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(The Register)   Apple contemplates move to new CPU architecture for its Macintosh series. This is not a repeat from 1994 or 2006   (theregister.co.uk) divider line 25
    More: Interesting, Apple CPU, Macintosh, microarchitecture, Scott Forstall, Intel, film series, GPUs, installed base  
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3607 clicks; posted to Geek » on 06 Nov 2012 at 6:46 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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Archived thread
2012-11-06 10:24:38 AM
2 votes:

AlphaG33k: Because we all know what happens when you ditch x86/32/64 compatibility.

Macs have such a HUGE gammut of software available, as long as you are doing:

-Audio Editing
-Video Editing
-Word Processing
-Multimedia Creation

If your usage scenario is not here, good luck. Notice how "gaming" and "general purpose computing" don't fall into those categories?


Gaming I'll give you, but give credit where credit is due, man: Macs are fine for general purpose computing.
2012-11-06 09:46:46 AM
2 votes:
Apple despises anything that's compatible with the outside world. Never mind that getting rid of proprietary connectors and piss-poor Motorola/IBM processors (RISC vs. CISC my ass) is what saved the computer side of the company, they envision a world of sealed devices with no buttons.
2012-11-06 08:45:58 AM
2 votes:
Apple went to shiat when Steve Jobs left the first time, I guess history is repeating itself (except they can't get him back to save them this time).
2012-11-06 07:15:58 AM
2 votes:
In 1991 the company abandoned backwards-compatibility by introducing System 7.

Is this right? I was using an Amiga at the time so I can't be absolutely certain but I don't recall there being any major issues with backwards compatibility under System 7. Additionally I'm certain that the PPC based Macs could run 680x0 software perfectly well. The only time I can think of them abandoning the older software was with the Intel processors' inability to run OS9 alongside OSX.
2012-11-06 06:53:51 AM
2 votes:
Good. Once they've got a monopoly on the CPU nobody will be able to realize that they're paying Apple more than 2x as the same hardware costs from anyone else on the planet.
2012-11-07 06:22:12 AM
1 votes:

Marine1:
Microsoft needs to kill off Office for Mac. Apple uses it as a selling point for their laptops, which are in direct competition to machines being sold with a copy of Windows. Apple has the cash to develop their own office suite. I doubt it'd be any good compared to Office, but that's the idea.


Apple already have their own Office suite, kinda, in iWork. It's not THAT bad. Very much like the older versions of Works was to Office. However in your bid to slay the infinite loop you'd of just dealt Microsoft a hefty blow as well: Office (including Mac::Office) is one of their major sellers. Disrupting the Office ecology too much would not be a good thing for their long term future.

Now having pointed that out I do in fact fully support your idea and hope Microsoft do it soon. But for the exact opposite reason you have. The Beast of Redmond must die.
2012-11-06 07:06:54 PM
1 votes:

unyon: My concern with this is compatibility, since the ability to run windows OSes on Macs was and is a huge deal for all of those people (including me) for whom occasional dips in the Windows world for specific windows-only app usage or testing is critical.

Provided that you can still properly and easily virtualize/emulate windows on a Mac, that isn't a deal-breaker. But it can't be buggy, or it's useless.


This reminds me:

Microsoft needs to kill off Office for Mac. Apple uses it as a selling point for their laptops, which are in direct competition to machines being sold with a copy of Windows. Apple has the cash to develop their own office suite. I doubt it'd be any good compared to Office, but that's the idea.
2012-11-06 06:18:57 PM
1 votes:

Theaetetus: Those. If they really wanted to fight Microsoft, they could start integrating something like WINE into the OSX Kernel, along with better GPU support, so that you could run Windows EXEs seamlessly.


Because that worked so well for OS/2 Warp...
2012-11-06 01:47:43 PM
1 votes:

Kit Fister: So I guess my next laptop will be an HP or an Asus...


Consumer Reports are usually Mac fanboys to the last, and they actually rated an Asus model as top buy in the last issue I saw, which I think came out after the new glued-in battery, soldered-in memory Macs.
2012-11-06 01:03:32 PM
1 votes:
Great Porn Dragon: Of course, the reason unspoken for "going away from Intel" is "We don't want folks to discover it is, in fact, possible to home-build a PC that will run a (patched) version of MacOS X".

I doubt that Hackintosh / FrankenMac systems take much away from Apple's bottom line. Most of the people I know who run them are for play and not daily use. They had no intention of ever buying Apple hardware.

My thought is that Apple wants more vertical integration of their hardware. The licensing and development costs to roll your own ARM chips at an independent fab might be cheaper than the cost Apple can get processors from Intel for, even with Apple's discount. Intel's low power and ultra-low power processors still carry a price premium over similar performance rivals.

Then there is the power issue. Although Intel has been addressing performance per watt and peak power usage much better than IBM did with PowerPC, Apple still appears to be unhappy with the current crop of x86-64 chips for their MacBook series. By rolling their own ARM chips, they would be able to custom tailor their power requirements, not to mention utilize a more power efficient architecture.

Lastly, there is the app issue. System X and iOS are slowly converging. But since most Apple apps are binaries and not intermediate bytecode, you can't share ecosystems unless go return to fat binaries. Maybe Apple wants to return to having just one ISA under their roof?
2012-11-06 12:12:04 PM
1 votes:
As someone who still uses a PPC laptop, and used an SE30 black and white when I was a kid, I'm getting the sinking feeling that Apple is going to stop making computers altogether. One day, you'll look for a desktop/iMac, and it'll just be a 27" iPad w/ a keyboard and, whatever the hell they are using instead of a regular mouse. And it's a shame b/c Windows is unbelievably awful, and Linux still has too many compatibility issues.
2012-11-06 11:51:08 AM
1 votes:

macdaddy357: Apple should stop worrying so much about hardware and sell Mac OSX to PC users. That would put Microsoft down like a rabid dog.


Two things:
First, that would absolutely destroy Apple's profit margins. Apple makes their money on hardware. They make huge profits on hardware. They'd be more likely to become a Windows OEM, if not for their institutional desire to control everything about their products.

Second, it would in no way "put Microsoft down". Businesses aren't going to get off the Microsoft teat. There's a not insignificant percentage of users who use at home what they use at work because that's what they understand. The smaller percentage of users who actively seek out different OS environments already have. Some of them are using OSX, on Apple hardware, which makes Apple huge buckets of money, as already stated. Look: there are Linux distros out there, which are free, and offer comparable user experiences to Windows. And Linux is still a tiny corner of the market, because users don't care.
2012-11-06 11:44:28 AM
1 votes:
Apple should stop worrying so much about hardware and sell Mac OSX to PC users. That would put Microsoft down like a rabid dog.
2012-11-06 11:30:40 AM
1 votes:

Gordon Bennett: In 1991 the company abandoned backwards-compatibility by introducing System 7.

Is this right? I was using an Amiga at the time so I can't be absolutely certain but I don't recall there being any major issues with backwards compatibility under System 7. Additionally I'm certain that the PPC based Macs could run 680x0 software perfectly well. The only time I can think of them abandoning the older software was with the Intel processors' inability to run OS9 alongside OSX.



Sorta. In previous versions of Apple System, the OS used the upper 8 bits of a 32 bit memory pointer to store metadata. That is fine for 68000, '010 and 'EC020 processors that only have a 24 bit memory bus (as the upper 8 bits are ignored), but it breaks on a full '020, '030 and '040 processor. So for System 7, they made it 32-bit pointer clean. That ended up breaking some software (which did the same metadata trick) unless you messed with a few options in the control panel.

Also, the 68K -> PPC translator that was introduced in System 7.1 for the PowerMac required properly written 68K software. Self-modifying code and memory tricks would cause the translator to choke. But many legacy 68k apps would run on a PowerMac.
2012-11-06 11:00:19 AM
1 votes:
Who is going to deal with a customer who sues their suppliers for billions of dollars?
2012-11-06 09:46:26 AM
1 votes:
Here's a crazy idea: they'll drop in an A6 on top of an Intel CPU, and run iOS apps natively on the A6 co-processor while using system RAM.
2012-11-06 09:44:18 AM
1 votes:

Gordon Bennett: In 1991 the company abandoned backwards-compatibility by introducing System 7.

Is this right? I was using an Amiga at the time so I can't be absolutely certain but I don't recall there being any major issues with backwards compatibility under System 7. Additionally I'm certain that the PPC based Macs could run 680x0 software perfectly well. The only time I can think of them abandoning the older software was with the Intel processors' inability to run OS9 alongside OSX.


I think that System 7 may have been the first Mac OS release that wasn't compatible with every Mac that had been introduced. That's probably what they're referring to. PPC Macs could run 680x0 apps just fine (mostly), but the first PPC release wasn't until 7.1.2 (the first worthwhile PPC release was 7.5).

Personally, I think Apple would be crazy to do this. Maybe for an Air model, where people aren't going to be running anything that will require any real guts. Also, Intel has been on a tear regarding power consumption, and Haswell looks to really reduce consumption, which should make Apple happy.
2012-11-06 09:25:20 AM
1 votes:
Of course, the reason unspoken for "going away from Intel" is "We don't want folks to discover it is, in fact, possible to home-build a PC that will run a (patched) version of MacOS X".

As folks noted, going to Intel saved their asses, yet at the same time Apple is going away from their traditional bread and butter (right at the time that companies might start jumping ship from Microsoft over the interface-abortion that is Metro in Windows 8) and becoming the iHandheld Company.

Then again, Apple HAS historically had occasional near-fatal episodes of Not Invented Here Syndrome, so shouldn't be all that surprised...just a bit sad, that's all.

/why yes, I LIKE the idea of a box you could put at least four separate operating systems on at once
//then again, what do I know, I'm old and still pleasantly surprised and pleased that an Android or iPhone that I can hold in my hand can fully emulate the old VAX running VMS that I first discovered the Internet on waaaaaaay the hell back in 1991
///kid. Yes you. Off my lawn
2012-11-06 08:35:55 AM
1 votes:
Because we all know what happens when you ditch x86/32/64 compatibility.

Macs have such a HUGE gammut of software available, as long as you are doing:

-Audio Editing
-Video Editing
-Word Processing
-Multimedia Creation

If your usage scenario is not here, good luck. Notice how "gaming" and "general purpose computing" don't fall into those categories?

Lack of compatibility almost damn near killed apple, using the X86 Line brought them back from obscurity. Looks like the pendulum will swing again.
2012-11-06 08:32:37 AM
1 votes:

Fubini: They could go with in-house chips, but I'm betting that their tech is nowhere close to what Intel produces these days for high-performance CPUs. Unless they're totally content with forsaking the high performance computer market (i.e. their Pro models) they're not going to totally switch away from Intel, because Intel has decades of experience making high-performance chips. For sequentially threaded execution they blow everyone else out of the water.

There's also a fundamental contradiction between "thin and light" and "high performance." More performance means more power, and more power means hotter, more cooling, and more battery. All that given, I'm pretty sure that Apple does want to get out of the computing market, and move totally into their iGadgets market for casual computing.


They seem to totally be dropping their `pro` market lately. Most comments from video editors (that don`t use Avid and high end commercial systems) are that they are moving from Mac and final cut to PC and Adobe for sustained compatibility. They want the software and platform they use today to be compatible with the software and platform they may use tomorrow.
2012-11-06 08:19:02 AM
1 votes:
Oh, and then there's this cute little imaginary conversation between ARM and Intel at a cafe, wherein ARM tell's Intel that, among other things, Apple will leave them.
2012-11-06 08:16:14 AM
1 votes:

xanadian: Jesus, don't go AMD, Apple... :P


My first guess is they won't and that they'll go big.LITTLE ARM, but then I remembered that AMD is about to go with 64 bit ARM in Opterons in 2014... so maybe.
2012-11-06 07:22:04 AM
1 votes:

unyon: My concern with this is compatibility


I know the article was talking about them going to the Ax chips, but I really doubt it. Apple has been buying up chip manufacturers, and I wouldn't be surprised if they come out with their own line of processor that's compatible with Intel, but has some proprietary extensions. Remember Altivec? That was actually pretty cool- I got better gaming performance out of that than I got from a higher speced Windows box.
2012-11-06 07:14:50 AM
1 votes:
Enjoy the Apple Tax
2012-11-06 12:10:22 AM
1 votes:
My concern with this is compatibility, since the ability to run windows OSes on Macs was and is a huge deal for all of those people (including me) for whom occasional dips in the Windows world for specific windows-only app usage or testing is critical.

Provided that you can still properly and easily virtualize/emulate windows on a Mac, that isn't a deal-breaker. But it can't be buggy, or it's useless.
 
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