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Silicon MacBook could launch on 27 October and cost $800 (macworld.co.uk)
148 points by mgh2 49 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 242 comments

Bringing the 12" MacBook back with Apple Silicon for $800 could be huge. First of all, the 12" MacBook was the dream portable machine, especially being fanless. However, the processors where really to slow and the price to high.

I guess, the 12" MacBook was designed on a promise of Intel of delivering processors, they never could deliver due to the issues with their 10nm process. This is where an ARM based design around the iPad processor would be an instant win performance wise.

But it is also great news, if Apple really uses the costs saved by going with their own CPUs to offer the machine at a lower price. Suddenly, it can compete with a lot of branded laptops on the price alone. With the additional speed from the processors, it should be quite a good general purpose laptop. And we know how nice the 12" MacBook was from a design perspective.

For the consumer market, the ability to run iOS apps becomes an additional huge benefit. For more and more people, the smartphone is the default computing platform, especially for younger people, the smartphone might be the device they get into computing at all. So when bying a laptop to go along with your smartphone, the Mac running Apple Silicon has a huge benefit, as it integrates more seamless than ever with your smartphone.

I would expect the Mac market share to get quite a boost as a consequence.

While the MacBook is the obvious machine to equip with Apple Silicon for the reasons listed above, I would also expect Apple to hit the market with a true developer machine just so that developers can not only test their software on Apple Silicon, but that it becomes the development platform right from the start.

I still raise an eyebrow whenever Apple pushes running iOS apps on Mac as a big plank of its desktop strategy. SwiftUI is still incomplete, badly documented, and a bit of an arse to work with. A shame, because it has the potential to be really enjoyable to work with. But until they sort that out, this whole strategy of theirs seems half baked.

Not sure if you're seeing the bigger picture here. SwiftUI is not necessary. You can build an iOS app entirely in UIKit and target the Mac via Catalyst. In addition to that, any iOS apps that don't target Catalyst will be runnable on an ARM Mac, unless the developer opts out.

I thought Catalyst was a shorter term solution for existing apps, but greenfield apps are being pushed to SwiftUI? I admit I find the overlap between the two to still be confusing.

It is confusing until you use any Catalyst app.

They are utter garbage; there isn't a single good Catalyst app, they're all putrefactive shit on the Mac. The JIRA app — which Apple demo'd on stage when they unveiled Catalyst — is hands-down the worst app I have ever used on the Mac, and I've been using the Mac since I was like 13 and my mom had an SE30, and I also spent 2000-2008 as a developer of Mac apps (iGet, iGet Mobile, and worked on some others).

SwiftUI is still kind of painful, but way less painful then it was at launch. SwiftUI is an interesting new paradigm, and it really does seem that it will be good someday, and even possibly soon. It's already awesome if you happen to not hit the (many) areas where it is still lacking.

Catalyst will never be good, and Apple will kill it as soon as they possibly can.

Hear hear! Even Apple's own Catalyst apps are no good. They're turning the Mac into an iPad Plus :(

Yes, but it's pretty clearly transitional tech. Apple knows that it's shit. It's a stopgap until SwiftUI matures — and you can tell because SwiftUI is maturing fast.

Macs running Apple Silicon can run iOS apps unchanged.

It's the legacy Intel Macs that need Catalyst.

The strategy is not had-baked, it’s just half-implemented (i.e. they aren’t finished yet).

This is just like the Carbon/Cocoa issue back in the original OS X.

5 years from now it will be obvious to everyone that SwiftUI has been a huge leap, but with some normal transitional bumps along the way.

The guys on the ATP podcast talked about this a couple weeks ago (last week maybe?) and it’s a great conversation - I highly recommend it.

While many of these are still half baked technologies, they are still better than wrapping up an electron app and calling it a day.

They will run unmodified on Apple Silicon.

>I still raise an eyebrow whenever Apple pushes running iOS apps on Mac

Microsoft certainly attempted to create an Android subsystem for Windows, it just didn't work.

This is the only part of their strategy to me that I don't understand. Running unmodified iOS apps on a Mac is going to be such a terrible experience and there's no way around it. Why? Just because they can?

Shipping an unmodified iOS apps for Mac is a really easy way for developers to validate market demand. If there's enough demand, they can invest in Mac-specific improvements and hopefully grow their market share. If not, at least the cost of discovery was low.

I’m guessing mostly for the sake of absorbing the iOS games ecosystem. Especially the ones that already have game pad support.

There's a lot of great tooling for making iOS apps without using Swift or Swift UI (Flutter, ReactNative, etc). I'm a JavaScript developer, and I hate Electron apps as much as anybody. The ability to use ReactNative to compile to an iOS app that runs on the desktop opens up a LOT of possibilities for me.

Ipad apps on a mac laptop with touchscreen would be great. And some of the design changes in MacOS 11 look like they are making mac UI elements touch accessible.

also a transformer to macbook way thinkpad had their models with keyboard folding to the back also would be nice.

> For the consumer market, the ability to run iOS apps becomes an additional huge benefit.

I see it more as a stepping stone. It's difficult to imagine how a UI designed for iOS would ever not feel strange on a laptop. But SwiftUI seems like a great tool for sharing large amounts of code between platforms, with some branching to cater properly to each platform.

However given the current dominance of web interfaces for desktop software it's hard to imagine iOS apps becoming relevant on mac anytime soon aside from a few special cases.

I agree. I don't think the experience is great, if you just run a mobile app on a desktop machine, but the great points are, that a) it is possible at all, so if nothing else works, you can run the mobile app on your computer, for many purposes, that is enough, and b) this gives a big incentive to the app developers to offer a proper Mac version too, which probably requires less work than ever before.

> this gives a big incentive to the app developers to offer a proper Mac version too

Maybe but I'm not totally convinced it's enough. For small apps which are only currently on iOS this might be interesting, but for the large pool of applications which currently target web, iOS and Android, doing extra work to support a mac branch of the application is still that: extra.

Those users are already supported by your web application, and even if it's relatively less work than creating a separate native mac application, adding a mac branch of your iOS app will still add effort and complexity to implement and maintain. And that would be to serve what's probably a tiny minority of your active users.

In the classic sense of an SCM ‘branch’ you would be correct, however with SwiftUI you don’t need a branch to support MacOS. At worst you need a few #ifdefs.

I mean a branch in the sense of branch of execution (#ifdef would be one way to do this) not in the sense of a source control branch.

>It's difficult to imagine how a UI designed for iOS would ever not feel strange on a laptop.

What is Apple offers a touch screen? Then it becomes essentially an iPad with a keyboard..

At one point I owned a tablet laptop and switching to pen input was extremely awkward.

Edit: imaging lifting your hand from the table and poking screen for several minutes. Screen wobbles each time. Your hand gets tired from being suspended, but putting it back is almost too much work. Apple might invent something, but there is only so much to be done with certain form factors.

All my laptop and desktop screens are touch screens, and the laptops have pens. It's not awkward or tiring if you have it set up well. Lifting my hand from the keyboard up to the desktop touch screen to tap something is often quicker than moving there with a mouse.

What kind of screens do you use for desktop?

Either all-in-ones by HP, or Dell external touch screen monitors. There are other options available, but I've ended up with multiple of each of these, as they're available and work well IME.

When was the last time you tried a tablet laptop? Microsoft now has a series of very good 2-1 under their Surface brand. I'm writing this on a Surface Book 2, the display can be detached from the keyboard by pressing one button, and that works really really well. The display is very stable in laptop mode, the pen is attached via magnet on the side so I can quickly grab it and just draw or write something. It also has the best keyboard I've ever used on a laptop (though that's of course completely subjective).

You may want to try one in a store, I personally changed my mind on the 2-in-1 form factor after using one for a few minutes.

The main issue is that Windows 10 is quite bad at dealing with the transition between laptop and tablet mode, similar to when you connect an external display the screen blinks a few times, everything resize hysterically, so you have to wait a few seconds for the UI to transition.

Edit: the touch display is just way too practical when you want to quickly scroll a page or touch a button located on the opposite side of the screen. IMHO it doesn't have to be something you use all the time to be worth it.

I lift a hand a few seconds in a minute, not for several minutes because mainly use trackpad and sometimes use touchscreen. It's still useful.

Totally agree, I had a Dell XPS 15 touchscreen laptop, and while I found Windows too unproductive to replace my MacBook Pro for development work, going back to the dumb non-touch screen made the Mac frustrating.

I would use the mouse/pad/keyboard 90% or maybe 95% of the time — but the inability to just tap the button or pinch-zoom or whatever the other 5% of the time... it's just stupid.

All 5-year-olds perceive screens that you can't directly interact with to be broken... and they're right.

I was forced to get a touchscreen by dell to get 4k. I never touch it, have an external keyboard and mouse. When I clean it, it produces a lot of erroneous input.

Perhaps you should turn off the touchscreen so you don’t accidentally trigger it.

Interesting, happens rarely so never thought of it:

    xinput list
    xinput disable 11

I have an XPS 13 with a 4K touch screen. I view it as an anti-feature that I occasionally brush with weird unwanted effects.

iPad Pro uses a mouse cursor now. It feels completely natural.

I don‘t see how running an iPad app native on a Macbook would „be difficult to imagine“.

I wouldn’t say it’s completely natural, but it’s still pretty nice, all things considered. Some apps still make it awkward, especially games.

I saw someone attempt to play Slither while testing an iPad Pro with a mouse recently. It looked fairly awkward and unnatural.

I have a $230 ~12" Chromebook[1], I agree with your premise of portable fan-less computer, benefits of running mobile applications and if the performance of Apple's current A series chipsets are of any indicator then one in the ARM MacBook ought to be several times better than anything intel has in this category.

But, I doubt if the macOS on Apple silicon in upcoming MacBook would even fulfil all the needs of a generic consumer, if not the developers. Newer macOS releases on even current Macs have been ridden with bugs and it takes couple of major updates to fix them(the case with newer iOS releases have been worse). Many developers have stopped updating their macOS to the latest iteration and are sticking with older versions till the security updates lasts (or if Xcode support is dropped).

So, IMO it's going to be a while till macOS on ARM achieves stability and the $800 is the subsidised early adopter fee to put up with its quirks.


I would assume that the bad quality of Catalina and iOS 13 when they were released had to do with the restructuring of the development teams and the general code changes in preparation of the move to Apple Silicon. While iOS was based on a fork of macOS, those code bases had drifted apart for a while. It seems that Apple remerged the common parts for Big Sur. There is hope, that Big Sur doesn't start as bad as Catalina. So I wouldn't see why the MacBook wouldn't fufil the needs of a customer or developer.

I see a steep increase of demand for macOS developers from my perspective. I cannot vouch it's a coincidence or not but I believe there's more interest to bring applications to Apple desktops.

SwiftUI is really nice, but it's incomplete. So you really need an engineer that understands macOS to offer a complete solution for anything that goes deeper than a to-do app.

> So when bying a laptop to go along with your smartphone, the Mac running Apple Silicon has a huge benefit, as it integrates more seamless than ever with your smartphone.

I don’t really think the connection here is so strong. Having the same ISA means very little.

The ISA alone doesn't mean much, but there's OS compatibility too. MacOS will run iOS applications out of the box.

First of all, Big Sur on the Apple Silicon allows to run iOS apps unmodified, so that requires no work, and secondly, the UI redesign of Big Sur means, that iOS/iPadOS apps are easier to port, as the basic look and feel is the same.

I bought a 2019 Mbp 15 and found it too heavy to bring around. After struggle I bought a 2018 new stock macbook 12. It is really great. I am using the Mac mini arm version and it is good so far. May get a arm macbook 12 ...

The only thing that holds me back from believing the above is that it would certainly cannibalize their sales of their iPad Pro.

Apple always has treated the iPad as a very different platform from the Mac, and the software has quite some differences. The iPad as a tablet still has a lot of differentiation features. Also, the iPad market size is way bigger than the Mac. Finally, as they keep the margins on all the products they sell pretty close to each other, why would they care if people bought a few MacBooks instead of the iPads? Here, more the marketshare vs. PC laptops would be the incentive for Apple to be very competitive on the MacBook price. With the Apple Silicon, no longer a substential part of the device revenue goes to Intel.

One way to avoid cannibalism among products is have the revenue and profits align so you don’t care what people choose. In that sense, the MacBook at 800 is less than a comparable iPad Pro plus magic keyboard-but you’re also locked in to a keyboard and trackpad.

Personally, I always liked the MacBook Air and MacBook form factors but never purchased them. I went for iPads instead and left power use to a MBP or Mac mini. I could see the MacBook being more compelling if it’s the only way to develop, but they’re moving Xcode to the iPad I think down the road...

Or maybe they think of the MBA and MB as legacy formats. That could make them not directly competitive at all and potentially complimentary.

Has Apple ever shown an aversion to cannabilizing itself?

When Jobs first came back, he eliminated every product that put Apple in competition with itself. I feel like that motivation stuck around for a while, though I think it may have been gone even before Jobs’ passing.

That was to simplify the product line. They had multiple consumer “Performa” Macs. They were about to go bankrupt.

Under Jobs they also introduced the iPod Nano and killed the iPod Mini even though it was the best selling iPod.

Of course they introduced the iPhone at the height of the iPods popularity.

The iPad overtook the popularity and revenue of the Mac while he was CEO.

I was not following Apple closely back then, but I heard, that when Steve Jobs came back, the whole product lineup was a mess with many directly competing offerings. The iPad and the MacBook are not such a direct competition. Also, before the iPhone was introduced, but the rumor mills were already running hot, many people doubted that Apple would make a phone which could cannibalize their cash-cow back then, the iPod. Well, they did, they actually placed it in direct competition, and we know how that ended up :).

While the price point would be huge, I have a hard time believing a laptop will cost less than their phone.

Bottom of the line laptop cheaper than top of the line phone isn’t too hard to believe... it’s still more than double the price of their cheapest phone

That is due to how 4G/5G tech structure their patents cost which is cheaper for non-smartphone devices. You will be adding at least $200+ to Apple's MSRP for Modem and Patents on Smartphone alone.

The 256GB iPad Air is $649, the High Memory Model are the high margin products. And that is already cheaper iPhone. As a matter of fact I am surprised how everyone think $799 is a bargain or great pricing. Swapping the cost of camera, gyroscope, Touch Screen, to Track Pad and A14X.

I am expecting it more to be $699. With an 16GB RAM, 512GB version for $899. With a future 14" Model being $100 more.

Edit: Actually thinking about it may be that is why the 12" starts at $799, it will lower the price to $699 a year later to make way for $14".

The cheapest air is already cheaper than some higher-spec iPhones. But it will be interesting, whether they bring cellular connectivity to their laptops with Apple Silicon or whether that stays exclusive to iPhone and iPad.

Apple Silicon feels like the most exciting 'Apple computer' news since the launch of the Macintosh.

Typing this from a 16-inch MacBook Pro that cost me $5k, I know Apple loves to make money via raw sale price of premium hardware. Imagine what power they'll be able to pack into such a price once they apply Apple Silicon to the MBP. I'm thinking 128 or even 256 GB RAM, extraordinary processing speed options that are orders or magnitude faster than any other laptop (or even desktop), it's major major news.

The big question mark hanging over it is ability to run native Linux. I'm a Linux user, increasingly. We'll have to watch this space.

> extraordinary processing speed options that are orders or magnitude faster than any other laptop

If ARM-based chips can be "orders of magnitude" faster than x86, they'll already be dominating datacenters. The performance improvement in sustained compute (within a power envelope) will be incremental rather than the giant leap you're hoping for.

x86 CPUs do not execute their CISC instructions natively; they get decoded to simpler instructions. But the decoder consumes only around 5% of the power budget, so it's not like x86 is spending significant amounts of energy because of the legacy instruction set. Now, due to a decade of high-stakes innovation in the mobile market, ARM solutions will do significantly better in idle power consumption (which was essential for phones).

So, I'll expect way better standby and well managed low-power states/transitions. But a minor increase in full throttle power.

I haven’t been at Intel in ~8 years, but your description of the implementation of x86 is nothing like the processors I worked on. Admittedly, I never worked on the Xeons; but I would be surprised if decode were 12 watts on those platforms. My guess is that’s off by an easy 2 orders of magnitude.

My information is second-hand (I am a software guy); so feel free to correct me here for the benefit of other readers.

But here's a study which arrives at a number between 3-10%: https://www.usenix.org/system/files/conference/cooldc16/cool...

Yep, looks about right. That benchmark is designed to maximize the decoder cost of the CPU, while effectively idling the rest of the CPU. On some of the architectures I worked on, with the thermals turned off, you could decap the part with decode. But you could also do that by jamming the x87 unit, issuing L0 prefetch, etc. The same is true on the ARM parts I work on. In practice, though, user code doesn’t do this. I’d be interested to see this when the larger L$ are lit—they stop at L2.

Also, mops aren’t “RISC”; they’re mops. The only part of the x86 parts I worked in that used a decode ISA was the network & DMA, which desugared down to x86i.

> If ARM-based chips can be "orders of magnitude" faster than x86, they'll already be dominating datacenters.

Raw compute performance is the wrong metric for measuring data center worthiness. The correct metric is performance per dollar.

ARM in the DC currently suffers a lack of ARM-specific code optimizers and has to play catch-up in this regard. Amazon recently focused a squad of engineers on adding ARM 64 optimization to the Zend Optimizer in PHP 7.4 to an incremental effect, but then as some cruft is removed on the PHP 8 roadmap, that gain is around 15% in raw performance. Combine that with 20% lower pricing for comparable Graviton2 EC2 instances, and you’ve got a significant cost motivation to migrate to the ARM platform.


Expect AWS to dedicate engineering resource to similarly bring projects like Python, V8, LLVM, etc. into the ARM-future.

Note that in performance per dollar, the dollars include cost of the parts, fractional cost of rack space, watts consumed directly and watts consumed indirectly for cooling.

There’s also the fixed engineering costs for the life cycle of new hardware and for customers performing migration (where relevant).

That's interesting - do you have a source for 5% of the power budget spent on decoding?

Sorry, I can't recall where I read the 5% number, but here's a study which investigates the impact: https://www.usenix.org/system/files/conference/cooldc16/cool...

They put it at somewhere between 3-10%.

Thanks - and of course ARMv8 decoding will have some cost. I seem to recall that x64 has greater code density too so some offset there.

Directly booting into Linux sounds unlikely by what Federighi said. MacOS would be around as a hypervisor at least, but he claimed that this technology is efficient enough, that it doesn't make a practical difference.

I am doing my day-to-day work with Linux in a VMware VM on my MB Pro and couldn't be happier. When running fullscreen, I don't notice any difference to having a "native" Linux install, plus I am getting all the benefits of being able to suspend my VM, having several VMs and of course, switching to the macOS desktop is just a two finger swipe on my mouse. This really has become my favorite compute setup.

The big benefit of using VMware for this is, that the necessary "drivers" are open source and have been part of the Linux kernel for quite some time. So you don't need to install custom drivers in your VM any more. Expecially with very new Linux kernels this means, you don't have to wait for the VM provider to supply new drivers. Which is the one thing I didn't like about Parallels, it rarely supports the latest Linux kernels.

I'm not a dev, but for my particular use case this is my current observation:

Running Windows or Linux as a VM in macOS has terrible performance in VirtualBox right now (people are discussing it at length in VirtualBox forums). The expensive software Parallels is the only way for it to be usable. VMware is maybe OK, I don't use it much and only briefly tried it the other day.

It seems if you want to run Windows or Linux as a guest VM, it's better to make Linux your host OS than Mac. I also increasingly prefer open-source software, so VirtualBox at the very least is desirable. On macOS, that solution is not adequate right now.

Virtual box has always been a sub par experience on both Mac and Windows. Parallels is the best.

I stopped doing VMs and just ssh or Remote Desktop to my Linux and Windows boxes. For a little while I was running a small ESXI server.

Virtualbox is shit, agreed. Try Fusion, specifically the Technical Previews. They are free, and run like a dream(you can turn off debugging). https://blogs.vmware.com/teamfusion/2020/07/fusion-big-sur-t...

> Running Windows or Linux as a VM in macOS has terrible performance in VirtualBox right now (people are discussing it at length in VirtualBox forums).

That's my experience as well. Running macOS VM is even worse. My understanding is that it's because all of these rely heavily on 3D acceleration for the GUI and VirtualBox's acceleration support has not worked properly for a few years now. It's slightly better if you run VirtualBox in the low resolution mode but still not ideal (and of course the graphics are... low resolution). It's quite obvious that macOS hosts are not a priority for Oracle, I mean, a few VirtualBox releases couldn't even be installed (missing notarizations and one other occasion I cannot remember right now) and Oracle noticed only after people started complaining on the forums...

These says I use VirtualBox but in the headless mode and I connect to it via SSH and VS Code's SSH remote extension.

I only had good experiences with VMware on the Mac. You should give it a try. I prefer it to Parallels for the listed reasons.

I’ve been using VMWare Fusion since version 3 or so for work running Linux dev environments. It has generally worked great, which is more than I can say for VirtualBox. I do hope there will be a way to run x86 Linux VMs on Apple Silicon but not holding my breath.

Fusion Pro doesn’t have to be expensive either. It’s easy to find $5 gray market keys on eBay.

Wouldn’t know about that since I have no reason to pirate professional software, my company pays for the tools I need to do my job.

This is how I feel. It would be the first Apple hardware for me in almost two decades. It's definitely the nerd factor of the idea of having a well designed non-x86 laptop with good specs, but we're currently planning to evaluate arm based servers, so having that as your dev machine doesn't sound like the worst idea.

But I'm also exclusively using Linux nowadays, so I guess we'll have to watch this situation unfold for a while to see how viable running Linux on those is. I'm pretty sure it will be possible, but I'm not sure how much pain it will be.

I'm pretty encouraged at how far the Linux kernel's progressed with adding support for current modern MacBook hardware.

Every now and then I boot up a distro that tends to have quite bleeding edge kernel version like a Tails USB to see how complete the hardware compatibility is out of the box.

Apple's hardware like their trackpad remains superior enough that there seems to be enough interest (like you and me) in seeing it work.


I don't know if anyone else has caught up on this in the last two years since I went laptop shopping, but the trackpad quality is one of the only major things keeping me from buying a Windows laptop and installing Linux.

People bring this up, but honestly I’ve never noticed trackpad quality issues on other higher end PCs.

People are basing their OS choices on marginal difference in trackpad quality?

How about the fact that with macOS your tied to one vendor and their hardware choices (keyboard /ports etc). I don’t have a new MacBook(work machine 5yrs old), but I didn’t love the giant trackpad on the one I borrowed.

As an example of a hardware issue on the XPS 13, the trackpad is hinged from the top near the spacebar.

That means that it either requires more force to click the higher up that pad you go or you have to click more precisely at the bottom of that pad.

That's been a non-issue even before they moved to the artificial click mechanism.

Me too. I've never been a 'fanboy' of any given manufacturer or ecosystem. Even while still a Windows user I starting moving my laptop hardware to Apple in 2010 once I saw it clearly was the best. I painfully lived through the awful #keyboardgate years in 2017-19 and lived to tell the tale, and I'll only move to a different 'whole package' that's superior as soon once someone actually makes one. I recently realised maybe trackpad isn't everything, and I guess it's not. It's about the balance of the whole package. Since I adore macOS anyway (it's like a half Linux what with homebrew), I have no problem with it for now.

As of a couple of years ago, last time I checked, macbook’s wifi stack was totally nonfunctional on Linux. Has that changed?

Update: I see from your link it works on 2/8 tested. Better than nothing.

How would make ARM chip DDR RAM cheaper? I expect Apple to finally fix cooling and power management, but that is all.

By saving money on CPU, they can now pack in more RAM to keep the price up, and give the machines a competitive edge.

RAM Prices on Mac where never reasonable.

Upgrade prices where never reasonable.

Why would Apple ever reduce upgrade prices just because they might save 100$ on a CPU?

And why would you assume that the development of your own inhouse ARM CPU would make such a financial difference? After all, you have to develop a CPU.

And what? Apple reports over 25% profit; Why would you even assume that Apple is doing anything for you? They could easily reduce there profit margin for you. They don't.

It's a fallacy to believe that costs have anything to do with prices, except as a lower bound.

I wonder how much they’ll save. They sell millions of cpus and can distribute the engineering cost across them, but compared to amds/intels processor numbers it seems small.

Plus it seems that the fact that they now need developer to write video drivers/ compiler optimizations etc are all additional costs.

They payoff can be big, but so are the risks.

Anyway Apple charges too much for DRAM capacity CTO option so Apple could cut prices now if they wish.

I think we will see custom acceleration hardware in the future to support stuff like video editing

Don't most computers already have hardware accelerated encode/decode via cpu/gpu?

The real point is, Apple is an integration company that has now added self-made silicon to its toolset. Whereas in the past, they created the M chips for tracking motion in phones and watches, and the T chips for Secure Enclave and Secure Storage, the roadmap Apple displayed during the keynote indicates they are going to create specialty chips for any application that makes sense.

How big is that market?

Big enough that they already sell an fpga card for the Mac pro to do it.

Huge. Everyone edits video now.

Yea, not in a way that requires specialized hardware though. Edits on the phone are already virtually instantaneous.

… because of the specialised hardware and the tiny video resolutions supported.


2688x1242 isn’t tiny.

Neither is 4K at 60fps.

Without color grading or other usual video correction.

Once you start to tinker with your images, the picture change quite a lot for the cpu/gpu

>'Imagine what power they'll be able to pack into such a price once they apply Apple Silicon to the MBP. I'm thinking 128 or even 256 GB RAM ...'

I'm interested in why you think Apple will be able to build an integrated memory controller for a laptop that is capable or 128 Gigs or 256 Gig of RAM. Most laptops with Intel were stuck at 16 Gigs of RAM for years although more recently that has increased. My understanding about the reason for this is that these high capacity integrated memory controllers are very difficult to design. Is there something specific to ARM that would make iterating on these easier for Apple than it has been for Intel?

Apple learned (prior to 16”) that a large number of customers want to run huge VMs, load massive AI models and have faster imaging performance that comes with higher memory limits. I don’t think they are going to ever want to introduce another Prosumer machine that people slam publicly that hard again, plus they can’t exactly use the iPad Pro memory controller so they are designing a new one anyway.

Isn't it possible to buy most high-end smartphones with 256 gig of RAM?

That’s storage, not RAM. 8GB of RAM is still a large amount for a phone.

> The big question mark hanging over it is ability to run native Linux.

I wouldn't not be surprised if Apple took every measure possible to make it impossible to run Linux on their new machines.

It is not clear to me, why they would care much about it. The selling point of Macs is to a large amount macOS. On the other side, at least for now, it is announced that Apple Silicon hardware only boots into signed operation systems, which currently is only macOS. I would assume, that means there is little chance to run Linux natively on Apple Silicon. On the other side, virtualisation technology is part of macOS, so there should be good support to run Linux inside a virtualized environment. They even showcased Linux during the keynote.

The only selling point for many developers is that you need a Mac to compile a program for iOS.

Apple would have never gotten any of my money if it weren’t for that.

I am a developer owning a Mac and having never written an iOS application in my life. So yes, that you have to have a Mac to do iOS development did add customers to the Mac platform, but there are many more reasons to own a Mac. For the general consumer it is an attractive platform too, as it is still very easy to use and maintenance is minimal.

I don’t get the “So yes” part. If you develop for non-Apple platforms on a Mac, it is because of X, Y and Z not because you have “never written an iOS application.” As far as a “general consumer,” they had all be using iPad, Dex or Chromebook by now.

The "so yes" refers to the fact, that some of the Macs are bought just for iOS development, but not the majority. I see a lot of people using Macs just as a general computer and a lot of those Macs are laptops of course. I have not even seen a Chromebook used yet and also don't know anyone using an iPad for typical computer work.

we'll see.

for the moment, most people i know complain about poor performances of linux vms in mac os, particularly when running docker (that gets pretty i/o intensive when dealing with images).

> at least for now, it is announced that Apple Silicon hardware only boots into signed operation systems

this alone already rules out gnu/linux i guess?

It really depends. After all, there are UEFI x86 systems using secure boot to boot Linux, but there was also Microsoft's vision of ARM (spec outright prohibits user managed keys, and nobody's shipping with anything but Microsoft keys).

> but there was also Microsoft's vision of ARM (spec outright prohibits user managed keys, and nobody's shipping with anything but Microsoft keys).

Indeed. "Microsoft <3 Linux" they say. Right...

Yes, unless Apple signs some boot loader for Linux, that would rule out Linux booting.

Secure Boot can be disabled on Arm macs...

Do you think that or do you know that? The hardware is unreleased yet, so how do you know?

Apple explicitly said it during WWDC sessions. (this one: https://developer.apple.com/videos/play/wwdc2020/10686)

They don't need to spend any intentional effort on this. There's already the massive obstacle for a good desktop experience: no open GPU driver for Apple GPUs.

Even before that, there's the question of how they enumerate devices on the platform, how standard or custom the peripherals are…

Yes, they are going to spent a lot of money to prevent their customers from installing Linux. All two of them.

FWIW they haven't even invested the tiniest amount of effort into stopping people from installing MacOS on "Hackintoshs". And that practice is probably more widespread than Linux-on-Macbook, and has a more obvious theory of revenue impact.

(It wouldn't be possible to completely make it impossible without "trusted computing" hardware, or, coincidentally, switching hardware platforms to something not available on the generic market. But they certainly could think of a new trick to make life miserable for these users with any point update, and yet I found MacOS offered better support for my random hardware than Linux, without even trying.)

The end effect may be (almost) the same, but I see them make no effort to make it possible to run Linux on their new machines, not take “every measure possible to make it impossible to run Linux on their new machines”.

Thevy've already said there will be no Bootcamp, my guess is running Linux on Apple Silicon is as likely as running Linux on an iPad.

Did they not already commit to running VMs on Big Sur on their ARM chips? ARM-based Linux exists and will run full speed. Because they are kicking kext’s to the curb and stepping up with their own virtualized hardware drivers, we may not have to keep waiting decades for VMware or others to pull their head out with respect to 3D support. The best GUI apps already run on iPad and all of them run on ARM Macs so I doubt new Apple is thinking like they need to hobble the VMs to prevent Linux GUIs from taking off.

But booting these Macs into anything but BigSur is not happening as accessing the hardware without using Apple’s drivers could cause product returns.

A MacBook carved out of a single, atomically perfect crystal of silicon.

Heavy as fsck but oh so pretty.

Just don’t drop it.

I also found it to be really strange that this article dropped the “Apple” in “Apple Silicon”. As if having chips made from silicon is the defining characteristic of these new laptops. Or maybe the whole thing is just a solid block of silicon.

I also find it impressive that Apple managed to get us all saying “Apple Silicon” instead of “processor” or “CPU” in the first place. It does have a much hipper ring to it.

> I also find it impressive that Apple managed to get us all saying “Apple Silicon” instead of “processor” or “CPU” in the first place. It does have a much hipper ring to it.

Credit where it is due, Apple knows how to name.

Many technology pundits fail to understand (or perhaps more to the point believe) Apple's naming choices, with "iPad" being a notable recent-ish example. [0]

Even many who "get" Apple's product naming can misjudge. I personally was unmoved by the name "iMac" when it was announced in 1998. However, that leading lowercase "i" was a stroke of marketing genius so broad that it is only just now diminishing some twenty years later.

[0] https://www.cultofmac.com/310020/ipad-haters-5th-anniversary...

That, and how Apple got nearly everyone (unconsciously?) dropping the indefinite article before their product name (e.g. "On iPad, ..." "...never had this issue with iPhone")

I never fail to notice it--it nearly drives me crazy.

I prefer ‘silicon’ to ‘CPU’ because it makes it clearer Apple intends to compete on the GPU front too.

That's why we call them Systems-on-a-Chip, or SoCs.

Silicon is just slang to describe chips without referring to their actual model names and specs (yet) —someone in Marketing (Phil?) saw how the religious faithful began to worship the “A” series chips in the blogosphere and capitalized the S in silicon during this interim period. Brilliant!

But as far as the “Bionic” chips in the iPhones, I think Apple execs should stay away from pot shops and happy hours

"They're toasted"

A bit like saying something is "curated" instead of restricted, if you can make something ordinary sound extraordinary you're on to a marketing winner.

It'll be interesting to see if capital-s Silicon becomes synonymous with Apple SOCs. After all, Chrome did it to user interfaces and nobody bats an eyelid about that any more.

self powered from photovoltaic case

includes degreaser to remove fingerprints

The possibility of new AirPort gear is just as exciting as new ARM based laptops, I could use an update to my old AirPort Express units.

The last few Apple laptop I’ve had for work has been annoying at best, so for home use I wasn’t going to replace my old 2013 Macbook Pro with a new Mac, but I am tempted to try an ARM based Macbook.

Yes, this is an interesting rumor. While the typical DSL routers have become quite nice (Fritzbox), so having WIFI pretty much works as easily as it should, there is one big gap in the current Apple lineup: time machine. For me, time machine is a very important feature. With a desktop mac, it is as easy as it could be, plug in an external USB drive and you are set up. For truely mobile devices, this is still missing. So I would definitely like to have an AirPort with good time machine support. Ideally, supporting external drives with USB for that, as the old time capsule was a nice product but had hilarious high drive costs.

What is preventing you from setting up a Samba share on your home network? I can even VPN into my home and back up on the go. Upload would take forever depending on your upload speed.

To be honest, I haven't even tried, as currently I privately don't own an Apple laptop I had to back up. But then, you need a machine to host that Samba share. For many users, the laptop is the only computer they own, so having a very simple way of setting up a time machine volume sounds like a great thing to have.

To me it is even more exciting than ARM MacBook.

Airport Extreme was the last Router where I dont have to restart it every few months. It was stable, rock solid. And you only realise how much better it is once you switch to something else.

I wonder if it would still be based on NetBSD? And TimeCapsule?

> Airport Extreme was the last Router where I dont have to restart it every few months.

Give Ubiquiti a try. Mine has been running for several years and I’ve never had to restart it.

Ubiquity is good, but honestly not any faster than the 6 year airport extremes since they both run on 802.11ac.

Things might be different now with Wifi6 but there really hasn’t been a single reason to go beyond an AirPort Extreme for 6 solid years.

>Things might be different now with Wifi6 but there really hasn’t been a single reason to go beyond an AirPort Extreme for 6 solid years.

I was an idiot to want and buy a faster 802.11ac Router, I gave away my AirPort Extreme to my friend and bought an ASUS. It was faster, slightly better coverage / reception. But in the end I discover I value stability over absolutely everything.

I cant remember what problem I had with Ubnt when I had one set up in my friends house.

(Not OP but) I refuse to even consider Ubiquiti because of their GPL/linux shenanigans.

I have a router based on https://pcengines.ch/ and OpenWRT. It's great, I never have to restart it and it supports all sorts of good networking fun for me to work with.

Guess they are getting tired of the support hassles from having hacked Chinese routers (Asus, D-Stink, etc) between the Apple servers and hundreds of millions of iPads and iPhone users.


You are running a 2013 Macbook Pro; there is no clear benefit for you buying a Macbook from 2020 with or without ARM at all.

Its absolutly unreasonable, if you are already running your Macbook from 2013, that the ARM will give YOU anything relevant extra as the general upgrade from a 7 year old device.

The professors bound for the 2020 Macbook (actually the one's already in the iPhones - the Macbook one's would be an even later model) are already faster than the 2013 Macbook Pro.

Plus all the other niceties, like USB-3, modern bluetooth, better integrated graphics, a faster and bigger SSD, more RAM, and so on.

Oh, and the ability to run future-proof on the ARM version of Big Sur (and run iOS apps, and other things).

It's not even comparable...

I'm not sure if my original comment is to unclear:

If someone with a Device from 2013, really waits for the ARM Version of a Mac Book, that person will not have any advantage to a normal intel cpu based Mac Book because EVERY device which is 7 years younger is so much faster anyway.

You don’t think the ARM Macbook of 2020 will be faster than the 2013 Intel based Macbook Pro?

Working on my hobby AppleTV app is doable on the 2013 laptop, it’s just annoyingly slow. I would hope that the ARM perform better.

I believe they were saying that the difference between ARM 2020 and <anything else> 2020 would be marginal, compared to the difference of <anything> 2013 to <anything> 2020.

Could you elaborate, in what way(s) is it slow?

Please don't downvote, I'm just curious.

This is just a rumor posted from some random twitter account. Take it with a grain of salt.

The MacBook 12 is my favorite laptop of all time. If Apple comes out with same form factor with a little better performance, I'll get it in a heartbeat

A price point of $800 needs to be compared with that of the base iPad pro - currently $799. So if no change to the iPad pricing that's (at least) a keyboard and bigger screen for $1. Seems to me that one of these values will need to change.

An alternative speculation: after saying effectively that iPad pro can be your laptop, the next iPad pro will be a laptop.

I think it's an even money that Apple Silicon will mark the introduction of touch to macOS. In fact with Apple planning to make a big deal out of Silicon Macs natively supporting iOS apps, I'll be surprised if these Macs don't have multi-touch screens.

Apple has always been big on forcing app developers to rewrite UIs to the device, like they did with the iPhone-to-iPad transition. Without touch on Mac, many iOS apps are going to be janky as hell; an incredibly un-Apple thing indeed.

Alternatively 12.9 inch iPad Pro with 256GB is already $100 more expensive than the MacBook Air so who knows?

Well the Screen is much different. You dont get Pro Motion on Mac yet, and you wont ever get it at this price point on the Mac Lineup.

Very good point. I do wonder how many buyers are aware of this though?

Depends I guess. I dont think the MacBook and iPad Pro are aiming at the same group of customers.

iPad Pro are aiming at Professionals, from CAD, 3D, PhotoEditing with Apple Pencil, Those will care about the screen. And they knew and understand why it is more expensive to make low latency input. At 9ms it is already one of the best in the industry, and I would not be surprised it they continue to work on lowering it.

Macbook ( The non Pros ) are aiming at casual computing users, in terms of customer group they are more likely to be overlap with iPad and iPad Air. But then both iPad and iPad Air are more towards a consumption devices more than productivity. If they are students, Keyboard and Mouse is still a much better experience for wiring up your homework. Of course you can get a keyboard for iPad as well.

I agree 100% that Apple are aiming at creative professionals. I do think that actual buyers are a lot more diverse though.

I've seen lots of iPad Pros in use in business meetings where the user is almost certainly not aware of the screen. In some cases it's because they just want a bigger screen. In others just because they wanted 'the best' iPad and the cost wasn't an issue. (I've actually heard someone come into an Apple store and just ask for the best iPad irrespective of cost!)

If Apple actually sells it at $800 this will be huge. I assume it will ship with some virtualization software and the real question for me is how well that will work. Even if that doesn't work, at $800 it's definitely going to be a better deal than chromebooks or surface laptops assuming it can do things other than surf the web and email.

They talked a bit about Rosetta 2 in the presentation a few weeks ago, it’s an emulator rather than virtualisation. Their main trick was that it does most of the translation at install time instead of runtime, though I guess it’ll depend on app specifics how useful that optimisation is. I’m guessing a browser won’t be improved much for example while a native office package would be. Pretty decent write up here: https://www.theverge.com/21304182/apple-arm-mac-rosetta-2-em...

It’s also hardware-accelerated via special features in Apple silicon.

Very interesting, thanks for sharing

They also showed Parallels running a Linux VM, so virtualization is there of course.

My fanless 12" ARM Chromebook does have a terminal and linux builtin, as well as a retina-like screen resolution. It also costs only 400$. At twice the cost, an ARM Macbook should allow me to do dev work and brew etc.

I've tried to look for resources around doing any real local development with an ipad pro (a device that's already using apple silicon) and the best advice I've found is basically hacks to get a VM running in digital ocean to do your 'compute'.

Not a huge fan of this. I'm hoping you it's not like the ARM ecosystem with Windows where things are heavily nerfed (Surface Pro X) to the point where you can't do anything that resembles proper development.

Proper MacOS, full full system access, ability to run docker and run golang builds, node runtime, python etc natively and locally on the device are a must. Native terminal app (obviously) is a must with the option of running something like iTerm2 etc. I had a chromebook before with crostini and that was a shitty experience for a fanless dev machine. I hope apple can do it right.

side nitpick: i don't align with the apple haters out there who wanna pick at things like the use of the word 'silicon' by apple.

> Proper MacOS, full full system access, ability to run docker and run golang builds, node runtime, python etc natively and locally on the device are a must.

You’ll get all of that, don’t worry.

This would be an absolute game changer.

Everyone aspires to own a Macbook but either flat out can't afford one or can't justify the price. (I'm in the second camp)

This changes all of that.

This sounds like a bubble effect. None of my friends have ever expressed interest in trading their windows laptops in for a Mac. Some of them actively avoid Apple products with well reasoned justification.

Apple are usually careful not to announce new hardware until it's just about ready to ship (with the occasional exception coughAirPowercough), but in this case (assuming the report is correct) I suspect they'll be making an exception. Four months between announcing Apple Silicon and the first hardware hitting retail seems far too short for developers to properly prepare. So I'm guessing that this will be an announcement well in advance of hardware shipping, maybe early next year, to give developers a clear target to aim for (both a hardware target and a calendar target).

I strongly disagree. Apple needs real hardware in stores in order to get Apple Silicon into the hands of the long tail of Mac developer community and to light a fire under developers to get their stuff released.

As for most "normal" customers, these first Apple Silicon devices are going to be perfectly usable on day one—whether they're spending 99% of their time in a web browser or running some outdated finance software through Rosetta. And natively compiled software is going to come thick and fast over the next few months.

As for timing, with the pandemic flattening demand for semiconductors, Apple will have no trouble getting their supply chains running. I'll be shocked if we don't see Apple Silicon Macs in stores by December.

The devkit is already pretty close to something I'd consider acceptable as a primary machine without any work from non-apple developers at all. Firefox and Chrome really need native builds, but the emulation is good enough for most programs even with the devkit having a CPU that's two generations behind what's expected to ship in the real thing.

Apple is happy to preannounce entirely new product lines, like AirPower. It never pre-announces new versions of current products, see: Osborne disaster.

And developers already have Apple Silicon development machines, see WWDC announcements.

I really hope the name Silicon is not used officially.

Apple Silicon is the official name for their ARM processors, it was used heavily in the reveal at WWDC by Apple.

I think in reporter briefings it's been said that this is a placeholder name.

I think they’ve been mentioning it far too often if it was.

It is exciting as a new technology, but from a business standpoint... I suspect specs will be in par with the failed 12inch macbook, with this being a price corrected product, a 1st prototype, and as a strategy improvement parallel to Microsoft’s failed ARM launch.

A) the first device of any product line is not the one to watch for consumer reactions. It's for developers and early adopters. I would not expect this to be a commercial success.

B) the 12 inch macbook is probably my favorite device, though I really hope they keep the top line of keys. It's so thin, the battery lasts forever, and somehow it performs better than my xps 13 running linux (in interaction latency, not computational throughput).

With the Apple Silicon, it should last even longer and perform much better.

but the first intel macbook was a hit, wasn't it? The 13" sold for 1000$ and worked like a charm, which was surprising.

The 13” was a great laptop too. The 12” I have has a single usb-c port and a headphone port, which I suspect is a big reason it didn’t take off.

It’s soooo light though, I still love it.

Finally, I think the risks here are far more clear than a new laptop form factor.

I would think a better point of reference is the iPad pro. The 12" macbook was fairly anemic by comparison.

Can they really trademark the name of an element? That seems absurd.

I don't see any real suggestion that they'd do so. Apple has referred to their hardware in developer documentation as "Apple Silicon" -- possibly to avoid trademark issues with ARM? -- but I expect them to use the same naming scheme they use for their iOS application processors (like "Apple A16X") once they have a product ready for market. MacWorld's use of phrases like "Apple's Silicon processor" is likely to just represent confusion on the part of the journalist.

As an aside, I have a very hard time believing that Apple would reenter the networking industry. Consumer wireless access points are a commodity product at this point -- it'd be difficult for Apple to present a compelling premium option, especially when many consumers are satisfied with the one that came built into their cable modem.

> possibly to avoid trademark issues with ARM

I suspect it's more of a branding/positioning thing. ARM has an association with low power devices like smartphones, and Apple wants to position this as something new, exciting, and better than x86.

Apple Silicon encompasses more than the ARM CPU. It also includes an Apple GPU, Apple Neural Engine, Secure Enclave and more. If you only point to the ARM part you overlook most of the other parts of the chip. The CPU cores are like less than 25% of the layout?

Layout of the A12: https://cdn.iphoneincanada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/A12...

I mean, by that logic, does calling a modern intel cpu x86 discount the integrated graphics, which are also very significant?

There is still one area of networking that isn't well solved, and that's captive wifi. A device that I can plug into the wall in a hotel or airport and magically have all my apple devices on the internet would be handy.

If they made an airport express that did that, I'd probably get it (once we can travel again).

I bought a cheap travel router from GL.INET which creates the same SSID as my home, and automatically establishes a VPN with my home. It can get its connectivity from an upstream WiFi, from an Ethernet port or from whatever (4g stick, mobile phone with usb tethering ability) you plug in its USB port.

It was all of 19 bucks IIRC.

Which home device/software is running the VPN server?

The endpoint is a Ubiquiti Edgerouter. I also have a pi behind it which acts as openvpn endpoint, with a port forward on the edgerouter

Apple’s HomeKit for routers integration isn’t being adopted very well so doing it themselves makes sense to me.

It works well with the Eero routers.

Plus, I seem to recall them disbanding that particular team…


Apple already trademarked "Carbon", and some others like: Aqua, Bonjour, Cocoa, Instruments, Logic, Metal, New York

What's next? A fruit name?

This trend of using "silicon" as a phrase for computing hardware is silly anyway.

I was super annoyed by it since I've read this marbleous piece of work in Windows Blog [0] years ago.

> Silicon innovation

> silicon partners

> silicon features

> silicon supported virtualization

> with a focus on Windows and silicon

and wait for it

> deep integration between silicon, platform, and hardware

At least nobody would be able to use it anymore without infringing if Apple has trademarked it.

[0] https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/2016/01/15/windo...

You can trademark "Apple Silicon" (both words together with caps)

a trademark is much different than a copyright or patent. It is only a brand name, and there are no requirements regarding the substantialness of the underlying thing to which it refers. Copyright has an extremely low bar, as well, but it has a bar. You could trademark the wheel if you wanted to, or your brand of the holy bible.

They already trademarked a fruit.

I don't think they are going to call it just "Silicon", this article headline is the first time I've seen that used. It will be Apple Silicon, or something new entirely.

You can trademark ~anything but it might not stand up in court. Then again, who is going to take Apple to court? For them it's just cheap insurance.

You have to have the trademark approved, and they don't really care how big your company is, they will not approve a trademark for the word silicon. See: clothing brand Supreme's attempt to trademark their Supreme logo on a red background.

If apple combines the word with a unique logo or combines it with some other word, they can get the trademark, but you can't get it for the word silicon by itself.

Apple has a trademark on the word Apple in the computer space.

Yes, but silicon is a common word in tech.

"Windows" was a common word in tech, but Microsoft managed to get a trademark on that.

Would a device like this be more powerful than my early 2015 MBP?

Yes. The A12Z in the ipad pro is already 25% faster is in single core and 50% faster in multicore than the highest end i7 in the 2015 macbook pro according to geekbench 5.

Given that the chip in macbooks will be a lot faster than the A12Z, it could very well offer twice the multicore performance.

> geekbench 5

Now try some math workload on A12Z, i.e. real-world stuff and weep. Most of the die space on x64 CPUs is spent on caches and SSE, so if you cut them out to be more power-friendly, you lose performance in high-end applications.

For the real-world performance thing I care about (compiling code), the devkit has comparable per-core performance to the i7-7700K in my 2017 imac.

What makes you believe Apple doesn’t know this or has removed them?

A12Z is still using ARM 8.3 instruction set, therefore no 2048-bit SVE2 for math. Their L1 cache is also 2x smaller than on Zen 2 - that gives them a massive power advantage. I'd wait out this generation of ARM-based notebooks and go with their next CPU that should have SVE2 implemented.

It's not like anything faster than Pentium J is needed for Office, browsing or even front-end development, so in that segment their first gen should be good enough and maybe even better than i3/i5.

The new Apple Silicon laptop chips will be based on the same core used in the A14, not the one in the A12. Rumors have pegged the entry level laptop chip at 8 big cores and 4 little cores.

However, it will be interesting to see if that A14 big core implements the ARMv9 instruction set, which is said to be imminent. Apple did implement the ARMv8 instruction set much earlier than it's competitors, so there is a bit of a history there.

ARM teased new features like an up to 2048 bit SIMD implementation with SVE2 and Transactional Memory for the ARMv9 instruction set back in early 2019, but has mostly been quiet.


SVE is a niche HPC thing just like AVX512. For most applications NEON (aka AdvSIMD) is more than enough.

Agreed, but the A12Z is an iPad processor. It's not likely to be what they're releasing as a laptop processor.

It will be interesting to see if the MacBooks are first Apple products to use the TSMC 5nm process. Might make sense given the lower volume when compared to iPhones.

There's a reason why Apple hired hundreds of chip designers away from Portland's Intel site and set up a chip designer center in Portland.

It better have more than one port. Remember why people didn’t buy the 12” MacBook?

One main advantage of going to their own silicon is, that Apple is no longer dependant on the decisions of Intel, what kind and number of ports the machine should have. Then designing USB-C/Thunderbolt support, they can add as many ports as they want to the chipset. For the MacBook, 2 ports would be nice, as we have today on the MB Air. However I don't think the ports were the biggest reason that people didn't buy the 12" MB. The Intel CPUs were just too constrained when running in a machine without a fan, the Apple Silicon should improve upon this a lot. The butterfly keyboard didn't help things either.

I don't think Intel is the reason for the few ports though... No other intel laptop has such few ports. It's Apple's own minimalism (and their extremely lucrative dongle business)

Yes and no. The problem is, the chipsets limit the number of thunderbolt ports you can offer without adding separate interface chips. That is why many other laptops come with one or two thunderbolt ports too. What Apple could have done, is offering plain USB ports etc., which the chipset would support. But as Apple wants all ports to have the same capabilities, they were quite limited by the maximum amount of thunderbolt ports supported.

While I think it would have been very convenient to add at least one USB-A style port and perhaps a dedicated HDMI port to their machines, I quite agree how nice it is, that all USB-C style ports do have the same capabilities.

I don't think that was the reason people didn't buy it. It was perfect as a travel companion laptop, but I think the market for people buying multiple laptops is extremely small.

I want a touchscreen too.

Who knows if these pricing rumors are real, but what’s interesting is that if everyone keeps talking about how these machines are going to be quite a bit cheaper, Apple might be forced to actually make them cheaper than they would have otherwise. If they come out with more expensive ones, it’ll be a bad look.

Awesome. But I want a laptop that costs $2500, has a 4:3 Flexview screen, the old IBM keyboard and does not look like an ugly fashion accessory.

And I don't like LED backlight:


The $999 MacBook Air comes with a core i3. Where is the purported $200 cost saving coming from?


According to the WSJ $75 to $150 per Mac could be saved.


>The new Mac processors will shave $75 to $150 off the cost of building a computer, estimate analysts, who say Apple can pass those savings on to customers and shareholders.

They can get rid of the T2, inlining those functions on the main SoC, which should also simplify the motherboard design. Realistically though, I don’t expect them to undercut that $999 price tag much, if at all.

Apple silicon.

How much is an i3? Surely well under $200.

A saving of $100 from BOM would translate to $200 reduction in SRP. Remember this isn't just CPU, but CPU + Chipset and other smaller components.

Apple could easily make that saving and more. You can also look at iPad Pro selling price as reference.

This. Also, there is a possibility Apple is willing to forego some profit (make only 70% rather than 100% profit) as a strategy to seed the market in order to give developers an incentive to adopt ARM faster.

Their push into services would be helped by having more volume products. I'm suspect this is why the iPhone SE was priced so low.

They already have distributed cheap developer machines.

And their profit on Mac hardware is only 15-20%. You may price at double build costs, but there is still design, R&D, testing, sales, marketing, distribution, support, warranty costs and admin overhead to be accounted for.

An i3 laptop has more Intel silicon in it than just the i3.

It also requires more energy, which means larger batteries, which means more dollars.


>The new Mac processors will shave $75 to $150 off the cost of building a computer, estimate analysts, who say Apple can pass those savings on to customers and shareholders.

$200-300. Intel's site doesn't list a price for the exact part that's in the current Air, but a similar part is $281.


Apple doesn't pay anywhere near full retail.

Sure, but if Apple saves $100 in material costs, this means something like $200 less on the list price. The build and parts costs are usually less then half of the sales price.

The quoted price is not retail, it is volume pricing at 1,000 units for direct customers.

Lol $800. This is Apple we're talking about. Just the logo on the front will cost $800 (just joking). But really, this is way below Apple's normal pricing.

It would cannibalise the iPad Pro very much too, considering the price of those + keyboard stand is much higher.

Unless they deliberately give up some of their huge margins in order to get these in circulation ASAP, I don't see this happening. The first ARM will be a premium product for them. I don't think it will carry a budget price. No MacBook has been this cheap since the MB Air 11" which was a really underpowered 1.4Ghz / 2GB RAM model.

Apples Mac margins are in the 15-30% range. They will price to maintain those margins, so if they can build a viable $800 MacBook at those margins they will take the additional market share.

The iPad Air was a $500+ tablet until they were able to build a $299 model at same margins.

But 15-30% is huge in the computer market. 10% is normal to consumers and much less to enterprise customers that demand deep discounts.

I doubt they'd keep the same margin if they really offer it at $800. I don't think they'd save that much by cutting intel out, especially if you factor in R&D. Pretty sure they're cutting into their margins at that price, but it would be good for them to get ARM in the hands of consumers so that developers have a reason to work on it.

It’s huger than you think, the rest of the PC makers are stuck between 1-4% net profit margins.

But their pricing isn’t going to be greatly influenced by R&D costs, it’s going to be driven by hardware costs. Those R&D costs are ongoing expenses, Apple is always working on new technologies. A rough rule of thumb is retail is twice hardware costs. Most Intel CPUs cost between $200 and $300 each, while Ax processors in iPads and iPhones cost less than $100 each. And another big factor is the SOCs for Apple Silicon will integrate lots of capabilities that require separate cards or coprocessors on current Macs, including high performance GPUs, the T2 security chip, etc.

So it’s reasonable to think Apple will be saving $100 to $200 in hardware costs for the Apple Silicon “equivalents” of their current lineup (Equivalents in positioning, but faster, slimmer and longer battery life versions). That directly translates $200-$400 lower retail prices, which Apple will use to drive higher sales volumes. That will spread R&D, Design, Marketing, Sales, Admin, and Support over more units, supporting spending more to promote and sell them and more on design and R&D in the future.

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