OS X ARM-64 Bit?

So far there’s two rumors circulating about next weeks event, a 12" iPad Pro and a 12" MacBook Air… I personally don’t see a 12" MBA, then again I hoped Apple wasn’t building a watch! However I do wonder if we may see a ARM-64 powered MacBook Air. Apple’s A7 chip (in my iPhone 5S) is only half as fast as the Core i7 (in my rMBP '12). So it seems that a low budget MBA running a ARM chip is feasible in terms of performance and not to mention the A8 chip has such great power consumption, that it might give us laptops with 24hr battery life.

The downside, is it will be yet another target for Xojo to support. Add more frustration for us developers, and if ARM powered surface tablets are anything to go by, it could be a flop!

Thoughts?

The closest equivalent in the PC world was the netbooks, which did not have the landslide success some had predicted… But who knows ? Apple is able of the most surprising moves. Going for less powered than the current line does not seem like what they have accustomed us to, though.

Talking about computer power:

The power of my MacBook Pro (2011-11, i7 8 cores…) made a significant jump in term of power and time of starting (45 seconds) and even sometimes in running applications since I changed the hard drive of starting (500MB 4200rpm vs 1TB 7200rpm). Nothing more when I upgraded the RAM from 4GB to 8GB.

So, the processor brute force is not always the limiting part in a computer.

Unless what they launch is an ‘iPad with a keyboard’
You dont sell ‘this is slower’
You sell ‘this looks cool and the battery lasts longer than you do’

Dont forget ‘half as fast as a macbook air’ is still ‘a lot faster than a pentium desktop 8 years ago’
(on paper)
And I dont recall sitting in front of one of those saying ‘this is unusable…’’

Surface went after iPad but didn’t make a dent. But one of its ‘big selling points’ was the funky detachable keyboard.
There’s loads of third party keyboards for the iPad- maybe Apple want a slice of that.

[quote=134332:@Jeff Tullin]Unless what they launch is an ‘iPad with a keyboard’
You dont sell ‘this is slower’
You sell ‘this looks cool and the battery lasts longer than you do’

Dont forget ‘half as fast as a macbook air’ is still ‘a lot faster than a pentium desktop 8 years ago’
(on paper)
And I dont recall sitting in front of one of those saying ‘this is unusable…’’

Surface went after iPad but didn’t make a dent. But one of its ‘big selling points’ was the funky detachable keyboard.
There’s loads of third party keyboards for the iPad- maybe Apple want a slice of that.[/quote]

This is exactly the prospective I develop in the https://forum.xojo.com/16166-scary-statistics-show-desktop-dropping-fast thread : laptops replaced by tablets with detachable keyboards. The transformer category of computers is a good candidate : much better keyboard than the Surface, with a better processor, but yet, the touch screen detaches and it becomes a tablet.

Apple will still have an equation to solve if it wants to foray there, though : Mac OS X is not quite touch enabled yet, although they have been working on it since at least since 2010
http://www.nbcnews.com/id/38839050/ns/technology_and_science-tech_and_gadgets/t/touch-enabled-imac-macbook-shown-apple-patent-filing/
http://www.macrumors.com/2010/06/22/apple-to-launch-ios-enabled-imac-with-touch-interface/

The simplest way to go would be for them to use iOS, since it is their touch enabled OS, but then it would not be a MacBook, but an iPad with an attachable keyboard.

That said, since they have had the gestures and magic trackpad for quite a while, Mac OS X can probably be touchified fairly easily.

I agree with you, what I have realized is that most people don’t care too much. Heck my wife’s been using a '07 iMac with 4Gb for many years (need to check the benchmark). She’s just changed to a brand new MacBook Air and loves how quick it is (Core i5), the biggest speed boost IMHO is the SSD, which I’m certain a ARM-64 laptop would have.

Don’t forget iOS is basically OS X with a different interface (and some different frameworks). So it wouldn’t take their engineering much effort to port the rest over to ARM, I’m sure they already have it running on ARM. After all every version of OS X was built for Intel, even before Apple switched to Intel chips!

Well, if Apple announces an ARM Macbook, all those Xcode developers property press a button in Xcode to upgrade project (add arm compiler option and make fat binary) and within a few weeks, all the App Store apps can support it.

Except the Xojo apps. :frowning:

LOL Christian your sarcasm is evil :wink:

[quote=134365:@Christian Schmitz]Well, if Apple announces an ARM Macbook, all those Xcode developers property press a button in Xcode to upgrade project (add arm compiler option and make fat binary) and within a few weeks, all the App Store apps can support it.

Except the Xojo apps. :-([/quote]

Frightening times :frowning:

[quote=134324:@Sam Rowlands]
The downside, is it will be yet another target for Xojo to support. [/quote]
iOS compiler IS for ARM so …

IF Apple had looked at sales of PC “tablets” prior to intruding the iPad they’d have never entered the market.
They didn’t.
They now sell more computers (computers + phones + tablets) than any other manufacturer on the planet.

[quote=134331:@Emile Schwarz]
The power of my MacBook Pro (2011-11, i7 8 cores…) made a significant jump in term of power and time of starting (45 seconds) and even sometimes in running applications since I changed the hard drive of starting (500MB 4200rpm vs 1TB 7200rpm). [/quote]
Swap it for an SSD and you’ll see how much booting up is I/O bound not CPU or RAM bound

[quote=134365:@Christian Schmitz]Well, if Apple announces an ARM Macbook, all those Xcode developers property press a button in Xcode to upgrade project (add arm compiler option and make fat binary) and within a few weeks, all the App Store apps can support it.

Except the Xojo apps. :-([/quote]

From what Apple have been doing over the past few years it does look like they are pushing developers down a much narrower path (portability) and also trying to get apps to be as power friendly as possible (lower power CPUs):

  1. Carbon is deprecated in favour of Cocoa.
  2. Older frameworks / APIs being dropped / replaced.
  3. 64 bit only frameworks / removal of 32 bit frameworks.
  4. OS X can inform users of power hungry apps.
  5. Removal of some OS X UI glitz.
  6. Common frameworks between iOS and OS X.

Hopefully, once we have LLVM and 64 bit it won’t be too much additional work for Xojo to support the ARM architecture.

If anything, Apple does not need a new version of Mac Os X to run on ARM. They already have iOS…

Indeed, a point I tried to make earlier.

But iOS isn’t OS X despite commonalities
Much of the same foundation at a very low level
But iOS has UIKit and OS X has AppKit etc and they are not the same as far as app devs are concerned

[quote=134425:@Norman Palardy]But iOS isn’t OS X despite commonalities
Much of the same foundation at a very low level
But iOS has UIKit and OS X has AppKit etc and they are not the same as far as app devs are concerned[/quote]
Right and in any case, there’s no reason to think that a Mac ARM laptop would use iOS. Much like the PowerPC to Intel switch, you can absolutely bet Apple already have a full version of OS X already running on ARM.

Don’t think we are going to see a Mac laptop anytime soon. Maybe 3-4 years from now it is viable to see such product. Certainly not sooner.

if Apple were to develop an ARM Mac running MacOSX, they probably would include a kind of “Rosetta” system to let developer some time to adapt their software. I cannot imagine Apple producing a Mac that would not be able from day one to run MS Office and Adobe softwares to name a few.

The problem being that any “Rosetta” function use CPU time but they may have one CPU dedicated to this full time.
Future will tell

[quote=134517:@Franck Perez]if Apple were to develop an ARM Mac running MacOSX, they probably would include a kind of “Rosetta” system to let developer some time to adapt their software. I cannot imagine Apple producing a Mac that would not be able from day one to run MS Office and Adobe softwares to name a few.

The problem being that any “Rosetta” function use CPU time but they may have one CPU dedicated to this full time.
Future will tell[/quote]

There is also the option to use the same kind of processor that x86 tablets use. Some of them have very low consumption like ARM, but are compatible with Intel. Would be a lot more sensible than an emulator, even if there are x86 emulators for ARM.

Yes it would be compatible, but it would negate one of the reasons for switching to ARM, the cost savings. The Intel chip would probably cost at least 4 times as much as the ARM one. The price savings is even more pronounced if compared too the Intel i5 ( $195 on Amazon) and the i7 ( $355 on Amazon).

The point of switching to ARM would be to release a cheaper Mac while keeping the profit margins high.