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TwiceHorn

Apple to Ditch Intel?

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In Macs and MacBooks? And also shift away from MacOS toward iOS. 
https://www.forbes.com/sites/ewanspence/2018/04/03/apple-intel-macbook-mac-macbookpro-macos-change-software/
Bold strategy. Pretty sure they'll lose a customer. Maybe not. 
 

I’m actually not surprised if the shift, I think operating systems as a whole will converge in the next few years.

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21 minutes ago, Parliament said:

Isn't Microsoft going over to Snapdragon on their low-end laptops?

That is not quite right or comparable given that microsoft has a very different business model. But microsoft is making an renewed push for windows on arm processors. It was announced last year and a few products have been announced, but so far I have seen much develop from it. 

I doubt the rumor (reoccurring every year) on apple abandoning intel. They certainly could, but would have to rely on emulation for all legacy software. Apple's own processors are impressive, but arent ideal for the variety of workloads handled on desktops. I would be less surprised if apple started implementing arm processors in addition to intels, at least in the short term. 

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https://www.theverge.com/2018/3/20/17143554/microsoft-windows-snapdragon-always-connected-qualcomm-pc-review-asus-novago

Laptops with built-in cellular connections are poised to be an actual thing for consumers this year, after years of being only available to business customers. One of the biggest pushes for these connected PCs is from Qualcomm, which has been touting its Snapdragon platform as the future of mobile laptop computing. Windows on Snapdragon computers, which run on Qualcomm’s smartphone processors and modems, are finally making their way to store shelves this spring.

The Windows on Snapdragon platform does more than just provide an integrated cellular modem that frees you from having to rely on Wi-Fi. It’s a complete change to the core structure of Windows that allows it to run on processors originally designed for smartphones. Alongside that major architectural change come a number of benefits aside from integrated connectivity, including instant resume from sleep, significantly longer battery life, and quiet, cool machines. Basically, the new platform makes laptops work like how we’re used to smartphones working: instantly, quietly, and efficiently.

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These rumors seem to occur every time Apple is in price negotiations with Intel. Or publications want clickbait   And Apple has leaked such things before in negotiations just to make companies sweat  

Such a switch is not even close to being comparable to the PPC -> Intel switch, something that happened because PPC couldn’t run cool enough at fast enough speeds. In this case, it’s the opposite, ARM/Apple has nothing that could even come close to matching Intel performance-wise. 

Plus Apple just put a lot of effort and a shit-ton of money into getting their pro-level offerings back up to speed - Adobe photo and film users/editors were bailing on Macs for much more powerful Windows PCs.  Apple had to come back with the iMac Pro, the upcoming modular Mac Pro, and the whole official external GPU support thing.  They aren’t going to ditch all of that effort in two years just to say “HAHA just kidding, we want you to go back to really underpowered machines!”

Thats not even getting into Adobe ignoring the Chromebook market because those things are so damned underpowered. Nor is it even getting into how painful the Intel transition was for Pro users, even though it was immediately a huge performance increase. 

Apple is, however, going to allow a pseudo-virtual environment for iOS apps to run on their desktops and laptops.  This has been coming for a while, and it increases the market for iOS apps and makes it easier for companies to have a strategy for both desktop and mobile. 

Edited by atomheartbevo

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11 hours ago, Dahobbs said:

That is not quite right or comparable given that microsoft has a very different business model. But microsoft is making an renewed push for windows on arm processors. It was announced last year and a few products have been announced, but so far I have seen much develop from it. 

I doubt the rumor (reoccurring every year) on apple abandoning intel. They certainly could, but would have to rely on emulation for all legacy software. Apple's own processors are impressive, but arent ideal for the variety of workloads handled on desktops. I would be less surprised if apple started implementing arm processors in addition to intels, at least in the short term. 

 

15 minutes ago, atomheartbevo said:

These rumors seem to occur every time Apple is in price negotiations with Intel. Or publications want clickbait   And Apple has leaked such things before in negotiations just to make companies sweat  

Such a switch is not even close to being comparable to the PPC -> Intel switch, something that happened because PPC couldn’t run cool enough at fast enough speeds. In this case, it’s the opposite, ARM/Apple has nothing that could even come close to matching Intel performance-wise. 

Plus Apple just put a lot of effort and a shit-ton of money into getting their pro-level offerings back up to speed - Adobe photo and film users/editors were bailing on Macs for much more powerful Windows PCs.  Apple had to come back with the iMac Pro, the upcoming modular Mac Pro, and the whole official external GPU support thing.  They aren’t going to ditch all of that effort in two years just to say “HAHA just kidding, we want you to go back to really underpowered machines!”

Thats not even getting into Adobe ignoring the Chromebook market because those things are so damned underpowered. Nor is it even getting into how painful the Intel transition was for Pro users, even though it was immediately a huge performance increase. 

Apple is, however, going to allow a pseudo-virtual environment for iOS apps to run on their desktops and laptops.  This has been coming for a while, and it increases the market for iOS apps and makes it easier for companies to have a strategy for both desktop and mobile. 

Yeah, these seem like good and accurate thoughts on the matter. It has been a while, but Apple has done some galactically stupid shit before.

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6 minutes ago, TwiceHorn said:

Yeah, these seem like good and accurate thoughts on the matter. It has been a while, but Apple has done some galactically stupid shit before.

I was working for one of the companies behind PowerPC when that switch happened (and we used PPC in the servers we configured/built/deployed), and I was an Apple user at home at that time.  We knew there was just no way that Apple could stay with PPC.  Intel was in the midst of one of their big updates, and as an Apple user, I watched plenty of friends switching to Intel/Windows because that platform was more powerful in the laptop/desktop market.

There was a meme floating around that the only way Apple could get a more powerful PPC laptop was with a G5, but it would have to look like this:

C4og1pkW8AElqyM.jpg

Speaking of galactically stupid shit, the trashcan Mac Pro hurt Apple quite a bit - YouTube has been full of videos of people moving from Mac Pros to Windows machines to get the better processors and graphics cards for a few years now, because it's becoming a lot more important for people doing 4K and 8K video.

As a result, Apple had to put together the 8-to-18 core iMac Pro, completely redesign the Mac Pro and get away from the trashcan, and they had to work out external GPUs so that people could upgrade graphics cards much more regularly without having to upgrade their whole computers, and they had to improve their Final Cut software.  

Or TLDR for both of my posts:  Apple had to make the switch to Intel because PowerPC wasn't keeping up.  Apple can't switch to ARM-only, because ARM can't keep up with Intel (And it was never meant to) and there are reasons why Adobe hasn't bothered with their pro-offerings on any platforms outside of x86.

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I will say this: I've been expecting Apple to start cozying up with AMD on the CPU front at some point (since they are cozy on the GPU front already).  AMD would allow them to tinker quite a bit with the CPUs, which would allow Apple to maintain compatibility with existing applications, while accelerating various areas and/or allowing easy iOS emulation or virtualization.  

There are a lot of Hackintosh people running those 16-core AMD CPUs, and there is no way Apple is ignoring that.  Hell, I still think there are Apple engineers that are helping out the Hackintosh community on some level.

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I switch over to Apple 100% about 7 years ago.  Love it, it just works, ecosystem of products, etc etc.  I travel a lot so I have a MBP right now as my only computer - but it syncs to iCloud and I back it up at home to a TimeMachine.  I do everything on it: work (mainly productivity apps, Office, spreadsheets, etc), occasional development (Xcode) and video editing (Premiere), and gaming.  Gaming has always been a disappointment on Mac, but you know that going in so you deal with it: Metal hasn't seen nearly the adoption they promised.  Maybe w/ eGPUs supporting higher end hardware things will change?

Apple used to build for the professional first, and its products were probably overbuilt for the general market.  Now, they're cramming do-nothing features (MBP Touch Bar?) into underpowered systems but still charing premium prices.  I think they're forgetting their core audience.

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This came out today. 

https://techcrunch.com/2018/04/05/apples-2019-imac-pro-will-be-shaped-by-workflows/

Quote

year ago, I visited the Apple campus in Cupertino to figure out where the hell the new Mac Pro was. I joined a round-table discussion with Apple  SVPs and a handful of reporters to get the skinny on what was taking so long.

The answer, it turns out, was that Apple had decided to start completely over with the Mac Pro, introduce completely new pro products like the iMac  Pro and refresh the entire MacBook Pro lineup. The reasoning given at the time on the Mac Pro was basically that Apple had painted itself into an architecture corner by being aggressively original on the design of the bullet/turbine/trash-can shaped casing and internal components of the current Mac Pro. There was nothing to be done but start over.

The secondary objective to that visit was to reassure pro customers that had not had news of updates in some time that Apple was listening, was working to deliver product for them and, overall, still cared.

Now, a year later, I was invited back to Apple to talk to the people most responsible for shepherding the renewed pro product strategy. John Ternus, vice president of Hardware Engineering, Tom Boger, senior director of Mac Hardware Product Marketing, Jud Coplan, director of Video Apps Product Marketing and Xander Soren, director of Music Apps Product Marketing.

The interviews and demos took place over several hours, highlighting the way that Apple is approaching upgradability, development of its pro apps and, most interestingly, how it has changed its process to more fully grok how professionals actually use its products.

After an initial recap in what they’d done over the past year, including MacBooks and the iMac Pro, I was given the day’s first piece of news: the long-awaited Mac Pro update will not arrive before 2019.

When we got the news that it wouldn’t arrive in 2017, there was some implicit messaging that 2018 was not guaranteed either (we were told “not this year,” but not “definitely next year”). This time around, Boger is succinct: the promised Mac Pro will be a 2019 product.

We want to be transparent and communicate openly with our pro community, so we want them to know that the Mac Pro is a 2019 product. It’s not something for this year.” In addition to transparency for pro customers on an individual basis, there’s also a larger fiscal reasoning behind it.

We know that there’s a lot of customers today that are making purchase decisions on the iMac Pro and whether or not they should wait for the Mac Pro,” says Boger. 

This is why Apple wants to be as explicit as possible now, so that if institutional buyers or other large customers are waiting to spend budget on, say iMac Pros or other machines, they should pull the trigger without worry that a Mac Pro might appear late in the purchasing year.

Quote

Now, it’s a year later and Apple has created a team inside the building that houses its pro products group. It’s called the Pro Workflow Team, and they haven’t talked about it publicly before today. The group is under John Ternus and works closely with the engineering organization. The bays that I’m taken to later to chat about Final Cut Pro, for instance, are a few doors away from the engineers tasked with making it run great on Apple hardware. 

“We said in the meeting last year that the pro community isn’t one thing,” says Ternus. “It’s very diverse. There’s many different types of pros and obviously they go really deep into the hardware and software and are pushing everything to its limit. So one thing you have to do is we need to be engaging with the customers to really understand their needs. Because we want to provide complete pro solutions, not just deliver big hardware, which we’re doing and we did it with iMac Pro. But look at everything holistically.”

To do that, Ternus says, they want their architects sitting with real customers to understand their actual flow and to see what they’re doing in real time. The challenge with that, unfortunately, is that though customers are typically very responsive when Apple comes calling, it’s not always easy to get what they want because they may be using proprietary content. John Powell, for instance, is a long-time logic user and he’s doing the new Star Wars Han Solo standalone flick. As you can imagine, taking those unreleased and highly secret compositions to Apple to play with on their machines can be a sticking point. 

So Apple decided to go a step further and just begin hiring these creatives directly into Apple. Some of them on a contract basis but many full-time, as well. These are award-winning artists and technicians that are brought in to shoot real projects (I saw a bunch of them walking by in Apple Park toting kit for an on-premise outdoor shoot). They then put the hardware and software through their paces and point out sticking points that could cause frustration and friction among pro users.

Ternus says that they wanted to start focused, then grow the team and disciplines over time.

“We’ve been focusing on visual effects and video editing and 3D animation and music production, as well,” says Ternus. “And we’ve brought in some pretty incredible talent, really masters of their craft. And so they’re now sitting and building out workflows internally with real content and really looking for what are the bottlenecks. What are the pain points. How can we improve things. And then we take this information where we find it and we go into our architecture team and our performance architects and really drill down and figure out where is the bottleneck. Is it the OS, is it in the drivers, is it in the application, is it in the silicon, and then run it to ground to get it fixed.”

 

Quote

I’m also curious about whether the process over the last year has changed the timeline on the Mac Pro. To be blunt: Is this the original story arc of the Mac Pro’s development, or are we looking at a roadmap that has a fundamentally different timeline than one year ago.

“I don’t think that the timeline has fundamentally changed,” says Ternus. “I think this is very much a situation where we want to measure twice and cut once, and we want to make sure we’re building a really well thought-out platform for what our pro customers are doing today. But also with an eye towards what they’re going to be doing in the future, as well. And so to do that right, that’s what we’re focusing on.”

They are hiring for that new team

https://jobs.apple.com/us/search?#&ss=113283468&t=0&so=&lo=0*USA&pN=0

They aren’t doing all of this if a switch to Arm is imminent. 

And with PPC everybody wanted them to switch because performance was going into the shitter. We are now getting fucking  18-core iMacs. Performance is not an issue. 

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Posted (edited)

Well, I was wrong.  

They better have something amazing on tap for emulating x86, because ARM doesn't normally emulate Intel/AMD PCs very well (ask Microsoft), and a shitload of people are using Windows stuff under Boot Camp/virtualization.

The switch from PPC to Intel was needed, because customers were suffering.

This is different. Customers aren't suffering under Intel - Hell, I can get a fucking quad-core MacBook Air not much more than $1,000.

Edited by atomheartbevo

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Rosetta 2:  "automatically translates existing Mac apps" to work, and apps are translated when you install.

New virtualization technology built into it.

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If Windows apps (not games) run as smoothly on the new Macs as they do on the Intels, color me impressed.  Not going to get in line for new ones (have an i7 2018 Mac mini for my desktop, an older MBP and ThinkPad for laptops), but will be cool when I do reach that point where I want a new machine.

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And they still have Intel Macs in the pipeline.  This seems not as rushed as the PPC switch, but then again, the PPC switch was needed about two years earlier.

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21 minutes ago, atomheartbevo said:

The switch from PPC to Intel was needed, because customers were suffering.

difference between then and now is that TSMC has better production facilities than intel.  also there's a shit ton of development going on for one risc architecture, when that was all fractured in the mid 90s. 

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5 minutes ago, elfenix said:

difference between then and now is that TSMC has better production facilities than intel.  also there's a shit ton of development going on for one risc architecture, when that was all fractured in the mid 90s. 

Shame we never got this.

spacer.png

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38 minutes ago, atomheartbevo said:

Shame we never got this.

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pretty sure compaq made that about 1989.

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Posted (edited)

$500 for developer edition Mac mini, and you don't own it.  Priority for developers with existing apps, which makes sense (us web developers aren't real devs anyways).    

No Thunderbolt 3, but given that the regular Mac mini has four Thunderbolt 3, and they dropped it to 2x USB-C, that's a little odd, but I'm sure they'll have TB3 at some point.

https://developer.apple.com/programs/universal/

Apple A12Z Bionic

Memory16GB

Storage512GB SSD

I/OTwo USB-C ports (up to 10 Gbps)
Two USB-A ports (up to 5 Gpbs)
HDMI 2.0 port

Communications802.11ac Wi-Fi
Bluetooth 5.0
Gigabit Ethernet

Edited by atomheartbevo

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considering thunderbolt is a joint project of intel and apple (iirc intel did the initial development and may have continued most of the heavy lifting) i don't know that i'd expect it to be on apple arm computers. 

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11 minutes ago, elfenix said:

considering thunderbolt is a joint project of intel and apple (iirc intel did the initial development and may have continued most of the heavy lifting) i don't know that i'd expect it to be on apple arm computers. 

That’s going to leave a mark among people who buy high-end Macs.

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27 minutes ago, elfenix said:

considering thunderbolt is a joint project of intel and apple (iirc intel did the initial development and may have continued most of the heavy lifting) i don't know that i'd expect it to be on apple arm computers. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thunderbolt_(interface)

On 24 May 2017, Intel announced that Thunderbolt 3 would become a royalty-free standard to OEMs and chip manufacturers in 2018, as part of an effort to boost the adoption of the protocol.[72] The Thunderbolt 3 specification was later released to the USB-IF on 4 March 2019, making it royalty-free, to be used to form USB4.[73][74][75] Intel says it will retain control over certification of all Thunderbolt 3 devices, though it will not be mandatory.[76]

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17 minutes ago, Samson's Wig said:

I wish Apple would just spend a little more time making Catalina less of a piece of shit, personally.  

What's wrong with it?  

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1 hour ago, Samson's Wig said:

I wish Apple would just spend a little more time making Catalina less of a piece of shit, personally.  

I just hope they finally fixed the iPadOS bug that was closing Safari tabs for no reason.  It was a crapshoot when it came to leaving tabs open, even though previous versions could have hundreds of tabs open without any problems.

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2 hours ago, TwiceHorn said:

What's wrong with it?  

Eerily reminiscent of Windows 95.   I don't have an issue with the lack of support for 32bit applications, which has been a knock from many, as that didn't really impact me directly.  But - upgrading jacks up everything from iCloud, basic log ins, and the biggest nightmare was what it did to my kids' computers, both of which have parental controls.  They were left basically unable to login to any of their web based school work during the shutdown - which was awesome.  All parental controls for Chrome just disappeared and won't work anymore (probably purposeful, just like their issues with Adobe on this update).  The entire experience on their devices and my iMac is a nonstop parade of error messages.   No solutions from Apple still.    

I still can't tell if it's a drop-off in talent that led to a less than slick rollout as many are claiming, or if the issues with Catalina are just another example of Apple forcing customers to adapt to how they think things should be done.  Either way it's a clumsy disaster that didn't consider the consumer even a little bit.

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3 minutes ago, Samson's Wig said:

Eerily reminiscent of Windows 95.   I don't have an issue with the lack of support for 32bit applications, which has been a knock from many, as that didn't really impact me directly.  But - upgrading jacks up everything from iCloud, basic log ins, and the biggest nightmare was what it did to my kids' computers, both of which have parental controls.  They were left basically unable to login to any of their web based school work during the shutdown - which was awesome.  All parental controls for Chrome just disappeared and won't work anymore (probably purposeful, just like their issues with Adobe on this update).  The entire experience on their devices and my iMac is a nonstop parade of error messages.   No solutions from Apple still.    

I still can't tell if it's a drop-off in talent that led to a less than slick rollout as many are claiming, or if the issues with Catalina are just another example of Apple forcing customers to adapt to how they think things should be done.  Either way it's a clumsy disaster that didn't consider the consumer even a little bit.

Ah, interesting.  Sorry.  I have been an Apple user for, mmm, 8 years but have zero investment in their ecosystem, so my experience has been alright.

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51 minutes ago, Bigpoppapump said:

Our company just sent out an email letting us know we still can’t upgrade to Catalina.

Yeah.  Don't do it.

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https://appleinsider.com/articles/20/06/23/rosetta-lacks-support-for-x86-machine-virtualization-apps-boot-camp-not-an-option-on-apple-silicon

Quote

Mac users who rely on Windows virtualization software might be left in the lurch when Apple transitions to its own custom ARM processors later this year, as the company's Rosetta Intel-to-ARM translator does not support virtual machine apps. 

Apple outlined Rosetta's — technically Rosetta 2's — limitations in a developer document posted to its website this week, noting that while it can translate "most" Intel-based apps, it is unable to do the same for virtual machine apps that virtualize x86_64 computer platforms. Popular x86_64 virtualization apps include products from Parallels and VMWare that virtualize Windows environments. 

Rosetta is also unable to translate kernel extensions. 

Unveiled during Monday's WWDC keynote, Rosetta is a key feature that will help Apple and developers transition from Intel-based Macs to hardware running ARM-based chips. The software layer translates apps that contain x86_64 instructions for Apple silicon, which uses an arm64 instruction set. Rolling out the feature now gives developers time to create a universal binary for their apps, but as Apple notes, Rosetta can run slow and is not a substitute for native apps.

Quote

In addition to Rosetta's x86 restrictions, Boot Camp will no longer be available for use on Macs powered by Apple silicon. For now, the macOS utility that enabled booting of both Windows and Mac operating systems, will remain in macOS Big Sur as an Intel-only feature. ARM Macs will not be able to access the feature and the company has not announced a replacement.

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Posted (edited)
On 6/22/2020 at 3:40 PM, TwiceHorn said:

What's wrong with it?  

Among other issues already described, I had an issue where every time my bluetooth mouse connected, my CPU utilization would go up to 100 on one core. That was still live on 10.15.5. I had to download an obscure Bluetooth dev tool via Xcode, keep it running, and every time I started the mac or woke BT up from sleep, had to find my mouse, open up an advanced setting dialog, un-check two check boxes and save it to keep the CPU from cooking.

This isn't Windows 95. This is Windows ME levels of bad.

I'd been disappointed in Apple's laptop hardware offerings for half a decade (touch bar, but no touchscreen? And the "better" keyboard is still shit), meanwhile drooling over folks who had picked up the Surface, and longingly gazing at Steam sales of my favorite games (Windows only, sorry!)...

My Mac now runs Windows 10, and I have visions of the Surface Book 3 in my head.

This was all before the ARM announcement. The ARM announcement is not really bad news to me, since I"m ditching Mac anyway after switching to it 15 years ago. I don't think it's as bad a thing as most are making it out to be. As @elfenix said, This Is Not Your Father's RISC Chip; ARM has the benefit of massive industry adoption and push behind it that the many RISC sets never had. And for mobile development, it'll be fantastic. Even servers are switching to ARM in some cases -- you can run ARM servers on AWS, at least.

BUT... it's not an easy transition, and still easier to "switch" to AMD than ARM. 

Edited by Rimbo

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I forgot about Windows ME.  Must have blocked it out. Yes - that is the better comparison, thank you.  Honestly, I think Vista is what I had in mind, which may have been even worse than ME.  95 wasn't bad at all.

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On 6/22/2020 at 2:44 PM, elfenix said:

pretty sure compaq made that about 1989.

lol, I used to call on Compaq way back in the day when i worked for AMD.  We got Compaq and IBM first to 1GHz CPU with that horribad Slotted (slot A) CPU that looked like a super thick GPU.  The amps that those things drew...

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So somebody ran down the specs of the developer Mac mini, and...

Quote

This makes it pretty clear that the developer transition kit isn't a Mac mini outfitted with an Apple Silicon SoC, but rather an iPad Pro logic board hooked up to multiple USB ports, Ethernet, and HDMI for convenience. It sports the same Bluetooth 5.0 and 802.11ac WiFi, and can attach to an SSD for storage using USB-C.

Basically, took the iPad Pro logic board, added 16GB, and rigged up already supported ports.

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