For years, rumors have swirled that Apple would dump sloth-like Intel and transition to ARM-powered Macs with Apple-designed processors. Late last month, Apple supply-chain uber-analyst Ming-Chi Kuo wrotes that Apple plans to release a Mac with an Apple-designed processor in the first half of next year.
Apple’s home-grown ARM processors will replace x86 Intel chips as the main CPU of our Macs [is] a prophecy that was reinvigorated last week when notorious and prolific analyst Ming-Chi Kuo added a timeline to the prediction: Apple will make the move in the next 12 to 18 months…
First, ARM-ing the Mac would create what I called a “rolling fork” across the seven different main models that make up the Mac line, from the Mac mini to the Mac Pro. Despite possessing an energetic and infinitely-funded magic wand, Apple wouldn’t be able to instantly replace each member of the line with an equivalent ARM-powered model… What would customers think of buying a new x86 Mac when the company just made it clear that it’s now past its sell-by date?
What happens when the “roll” finally meets the Mac Pro? …I had a hard time seeing ARM processors achieve such performance. I was wrong… Ampere designs and sells high-powered ARM chips that compete with the Xeon processors used in cloud servers. Ampere top of the line chips consume less power, about 210 watts, than a competing Xeon CPU needing as much as 400 wats, for about the same amount of computing power… [But] why invest in the development of such a high-end chip for Mac Pro’s low volume?
MacDailyNews Take: Start with the “MacBook” and make it as seamless as possible to users and developers. Play up the benefits, of which there will be many, for some examples: True all-day battery life, universal apps that work across iPhones, iPads, and Macs, etc. Release an ARM-powered Mac Mini and maybe even an iMac a short time later. During the next 1-2 years after the initial launch, work to move all other Macs to ARM. Possibly use Ampere for high-end ARM processors for the Mac Pro. Then, once the efficacy has been proven by the initial batch of ARM-based Macs, rip off the bandaid, and release all new ARM-powered Macs all at once.
Now, the question is, does that seem doable? Again the question is, “What happens to sales of Intel-based Macs?” Do they fall off a cliff like sales of PowerPC Macs during the last transition? Is there some way for Apple to make Intel-based Macs not seem like, or even be, a dead end?
Obviously, there are many questions, but if the benefits to users from moving Macs to ARM are clear and compelling, and the changeover is executed well, Apple-designed ARM-based Macs could lead to greater sales than ever before!
We’ve been anticipating ARM-based Macs for quite a long time now and we can’t for the the process to begin!
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
Apple has been, for years, building strength in the enterprise via BYOD and the rise of mobile which Apple ushered in with iPhone and iPad. “Compatibility with Windows” is not nearly as important today as it was even a few years ago… We expect to see Apple begin the ARM-based Mac transition with products like the MacBook and work their way up from there as the apps are brought over to ARM via Xcode and as the rest of the world continues to throw off the Microsoft Windows shackles into which they stupidly climbed so many years ago, lured, wrongly, solely by Windows PC sticker prices. – MacDailyNews, June 19, 2019