said what they would be releasing Cannon Lake in 2016… then 2017… then 2018… then 2019… then… 2020 maybe? Because what’s coming in 2019 won’t even be a consumer release…

          If claiming to release something and then repeatedly NOT releasing that thing casts a company in a bad light, then that’s fully on Intel.

      2. I’m no technical expert here, but I agree with Mike. Intel isn’t holding the Mac back, Apple is. I’d wager to guess that the desire to switch to ARM from Intel processors is driven much more by a desire to fatten margins for Apple than it is to provide a better product for customers. THAT is what differentiates Steve’s Apple from Tim’s IMHO.

        1. You don’t have to be a technical expert to see that Intel has seriously slipped in shipping the most important processor to Apple’s lineup, Cannon Lake, over several years. This is the main reason why Apple would be looking for alternatives.

          If Intel had shipped Cannon Lake on time, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

        2. If Intel had shipped Cannon Lake on time we would be having a different conversation for sure. Like why it’s taking Apple so long to ship new Macs with the Cannon Lake processor in them. Trying to solder everything down and finding a way to keep those brand spanking new processors cool enough to run close to their potential.

          But since there have been delays to Cannon Lake, it gives Apple a pretty good scape goat to blame.

        3. Oh, Intel is NOT to blame for Apple dragging their feet on the desktop. Intel does very well in the desktop and server markets. Apple cares less about those markets and BOY does it show LOL

          Mobile? Yeah, Intel sucks.

    2. So, then name a Mac update (ANY series of machines) within the last three years that Apple started shipping new/updated machines within 2 weeks of Intel announcing new/updated chips. I’ll wait — we’ll all wait — for your answer. Give us all the concrete proof that Intel is holding Apple back — that Apple is sitting waiting on Intel to ship CPUs.

      Apple has shipped “new” Macs with Intel chips almost a year after the Intel chips in them started shipping in quantity. That’s absolutely not Apple being held up by Intel. It’s Apple sitting on its ass and shipping something very much delayed and behind the rest of the industry.

      Should we go back to the days of the 604/604e where Apple had to backstep because the suppliers could not ship what they announced? No.

      But, Apple should ALWAYS be ready and able to ship new Macs within days (a couple weeks at most) after Intel is shipping new chips in volume. Other, much, much smaller companies do it routinely.

      Why can’t Apple do it? — The reality is that Apple could do that. They just CHOOSE not to do so.

      1. “within 2 weeks of Intel announcing”
        Before it’s announced counts for “within 2 weeks” right? 🙂
        This was released in LAST year’s MacBook Air, but the chip wasn’t updated on Intel’s product pages until after it’s release.

        Sorry to keep you waiting LOL!

        AND, I should add that ANY company in 2016 that had built a system around the Cannon Lake processor that Intel assured them would be shipping on time… would have had to mothball those designs… and they did!

        1. Dell, HP and Lenovo all start shipping Intel’s latest processors within a month of being available. Apple can take more than a year.

          What the hell is wrong with Apple?! Apple has the most expensive PCs on the planet and they ship with last year’s technology. FTS! Fire Cook!

        2. Apple is a woefully incompetent company where the Mac is concerned, that’s what’s wrong 🙂 I figured that much was crystal clear by now.

  1. I’d settle for a reasonable refresh/update rate. better yet, a Mac computer that is customer upgradeable. Seeing as how Apple’s management appears to want to continue the nearly crimminal neglect the Mac lines.
    Yes, it is you Pipline Timmy who I am looking at.

  2. A note from crazy town: Apple once had a white plastic aesthetic. They’ve been in aluminum mode for over a decade. I posit that Apple is on the edge of a business-wide revamp. The aesthetic will be new (liquidmetal?) and visually arresting, the hardware will be new with A-series (and peripheral) chips throughout, and will extend to the Apple Car, which will be the flagship of it all. This may happen all at once or quickly over a year or two


    Apple Mac Pro: 1945 days and counting since the trashcan abomination was foisted onto users. What chips did it use, Sandy Bridge? Since then, Intel has delivered Ivy Bridge, Haswell, Broadwell, Skylake, Kaby Lake, and Cascade Lake chips in its Xeon family.

    No amount of ARM mobile processors are going to match the power and flexibility of current generation Xeons. Apple is merely 5 generations behind. THAT IS THE PROBLEM.

        1. Superlatively said! While others dance around and ignore the problem, you nailed all of it in six simple words. Take a bow… 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

  4. Give it a rest Always Wrong. We are tired of your revisionist history. Apple never delays anything do they? Shall we play gotcha with isolated examples?

    Nobody mothballed 2016 computer designs because Intel announced on July 15, 2015 that it was going to produce 3 generations of 14nm chips, a change from the ticktock schedule pundits had expected to go on forever. Cannon Lake was promised for first availability 2nd half 2017. Intel had units at CES 2017 and mass production was fully online in 2018. That is real 10nm chips, not fuzzy Korean math.

    Meanwhile Apple has consistently been somewhere between 1 and 5 chipset releases behind what other PC makes offered. If having the latest chips isn’t important to Apple, then they should have the good sense to offer a Mac that users can fully upgrade.

    The Mac Pro is the prime example. It’s a dead end design. If Apple could do better with its mobile chips, why hasn’t it been able to do anything more impressive than a weak ass iPad “pro”? No ARM chip at any price can do what a desktop computer does, even a pathetic thermally constrained workstation 6 years obsolete.

    1. LOL Intel releases a i3 Cannon Lake processor, yup, a Core i3 is EXACTLY the processor I want in my high end MacBook Pro! You’re absolutely right, there’s nothing preventing Apple or any company from using a Core i3 in a high end laptop….

      But, don’t take my word for it, here’s an article from 7 days ago which isn’t from an Intel fanboy 🙂

      Because of this delay, AMD is eating Intel’s lunch in the consumer space.

      Has Apple skipped a lot of desktop processors? ABSOLUTELY! That CANNOT be debated, there’s voluminous information out there. But it’s ALSO true that Intel has FAILED in delivering a high performance Cannon Lake processor. Of course, I could be wrong, and you could have access to information about the mass produced currently shipping i7 Cannon Lake, but I doubt you have that info because I actually search prior to posting 🙂

      1. Wrong As Always: I suggest you read the Macbook review on Techradar. Core i3 would be a significant step up from the old netbook chipset Apple installs in the 12” Macbook. Asus has no problem speccing current U series chips and a decent keyboard while charging half the price. Unfortunately Apple could never find the time to update its ultraportable in the last two years or adjust its price into the realm of reality. Is Apple too busy with its keyboard replacement service? Maybe even update its Bluetooth to the current version or add back Magsafe power? You surely blame Intel when Apple lets its computers rot for years between updates, now 3rd party retailers are finally discounting like crazy because the hardware is so uncompetitive. But of course TR feels compelled to give Apple a passing grade because it’s snappy enough for web apps.

        The total value of the Mac is embarrassed by competition that has no problems using the latest high quality Intel processors. You haven’t made any case why you hate Intel so much, nor why Apple is so slow to update every thing else on their increasingly antique Macs.

        1. Well, the Core i3 I mentioned? I figured you’d google it (I even provided a link) but it is NOT shipping for consumer use. It was shipped only so Intel could tell shareholders that “it shipped”, but, in reality, there’s no major manufacturer that’s shipping computers to consumers with a Cannon Lake Core i3 processor. (Look up what’s shipping in the Asus… Cannon Lake? No.) As far as shipping for consumers, they have SAID 2019… but they also said 2016, 2017, and 2018… soooo don’t blame me for not really putting a lot of faith in their words where mobile is concerned 🙂

          It seems that the only difference between you and me is I’m not an Intel fanboy. I don’t hate Intel, their desktop and server class processors wipe the floor with just about anything else out there. But you’re not even talking about Intel’s inability to deliver the oft-promised Cannon Lake anymore, just “but there are other reasons why Apple sucks!” And, fine sir, those are all true.

          And, JUST as true is the fact that Intel can’t seem to architect their way out of a 10 nm paper bag 🙂

          But… you know, maybe THIS is the year! I’ve purchased a new pepperoni hat so I can eat it when Cannon Lake ships.

  5. Agreed. As a Pro User since the beginning of Apple Computer, I was in total disbelief. How about 3D rendering and editing full-length feature films. Absolute RUBBISH!…

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