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I think if there's any time Apple would switch to their own ARM designed chips for Macs, it's now. This along with Intel slowing down from their Tick-Tock schedule will probably do it.



Why? The POWER->x86 jump was made largely because of the need to have more performance from the chips (raw power) and better performance per watt (for laptops). Intel wooed Apple on what they had available at the time as well as the impressive roadmap of where the they going. I often get 10 hours of battery life on my Macbook pro, so they did something right!

I totally think Apple will go to ARM, but I can't see Apple doing shift until OS X is getting similar performance on ARM over x86. When Job introduced the x86 switch, he said they had had an internal version of OS X running x86 since day 1. I'm sure they have a version on ARM as well right now, and are just waiting for them to get "good enough". Apple's marketing on recent iOS devices has been also very interesting. Lots of use of the phrase "Desktop Class". Also, the GeekBench scores, and AnandTech teardowns support the hype: Apple's ARM chips truly are best-in-class and rapidly approaching mainstream x86 performance.


You already made the case for it. In a couple of years, intel performance will simply not matter to 90% of users. They will care more about battery life, size, screen quality, weight, thinness, quality of build materials, speed of SSD disk etc.

But the big difference between POWER->86 is that Apple now has majority of their products on a different architecture. Apple is a company that likes simplicity. They are going to want to have everything on one hardware architecture. As laptops get thinner they will basically be able to use identical hardware in iPads and laptops. It will just be different hardware exterior and OS.


I think it's obvious why and you've stated part of it. Apple's designs are rapidly approaching the level of Intel's and Intel is stretching out their R&D and reducing their investment in this area. So Apple will be asking themselves, why give away all that margin to Intel when we can do it ourselves and keep it? (Intel's gross margin is 62%, no idea what it is for their consumer processors specifically).


I misunderstood you then. I read you post as "Intel in financial trouble? This will make Apple leave them"


Even so the current Apple SoCs are phone/tablet parts which cannot match broadwell IPC or clock frequency, except maybe on the lowest-end mobile parts. You can be sure that they're working on that, but my guess is it's at least two years away from being on a retail shelf.

And on the desktop and server side, even longer. I doubt we will ever see a 64-bit ARM part that turbos up to 4GHz+ with haswell/broadwell-like IPC. You can say it's because the desktop market is dead/declining/unnecessary now/etc, but it's also because nobody else is able & willing to match Intel's superb physical design. It's a shame that Intel management has failed to monetize that more effectively.


That is the bet that I placed some time ago, that in about 3 years, I predict Apple switching to ARM. I believe the work on that is already happening in secret.

As demonstrated by things like iPad Pro, ARM is already more than capable for the things 90% of users are going to do. Realistically Apple would be best of with an intel based Mac Pro, but Apple likes to keep things simple, so I think they will just beef it up with loads of ARM chips clocked as high as possible with plenty of cooling or something.




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