Apple dumping Intel for their own chips in Macs is the company’s smartest move in years

On Monday at WWDC20, Apple announced an historic transition for the Mac from Intel chips to Apple’s world-class custom silicon. The upgrade will deliver industry-leading performance and powerful new technologies. Developers can already get started updating their apps to take advantage of the advanced capabilities of Apple silicon in the Mac. This transition will also establish a common architecture across all Apple products, making it far easier for developers to write and optimize their apps for the entire ecosystem.

Apple on Monday, June 22, 2020 announced it will transition the Mac to its world-class custom silicon to deliver industry-leading performance and powerful technologies.
Apple on Monday, June 22, 2020 announced it will transition the Mac to its world-class custom silicon to deliver industry-leading performance and powerful technologies.

Apple plans to ship the first Mac with Apple silicon by the end of the year and complete the transition in about two years.

Daniel Howley for Yahoo Finance:

It’s one of the most significant moves Apple has made in some time and should incentivize iPhone owners to switch from their Windows PCs to Macs.

Intel has hit a roadblock in terms of performance upgrades in recent years. The old theory of Moore’s Law, which states that the number of transistors on a chip double every two years, has long gone out the window.

The company sat on processors using 14 nanometer architecture for years before taking its steps to 10nm processors. Those 10nm chips finally debuted in Apple’s 2020 MacBooks, five years after Intel initially promised to launch the processors.

Apple’s own ARM-based chips for its iPhone and iPad, meanwhile, began using 7nm architecture for the company’s A12 processor, which was released in 2019…

if the ARM-based machines are able to outperform comparable Windows-powered, Intel-based systems, that would solidify Apple as the go-to machine for professionals in need of systems with serious horsepower… If Apple’s new systems live up to the hype, the switch to ARM-based processors will be the smartest move the tech giant has made in years.

MacDailyNews Take: While we’d hoped to see this transition a bit earlier, we’re happy to finally see the ball rolling!

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

38 Comments

  1. No more bootcamp on Macs.

    And Windows was conspicuously missing from the sparse virtualization demo. Being able to literally swipe between operating systems has become such a joy on a high end MacBook Pro.

    This is also one of the reasons that MacBook Pros are great for developers.

    Plus with no bootcamp, the MAC gets knocked out of high end gaming, just as it entered the arena.

    I’d finally gotten to where I only needed one powerful laptop for work and everything else.

    I’m worried I’ll be locked into the Apple Ghetto with Apple stuff, and back to having to buy Wintel machines for mainstream computing.

    Then again, maybe everyone will start moving to custom silicon ARM instruction set processors to keep up with Apple. Maybe.

  2. Oh please – “industry leading performance”. Have any Macs been manufactured with these new ARM chip so “industrial leading performance” ratings can be verified?How do we know (forgive the pun) apple to apple performance ratings to PCs? Nothing was presented at WWDC to show this “industry leading performance “.

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.theverge.com/platform/amp/2020/6/23/21296365/apple-mac-arm-processor-silicon-chips-performance-power-speed-wwdc-2020

    And how much will Apple raise the prices on these new MACs with the new ARM chips? Everything with Apple logo stamped on it costs significantly more than similar products? I doubt very much if these new machines will have any price reductions with “Apple Inside”.

    1. I agree. Personally, I think Apple’s chances of getting their ARM’s to outperform high-end Intel processors are slim to none. There is zero evidence that this processor change benefits most people. It only benefits Apple and Tim Cook’s pocket.

      1. Intel sucks … You mean AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X which Smokes any Intel chip. heck the main reason the MacPro is so slow is because of intel.

        AMD has TSMC (Taiwan) make its chips. The same TSMC that makes chips for apple. The same TSMC that is building a new factory in Austin. Apple won’t actual “make” their own chips but like AMD they will design the chips and have TSMC make them. So yes Apple/TSMC could easily make cpus that outperform Intel. Apple controls the total ecosystem and has the power to move their entire user base/developers to a new build.

        I think its insightful that Apple shows Autodesk Maya in their promo videos about new silicon. 3D render and simulation, like Maya, is a great bench mark test for raw CPU speed. Apple would avoid the topic 3D rendering if they didn’t expect competitive results.

        My Bet is on AAPL to 2 Trillion and beyond 🙂 Bank on it !!!

        1. Chip design and chip manufacturing are two different things and, in this case, they both fall short for Apple/TSMC.
          Apple relies on the ARM core which is a RISC processor which simply does not deliver the performance per cycle as an Intel processor.
          Compounding the problem is that TSMC is unable to get ARM processors running at the speeds that Intel delivers.

          Lower performance per clock plus lower clocks per second equals double lower performance.

          Furthermore, ARM has yet to reach the mega-core, high power regions where Intel delivers today.

          It’s a lose-lose-lose decision by Apple.

          1. “Furthermore, ARM has yet to reach the mega-core, high power regions where Intel delivers today.”

            Did you miss the comments here that a Japanese group chose to implement ARM in a supercomputer and that computer just won the ranking as the most powerful supercomputer in the world, by a factor of 2.8 times over the second place supercomputer and it also won all four workload metrics which is the first time that has ever happened.

            What was that you were saying?

          2. Wow, we’re back to the CISC vs. RISC argument? You’re about 15 years behind the curve. Got news for ya Jack, all CISC chips have RISC components and vice versa. There is no pure version of one or the other any more. I wouldn’t bet against THE MOST VALUABLE COMPANY IN THE WORLD.

    2. Why “industry leading performance” has been preordained? Did you not receive the OTA user Kool Aid upgrade? Just as anything else anyone does will “pre-suck”.

        1. Yep. Not just the fastest by a small margin. It is 2.8 times faster than second place and also won all four workload metrics which has never happened before in supercomputer rankings.

          1. The point is that the designer thought he could get substantially better performance using an array of ARM cores rather than using Intel… and proved it.

          2. Thanks to TxUser for pointing out the obvious which you missed completely. They chose ARM instead of Intel and created a supercomputer that blew everything else away. The ARM versus Intel argument is not theoretical anymore. It has been proven in the real world and ARM won by a couple miles.

            1. Really? Real world node to node and core to core?
              If it wasn’t for power concerns, not the case.

              How many nodes is your Mac going to have?

              Clueless or shill. Which one are you?

          3. I happen to have some inside knowledge about this. Cray is going all in on ARM as are others. In a year or two the top five supercomputers in the world are going to be ARM systems.

          4. “Real world node to node and core to core?”

            You’re an Intel apologist now I see. There is no such thing as node to node and core to core in the real world. It’s system against system. You’re still missing the point. People here are trying to argue that ARM can’t “reach the mega-core, high power regions where Intel delivers today.” That argument was just utterly destroyed. Sorry Intel fanboi.

          5. “No I’m a cisc apologist.”

            That explains a lot. However, it turns out RISC is superior for AI models and many other computing tasks. Simple and fast works better. CISC is definitely better in other cases. Both have pros and cons. With RISC the low wattage and cost means you can throw a bunch more at a given computing problem and the system becomes much more flexible and powerful than anything you could design using CISC. I won’t get into the details. The physics argument I saw you presenting tells me you’re not technical enough to understand it. The easy version is that because of the lower power and cost of RISC you can design a system that is very CISC-like and still have all the advantages of RISC. By the way CISC would fall victim to your physics argument sooner than RISC.

            1. “There is no such thing as node to node and core to core in the real world. It’s system against system.”

              And you’re technical with that comment? Next step is you’re going to tell me that you’re iPhone is better than the second fastest supercomputer because the current fastest is using ARM. What a maroon!

          6. “Next step is you’re going to tell me that you’re iPhone”

            Why would I tell you that “you are iPhone”? Plus you didn’t address anything I said. Why? Because you can’t. Truth is you were just trying to piss on Apple about ARM and you didn’t even know an ARM system just destroyed all other supercomputers in the world. It is obvious you don’t know what you are talking about. Have a nice day CISC fanboi.

            1. Simple and fast works better… when you have a lot of them. For single cpu desktop I’m not convinced ARM is better. But enjoi yer ‘puter dude!

  3. It’s got me planning my return to Windows. So far I’ve picked out my PC case, monitor, and keyboard. The rest awaits the Cyberpunk 2077 system requirements. I switched to the Mac the same month the Mac Mini got a real GPU 11 years ago, because it could run my games and work with my monitor. I replaced it with a maxed out 5K iMac when that monitor died in 2014. When I pre-ordered Cyberpunk 2077 I started preparing to get a new computer. As a computer gamer for 33 years, there’s no way Apple can keep me if their products can’t play AAA games. Since they actively avoid anything that would bring those games to Mac OS, dropping Bootcamp is the surest way to loose Mac users that game.

  4. My 2019 16-inch MacBook Pro is not much faster than my 2012 MacBook Pro (with SSD upgrade) Intel has been sleeping for the past 10 years. Time for Apple to move on.

  5. I’m waiting for the Apple silicon-based iMac before I buy again. I don’t care how long Intel Macs and upgrades are in the pipeline. I just hope it’s within the next year rather than 2 years.

  6. I hope Apple NEVER allows the case where you can use a stupid touch screen app on a professional MBP. And I hope that they don’t converge MacOS to look more and work like iOS.

    I’ve liked the idea of getting 2 computers (Mac and a PC if you load windows via bootcamp or VMware) in one when you buy an intel Mac. This will be no more, not sure I like this.

    1. it miggt. apples hard arm based windows for a few years now. much the same way you will loose access to alot of traditional programs unless they have an emulation layer. while th9s is good it would have been better if they had done this before mocrosoft did as it looks like they are copying windows development pipeline.

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