Apple Announces Event for November 10th: Arm-Based Macs Expectedby Ryan Smith on November 2, 2020 12:30 PM EST
We don’t normally publish news posts about Apple sending out RSVPs for product launch events, but this one should be especially interesting.
This morning Apple has sent notice that they’re holding an event next Tuesday dubbed “One more thing.” In traditional Apple fashion, the announcement doesn’t contain any detailed information about the content expected; but as Apple has already announced their updated iPads and iPhones, the only thing left on Apple’s list for the year is Macs. Specifically, their forthcoming Arm-powered Macs.
As previously announced by Apple back at their summer WWDC event, the company is transitioning its Mac lineup from x86 CPUs to Arm CPUs. With a two-year transition plan in mind, Apple is planning to start the Arm Mac transition this year, and wrapping things up in 2022.
For the new Arm Macs, Apple will of course be using their own in-house designed Arm processors, the A-series. As we’ve seen time and time again from the company, Apple’s CPU design team is on the cutting-edge of Arm CPU cores, producing the fastest Arm CPU cores for several years running now, and more recently even overtaking Intel’s x86 chips in real-world Instruction Per Clock (IPC) rates. Suffice it to say, Apple believes they can do better than Intel by designing their own CPUs, and especially with the benefits of vertical integration and total platform control, they might be right.
Apple has been shipping early Arm Macs to developers since the summer, using modified Mac Minis containing their A12Z silicon. We’re obviously expecting something newer, but whether it’s a variant of Apple’s A14 SoC, or perhaps something newer and more bespoke specifically for their Macs, remains to be seen.
In the meantime, because this is a phased transition, Apple will be selling Intel Macs – including new models – alongside the planned Arm Macs. So although Apple will no doubt focus on their new Arm Macs, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see some new Intel Macs announced alongside them. Apple will be supporting Intel Macs for years to come, and in the meantime they need to avoid Osborning their x86 systems.
As always, we’ll have a live blog of the events next Tuesday, along with a breakdown of Apple’s announcements afterwards. So please be sure to drop in and check that out.
Post Your CommentPlease log in or sign up to comment.
View All Comments
dotjaz - Tuesday, November 3, 2020 - linkAll the implementer have to do is have DynamIQ identify two groups of 4xA78 as heterogeneous, viola, 8 A78 in one cluster. There's literally nothing stopping it.
dotjaz - Tuesday, November 3, 2020 - linkWhat DynamiQ? No custom core can be used in DynamiQ clusters at all.
ads295 - Monday, November 2, 2020 - linkI've always come to understand ARM implementations to accompany a general dumbing down of the entire OS I.e. smartphone style. It happened to Windows on ARM as well. I'm not a Mac user so maybe I don't know, but perhaps this will lead to Macs resembling iOS? In terms of functionality will a laptop be a supersize smartphone?
danbob999 - Monday, November 2, 2020 - linkARM is a CPU ISA. It has nothing to do with the software that runs on it.
danbob999 - Monday, November 2, 2020 - linkbut yes, Apple will probably end up merging more and more parts of iOS and Mac OS, no matter which CPU they use.
GodHatesFAQs - Monday, November 2, 2020 - linkThey're already more or less completely merged.
name99 - Monday, November 2, 2020 - linkThis is very much a question with a TECHNICAL answer.
Apple has used a common OS in the form of Darwin since iOS started. But Darwin, like any well-designed OS, distinguishes between MECHANISM and POLICY. The mechanisms are common to all the versions of Darwin, but different policy choices have been made.
Next different driver choices have been made (clearly a huge factor distinguishing phones vs macs where all manner of things can be plugged in).
Next the APIs have been brought closer every year, but they're still somewhat divergent. Obviously there's all the legacy stuff on Mac. Likewise obviously there are API's centered around pointing device capabilities, multiple windows, and multiple screens.
How will these be unified going forward?
The dumb answer is they will all be reduced to whatever iPadOS provides.
The pragmatic (ie non-dumb) answer is that things will continue like they are right now, unification where it makes sense, differences where differences are unavoidable.
The interesting answer questions whether iPadOS will grow more capable, pick up more of the UI functionality of Mac. My guess is yes, but it will take a few more years. The hardline designers are still somewhat in thrall to the original iOS vision of all fingers all the time and nothing that ever has to be explained. (They still seem to believe this, even as the result of this theology is an iPadOS windowing UI that probably only ten people on earth actually understand.)
More interesting, honestly, is the OS Proper capabilities that are now opened up by Apple controlling the whole HW stack on mac. There's scope for a substantial rethink of how an OS should be designed, to simplify security, to better use many-core, to provide better reliability and the isolation of bad hardware. This is the dream -- that over the next ten years Apple gives the OS Proper the same sort of treatment that it gave the CPU.
We'll see; but it may take time :-( The most aggressive changes can't be made until Macs that were sold this year (even till late next year for iMac Pro and Mac Pro?) are deprecated and no longer receive OS updates, so, what, 7 or 8 years...
Tomatotech - Tuesday, November 3, 2020 - link"The most aggressive changes can't be made until Macs that were sold this year (even till late next year for iMac Pro and Mac Pro?) are deprecated and no longer receive OS updates, so, what, 7 or 8 years"
That's never held Apple back. They implement aggressively for (almost) all eligible / capable Macs and release either pared down packages or security updates only for older still-supported Macs.
"Support" doesn't mean "Your Mac will get all the latest features for years after initial hardware purchase," it means 'We will do our best to keep it working the same way as when you brought it, and will keep it up to date with security updates. Any new features are a bonus but not guaranteed."
name99 - Tuesday, November 3, 2020 - linkThat's OK for "features". It's a lot more difficult for completely rearchitecting the OS, if the rearchitected version is built on Apple/ARM only capabilities.
name99 - Monday, November 2, 2020 - linkBased on what? People who understand nothing about Apple have been making this claim since iPhone 1.
They've never been shown to be correct in a single detail (show me one case that's not security related where Mac has lost a capability, ie "been dumbed down", in the past ten years), but that doesn't this crowd.
Remember their previous greatest hits include that golden oldie "Apple will replace the Mac with iPads"...