Solved! ARM Apple High-End CPU - Intel replacement

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lobz

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Feb 10, 2017
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Wasn't my "idiotic idea". It was Tim cook's. If you have a beef with that idea, take that up with him. Meanwhile he's happily moving the iPad-as-primary-computer theme along, with the release of the iPad Pro's Magic Keyboard, and putting the Smart Connector on the entry level iPad. In fact, he's even allowed Logitech to licence that tech and create keyboard mouse combos for the entry level iPad as well as more expensive iPads at a lower price than Apple's Magic Keyboard.

OTOH, Tim is still happy to sell you a Mac in the interim, if that's what you want and won't buy an iPad Pro. And now he can make those Macs for cheaper, with Apple silicon. Make no mistake though. Just because they can thermally stuff a A14X in a MacBook Air doesn't mean they necessarily will. Apple is the king of bean counting at times, with iDevice RAM being a great example.

Sure, I'd be happy to see the MacBook/MacBook Air get A14X at its price point or lower, and stay/become fanless. And yes I agree it's technically feasible. I'm just not convinced they'll do it, for marketing reasons and cost. Furthermore, many, many people simply do not care. A14 in a MacBook/MacBook Air would make for a very nice experience for most general usage. A13 is already fast enough, and A14 will be faster. You probably don't want to be compiling your pro applications on one, but that is not who the MacBook Air is marketed towards.


It doesn't resonate fully with me either. I'm just saying that Apple isn't scared of replacing notebooks with iPads. They'll make money either way.

Note however, there are rumours that Xcode mobile is coming. I'm not sure I buy that either, but there ya go. But even if it does come, it might come in true Apple fashion, which is over the course of several years.


? I'm not quite following. iPads with the equivalent chips usually come out a long time after the iPhones, and the entry level ones are usually a couple of generations behind. Remember, Apple's current iPad is A10, and Apple's current iPad Air is A12. Meanwhile, the iPhone is on A13.

Oh and general mainstream performance of A10 is actually quite decent. A10 is already faster than a LOT of Wintel laptops currently for sale.
Desktops are not going anywhere any time soon, and mr cook knows that much better than you seem to do.

Don't be fooled by intentionally hyperbolic marketing phrases that are intended for the avg Apple consumers - which are not the ones that buy Apple because of reliability or features ;)
 

Eug

Lifer
Mar 11, 2000
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Desktops are not going anywhere any time soon, and mr cook knows that much better than you seem to do.

Don't be fooled by intentionally hyperbolic marketing phrases that are intended for the avg Apple consumers - which are not the ones that buy Apple because of reliability or features ;)
:rolleyes: Who said desktops are disappearing soon? I didn’t, and neither did Tim. Hell I have I have three desktop Macs in use right now in this house (well, more like 2), along with a Windows desktop too.

However, as I already said, these statements by Tim Cook indicate he’s perfectly happy replacing PCs with iPads, and suggested that is the general directIon as time marches on. And yes, a lot of that is marketing speak, but the bottom line is he actually said it, which was my point:

Apple is perfectly happy if the Mac market fizzles... if their iPad sales take up the slack and then some. For the foreseeable future however, they will be supporting the Mac.

Personally though what I think will happen is that desktop sales will continue to soften on average (and note I say continue, since that’s been going on for a very long time already), but tablets will NOT take over. I think there will be a balance of iPad and laptop sales, but also that the difference between a laptop and an iPad is gradually blurring over time. I mean really, the iPad is arguably a hybrid machine now, or at least can be configured as one.

And to circle back on topic, A14 or something similar is perfectly adequate to power many if not most of these machines. Just because Apple could stuff an A14X into a MacBook Air doesn’t mean they will, or even should from a business perspective. Maybe they will, but I doubt it.
 
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soresu

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Dec 19, 2014
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Apple is perfectly happy if the Mac market fizzles...
If so then this entire ARM Mac move would turn out to be a giant waste of time, to say nothing of dev resources making it happen on the app side of things.*

Whatever his words on iPads, it seems unlikely that they would have finally pulled the trigger on this potentially very costly move if they did not believe there was still a significant future for the Mac platform.

*If app devs believed anything of the sort they would not make the effort to move to ARM Mac not even if Apple funded an entire code refactor.

While obviously there is something to be said for making your app cross platform/ISA capable for grreater possible market reach - it also means a greater degree of code maintenance which is probably one of the reasons that most Windows app devs are still not in large supporting WARM yet.
 
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Eug

Lifer
Mar 11, 2000
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If so then this entire ARM Mac move would turn out to be a giant waste of time, to say nothing of dev resources making it happen on the app side of things.*

Whatever his words on iPads, it seems unlikely that they would have finally pulled the trigger on this potentially very costly move if they did not believe there was still a significant future for the Mac platform.
That's why right after your quoted sentence "Apple is perfectly happy if the Mac market fizzles..." I also wrote:
if their iPad sales take up the slack and then some. For the foreseeable future however, they will be supporting the Mac.
 

soresu

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I doubt iPad sales are going to grow significantly from here.

The market in general is already saturated in the west and 'developed' east.

The less wealthy unsaturated markets in 'undeveloped' eastern countries have great growth potential for smartphone and tablet, but are not going to go and buy Apple unless they suddenly decide to become a true value hardware platform - when pigs fly in other words.

Apple would have to cut deep to seed those markets, and doing so would only hurt their premium brand position and pricing in the west.
 
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Lifer
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I doubt iPad sales are going to grow significantly from here.

The market in general is already saturated in the west and 'developed' east.

The less wealthy unsaturated markets in 'undeveloped' eastern countries have great growth potential for smartphone and tablet, but are not going to go and buy Apple unless they suddenly decide to become a true value hardware platform - when pigs fly in other words.

Apple would have to cut deep to seed those markets, and doing so would only hurt their premium brand position and pricing in the west.
I agree.

Desktop sales have been in decline for a long time and on average (not counting Covid) have continued to decline. Much of that was going to laptops but then iPads started stealing sales from laptops. However, iPads have plateaued, which is why Tim and friends then created more tiers. Initially there was just one tier. Then there were two tiers, and now there are three tiers. And to go one step further, Apple has now brought hybrid tablet/laptop support to all three tiers, selling the Magic Keyboard at the top tier and the Smart Keyboard for all three tiers, and partnering with Logitech to create cheaper Magic Keyboard like setups for the lower two tiers.

I’m not convinced this will lead to significantly increased iPad sales but they are trying, and they are not afraid to cannibalize some of their own Mac sales.
 

Eug

Lifer
Mar 11, 2000
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What's the difference?
The Magic Keyboard is much more robust and elevates the iPad Pro above the table for more ergonomic viewing, and also allows swivelling to let the user change the angle of the screen as desired. It also includes a trackpad and a keyboard backlight. In addition, it has its own USB-C port for charging the iPad Pro, freeing up the iPad Pro's USB-C port for peripherals.

vpavic_042018_3979_0075.jpg

You can just barely make out the USB-C charging port on the left side of the hinge at the table level. The Smart Connector connecting the keyboard to the iPad Pro is on the back and the charging goes through those leads. If you lift up the screen though in a specific way, it lifts right off the keyboard and becomes a tablet. Put it close to the keyboard and it snaps into place again.

In contrast, the Smart Keyboard is a much simpler and traditional tablet keyboard setup:

ipad-pro-ipad-7gen-smart-keyboard-folio-smart-keyboard-hero.jpg

On the left is the Smart Keyboard Folio for the 3rd and 4th gen iPad Pros. On the right is the Smart Keyboard for the 10.2" iPad, 10.5" iPad Air, and the 1st and 2nd gen iPad Pros. This is a much simpler design, with no charging port, no trackpad, and no backlight. The advantage though is it's much lighter than the Magic Keyboard.

Note that none of these use Bluetooth, since everything is connected via the Smart Connector, so there is no keyboard battery to charge and no pairing is necessary, and there is no delay.

For the 10.x" iPad models, there is no Magic Keyboard available, but Logitech is making some lower end ones with trackpads under licence from Apple.

HP312.jpeg
 

soresu

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Dec 19, 2014
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Note that none of these use Bluetooth, since everything is connected via the Smart Connector, so there is no keyboard battery to charge and no pairing is necessary, and there is no delay.
All tablet keyboards should use such a direct connection, BT is unfathomably annoying despite the incremental changes to the standard since the early days - albeit bad BT driver stacks were responsible for a lot of the problems of yesteryear.

These days even an average smartphone BT stack can support a whole host of console gamepads without any extra SW installed and in a much more stable manner - probably due to various HW vendors focusing on game streaming platforms.

OTOH if they can ever commercialise a backscattering WiFi/BT transceiver it will make wireless headphones much more viable, especially if they use a more modern efficient driver tech like MEMS.

Together I would expect those 2 technologies to eliminate wired analog headphones in all but the most expensive audiophile segments - similarly any wireless gamepads or keyboards would have dramatically longer run times with backscatter radio.
 

name99

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Sep 11, 2010
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I would be a little annoyed if my brand new 2021 iPad Pro wasn't faster than the MacBook Air, considering a similarly sized (12.9") model with Magic Keyboard is much, much more expensive than the MacBook Air.
An iPad and a
I guess I should point out that Tim Cook has already said that his vision is that the iPad Pro will replace desktops and notebooks, including Apple's own notebooks. This is a direct quote:

I think if you’re looking at a PC, why would you buy a PC anymore? No really, why would you buy one? Yes, the iPad Pro is a replacement for a notebook or a desktop for many, many people. They will start using it and conclude they no longer need to use anything else, other than their phones. I think it clearly creates some cannibalization—which we knew would occur—but we don’t really spend any time worrying about that, because as long as we cannibalize ourselves, it’s fine.


Anyhow, going with a slower SoC in the Air isn't "crippling" the Air. It's about market segmentation and targeting specific groups of customers. In 2020, the point of the Air is to be cheap, not necessarily super fast, and much of the customer base that buys the Air doesn't care that it is not so fast. For example, I just sold a 2019 Air that we won in a raffle to a person just like this. The only thing she was concerned about was the storage space. And you know what? She is very pleased with the responsiveness of her new laptop. It has I5-8210Y, which gets around 810/1700 in Geekbench 5, which BTW is faster than my 2017 MacBook m3-7Y32 at around 740/1640.
That's very selective quoting (by both you and the Telegraph). The next sentence Tim said was
"Yes, the iPad Pro is a replacement for a notebook or a desktop for many, many people. They will start using it and conclude they no longer need to use anything else, other than their phones,”

Note what is being said. Not that "the iPad replaces the laptop" but that it replaces the laptop for many people.
That's both a very different statement, and a very reasonable statement. The emphasis is not on "the laptop is going away" but on "look at whether an iPad is right for you. You might be surprised at just how much it can do".

More generally, Apple has rarely operated as a company driven by market segmentation and the fear of one product cannibalizing another. Were they worried that iPhone sales would limit iPod sales? Did they try to cripple the iPad so it wouldn't affect MBA sales?
Apple's model is NOT that customers buy one and only one of their products, so Apple had better make sure they buy the expensive one. Rather the model is that Apple makes products that are each optimized for a different niche of the human body/human experience, and since every person has a body and experience, they will want to acquire as many of these optimized products as they can afford. Apple's best customers are precisely those who buy pretty much the full set, everything from aWatch to aTV to HomePod to iPad to iMac. There are plenty of those, and growing every year.

I have told you a dozen times that you will never understand Apple if you insist on assuming that they are a traditional finance-driven company, motivated by traditional finance and marketing concerns, but it seems that you just cannot be taught :-(
 
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name99

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That's why right after your quoted sentence "Apple is perfectly happy if the Mac market fizzles..." I also wrote:
Look, the reason you are getting pushback is that your thesis is dumb.
What do you believe to be the essence of a "desktop" and what's the value to Apple users in replacing that with an iPad?
A desktop is, IMHO, DEFINED by a large screen plus keyboard/trackpad. Basically start with the premise that this device does not need to move, so we don't have to optimize for light weight and small size. That means we can always have a keyboard and trackpad (with implications for the UI, since trackpad is a fine-detail pointing device). It also allows for lots of IO.

This stuff all fits together, to provide a bundle of services. Meanwhile iPad provides a very different bundle of services starting from the constraint of "must be portable" which has implications for max weight, max size, no compulsory keyboard/trackpad, etc.

Both are useful. And that's the point. Because they are both useful, they will both survive. This claim of "well I don't know what will happen, could go either way" is nonsense. I DO know what will happen, and it won't go either way.
iPads will continue to sell well, Macs will continue to sell well, frequently both to the same people.
 

name99

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Sep 11, 2010
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I doubt iPad sales are going to grow significantly from here.

The market in general is already saturated in the west and 'developed' east.

The less wealthy unsaturated markets in 'undeveloped' eastern countries have great growth potential for smartphone and tablet, but are not going to go and buy Apple unless they suddenly decide to become a true value hardware platform - when pigs fly in other words.

Apple would have to cut deep to seed those markets, and doing so would only hurt their premium brand position and pricing in the west.

Fail to grow significant starting from today? Or starting from "recently"?

You did see Apple's most recent financials two days ago, didn't you?


As for your snark about Apple as a value platform: Do you honestly believe that lowest priced iPad is not already pretty damn good value for money right now? The issue, I suspect, is more simply that change of any sort takes time. The sillier sort of tech pundit lives in a world of instantaneous change; the smarter observer understands that change happens over many years. It takes around 5 years just for a phenomenon to be noticed (eg iPhone to be noticed, aWatch to be noticed) then at least another 5 years for a technology to grow its full potential.

IMHO a larger constraint today on Apple growing the number of devices it sells is that the company continues to repeat a certain type of mistake that it has been making since at least the late 80s.
True story: very soon after I joined Apple I suggested that one reason people might put off upgrading their macs was simply that upgrading to a new machine was a major hassle, requiring you to figure out how to move all your "state" from one machine to another. It took a few years, but eventually Apple solved this problem (around 2004) by providing Migration Assistant, and I'd like to think I was at least one of the people that pushed that effort along.

Anyway, IMHO, the equivalent of the lack of Migration Assistant today is the lack of EASY Apple cross-device synchronization. It's not an utter catastrophe -- most things work acceptably enough across all your Apple devices. But it's also not exactly Nirvana. There are a wide range of weird omissions and stupidities that don't work! So while I can use my iPad rather than my iPhone if it happens to be closer, for most purposes, I can't CAN'T use it for purposes that involve Health (eg syncing with a smart scale or just looking at my sleep history). I can use my aWatch to control playback on my iPhone well, on my aTV kinda sorta OK, and on my iPad not at all. Setting preferences across all my Apple devices is a totally pain in the ass. And so it goes.
Just like Migration Assistant paid for itself every time it persuaded someone to upgrade their mac as soon as they were ready, rather than delaying as long as possible because of the depressing thought of trying to configure the new machine to match the old, so, IMHO, Apple work to get their devices to work together better, and to cross-sync better, would pay for itself within a year in terms of more sales. Once you have real cross-device nirvana, you start thinking of things like "the bedroom iPad, the downstairs iPad, the home controller iPad, and the iPad in my backpack". Four iPads, because, why not? That way one is always easily on hand, and shows the common state of all the devices.

EVENTUALLY Apple will get the message and do that; but it will take them many more years than it should; just like Migration Assistant should have been a product in the mid-90s.
But the point is -- there are many many sales left in many Apple product categories -- just as soon as stupid blinkers inside Apple are finally removed!
 

name99

Senior member
Sep 11, 2010
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The Magic Keyboard is much more robust and elevates the iPad Pro above the table for more ergonomic viewing, and also allows swivelling to let the user change the angle of the screen as desired. It also includes a trackpad and a keyboard backlight. In addition, it has its own USB-C port for charging the iPad Pro, freeing up the iPad Pro's USB-C port for peripherals.

View attachment 27402

You can just barely make out the USB-C charging port on the left side of the hinge at the table level. The Smart Connector connecting the keyboard to the iPad Pro is on the back and the charging goes through those leads. If you lift up the screen though in a specific way, it lifts right off the keyboard and becomes a tablet. Put it close to the keyboard and it snaps into place again.

In contrast, the Smart Keyboard is a much simpler and traditional tablet keyboard setup:

View attachment 27403

On the left is the Smart Keyboard Folio for the 3rd and 4th gen iPad Pros. On the right is the Smart Keyboard for the 10.2" iPad, 10.5" iPad Air, and the 1st and 2nd gen iPad Pros. This is a much simpler design, with no charging port, no trackpad, and no backlight. The advantage though is it's much lighter than the Magic Keyboard.

Note that none of these use Bluetooth, since everything is connected via the Smart Connector, so there is no keyboard battery to charge and no pairing is necessary, and there is no delay.

For the 10.x" iPad models, there is no Magic Keyboard available, but Logitech is making some lower end ones with trackpads under licence from Apple.

View attachment 27404
There is something more significant going on here with the Magic Keyboard.
The Magic Keyboard builds on what Apple calls the Smart Folio for the iPad Pro. What they both provide, along with the new Apple Pencil, is smart magnetic attachment to the "raw" iPad Pro.

This may seem ho hum; it's anything but. You have to use this magnetic attachment a few times to appreciate just how magical and unusual it is. The device is not simply "magnetic", rather it uses a particular pattern of dipoles along various edges to ensure that when a matching peripheral is brought near to the iPad
- it is sucked onto the iPad
- with perfect alignment
The dipole pattern provides both the alignment and a very rapid power law fall-off of the magnetic strength, so that devices are attached strongly, but are very easily pulled off as soon as you make a deliberate effort.

This means that your raw iPad Pro can be very easily configured from one use case to another. So use case A is the keyboard. For travel, rip off the keyboard and drop on the Folio. But wait, there's more! If you're a crazy tinkerer, like I am, then you go the next step which is
- you get a cantilevered arm (like a fancy desk lamp)
- you screw one end above your head board
- you connect the other end to an iPad-strength magnetic mount (yay standards! everything just fits together)
- and now you have what?
You have an arm over your bed that you can swing out the way very easily, and to which you can easily attach your iPad Pro, to hang in the air, stable, solid, but easily maneuvered, while you read or watch :)

Magnetic attachment (either in the unsophisticated form of a camera/car mount) or the sophisticated form of the Smart Folio and Magic Keyboard, is just one of those dimensions of this new product category that hasn't yet been fully internalized by the world.
Just like in say 2009 few really appreciated the full scope of what it meant that a phone had the camera as an additional input device, so today few really appreciate just how much is enabled by magnetism in the portable space, how it enables a class of devices that meet the promise of the Surface or the Yoga without the downsides. I'm not sure even Apple really appreciated this until maybe two or three years ago when someone inside the company design center actually used the first Magic Keyboard prototype and said to themselves "Holy Moly! This changes everything!"

(Magic Keyboard doesn't change everything! It doesn't, for example, give the iPad a bigger screen. But you'd be amazed at how much it does change.)
 

chrisjames61

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Dec 31, 2013
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Desktops are not going anywhere any time soon, and mr cook knows that much better than you seem to do.

Don't be fooled by intentionally hyperbolic marketing phrases that are intended for the avg Apple consumers - which are not the ones that buy Apple because of reliability or features ;)

Desktop sales have been in serious decline since about 2010 when the iPad started to take off. From about 160 million units in 2010 to 80 million units today. Hardly what I would call a healthy trend for desktop pc's.
 

Eug

Lifer
Mar 11, 2000
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Desktop sales have been in serious decline since about 2010 when the iPad started to take off. From about 160 million units in 2010 to 80 million units today. Hardly what I would call a healthy trend for desktop pc's.



Note that there was some very modest sales growth in 2019, but that was wiped out several times over by Covid. We shall see how the curve goes in 2021.



the PC market has shrunk quite a bit over the years. In 2011, vendors shipped 352 million PCs. But by the end of 2018, the number had plummeted to 258 million units.

Growth in 2019 can be attributed in part to Windows 7 losing official support as of today (here's how to get Windows 10). As a result, many commercial businesses have been buying new Windows 10 laptops and desktops, which helped PC shipments in 2019 reach 266 million units, according to IDC.
 
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lobz

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Feb 10, 2017
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Desktop sales have been in serious decline since about 2010 when the iPad started to take off. From about 160 million units in 2010 to 80 million units today. Hardly what I would call a healthy trend for desktop pc's.
1: how does that contradict my comment? Don't mistake me with some other posters here, pkease try to answer to what I actually wrote and not something you think I was secretly trying to imply.
2: your numbers are way off.
 

Doug S

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Feb 8, 2020
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Desktop sales have been in serious decline since about 2010 when the iPad started to take off. From about 160 million units in 2010 to 80 million units today. Hardly what I would call a healthy trend for desktop pc's.
Because laptop sales have grown as they've become more popular and because overall PC sales have fallen for the past decade - because there is less and less reason to upgrade as even a 5-10 year old PC can be "good enough" for many people and because for some people their PHONE suffices as the only tool they need to connect them to the internet.

Falling desktop sales does not mean "desktop PCs are going away". It means the days where a desktop PC was the ONLY way for consumers to do tasks which required "a computer" or to access the internet are over, and now that are other options. i.e. "desktop PCs have become one of a spectrum of options".

Is your claim that going from 160 million to 80 million in the past 10 years mean that you can extrapolate that trend from 80 million to 0 over the next 10 years? Because if it is, you probably were or would have been one of the people who have been predicting the death of the mainframe for four decades. Passenger car sales have been falling in the US for years. Does that mean the sedan is dead, or simply that the rise of other form factors like the SUV, the minivan, and the pickup have displaced some sedan sales?
 
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soresu

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Passenger car sales have been falling in the US for years. Does that mean the sedan is dead, or simply that the rise of other form factors like the SUV, the minivan, and the pickup have displaced some sedan sales?
The pickup was around a lot longer than minivan or SUV styles of automobile (pre 80s at least?), so I doubt it has significantly altered the auto sales equation for quite some time, especially given it tends to appeal to a rather specific type of customer - though I guess SUV does to if you count "self indulgent wieners" as a particular type of customer.
 

Eug

Lifer
Mar 11, 2000
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Falling desktop sales does not mean "desktop PCs are going away". It means the days where a desktop PC was the ONLY way for consumers to do tasks which required "a computer" or to access the internet are over, and now that are other options. i.e. "desktop PCs have become one of a spectrum of options".

Is your claim that going from 160 million to 80 million in the past 10 years mean that you can extrapolate that trend from 80 million to 0 over the next 10 years? Because if it is, you probably were or would have been one of the people who have been predicting the death of the mainframe for four decades. Passenger car sales have been falling in the US for years. Does that mean the sedan is dead, or simply that the rise of other form factors like the SUV, the minivan, and the pickup have displaced some sedan sales?
??? The whole point of Tim's statement and this current argument is that a lot of people are buying tablets instead of PCs. No, the desktop PC is not dead but its sales are dwindling, because people are substituting other devices for it, like laptops and tablets (and as you say, phones). Basically you've just supported Tim's argument with your last post.

BTW, I don't think anyone in this thread has claimed that 0 desktops will be sold in 10 years.
 

chrisjames61

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Because laptop sales have grown as they've become more popular and because overall PC sales have fallen for the past decade - because there is less and less reason to upgrade as even a 5-10 year old PC can be "good enough" for many people and because for some people their PHONE suffices as the only tool they need to connect them to the internet.

Falling desktop sales does not mean "desktop PCs are going away". It means the days where a desktop PC was the ONLY way for consumers to do tasks which required "a computer" or to access the internet are over, and now that are other options. i.e. "desktop PCs have become one of a spectrum of options".

Is your claim that going from 160 million to 80 million in the past 10 years mean that you can extrapolate that trend from 80 million to 0 over the next 10 years? Because if it is, you probably were or would have been one of the people who have been predicting the death of the mainframe for four decades. Passenger car sales have been falling in the US for years. Does that mean the sedan is dead, or simply that the rise of other form factors like the SUV, the minivan, and the pickup have displaced some sedan sales?
It isn't a "claim" it is easy to Google and laptop sales have fallen significantly also. As far as your car analogy? It seems many car manufacturers are planning on phasing out the building of sedans completely. So I would say DEAD.
 

awesomedeluxe

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And I think Apple is going to leverage this. Developers are already very satisfied at this level of performance... from a chip from 2018... but are marveling at the low wattage.

Like I said before, I think Apple will lower the power utilization of their mobile Macs as opposed to stuffing as much horsepower in them as they can with existing TDPs. I won't completely rule it out, but I don't think there is any need for something like an A14X with 4 performance cores in a MacBook Air. That would be used in a lower end MacBook Pro. The chips with 6 to 8 performance cores would be used in mid to higher end MacBook Pros.

To put this in perspective: I mentioned in another thread that I just got a 2006 MacPro with 2 x dual-core 2.66 GHz Xeon, and that does really well for general business and home computing in terms of speed. If my workplace issued to me a machine with this level of performance for my daily work activities, I'd have no major complaints, as long as it had SSD and sufficient RAM. My prediction is that A14 will be roughly THREE TIMES as fast as that machine.

The only way an X/Z chip makes sense to me in a MacBook Air is if they use an older one like A12X. But even then, I'd think they'd just be better off just shipping it with A12 instead of A12Z, since even A12 is quite fast for this type of use.

Putting the same chip in the MacBook Air and the iPad Pro doesn't make much sense to me either from a marketing perspective or a performance perspective.
You pressed a good argument earlier in this thread that the MB Air would be fine with a dual (perf) core A14. There have also been rumors since then that an A14X is coming in an iPad Pro in 1H 2021. All things considered, if both of these SoCs are ready - why not use both?

You can sell two devices in a revised MacBook 12 chassis that has a 13" retina screen, two USB C / Thunderbolt ports, and a Magic Keyboard. Fanless ofc. This is a good strategy if Apple is interested in pushing marketshare a bit:

Macbook

$700 |
A14 (2+4-and-4) | 6-8GB LPDDR5 | 256GB NVMe
$900 | A14 (2+4-and-4) | 12GB LPDDR5 | 512GB NVMe

Macbook Pro

$1,200
| A14X (4+4-and-8) | 8GB LPDDR5 | 256GB NVMe
$1,600 | A14X (4+4-and-8) | 16GB LPDDR5 | 512GB NVMe

Again, same chassis for both devices. We know Samsung can layer on up to 12GB of LPDDR5, so the Macbook can literally use the A14 with no changes. The A14X has an optional pinout so it can be configured with up to 32GB memory for a big premium over the $1,600 base+ price. More money can be made selling 1-2TB NVMe drives. But these base prices would be really attractive to an average consumer and come with a solid upgrade matrix which is where Apple makes their money.

The A14X with pinout can also be used in a Mac Mini, which launch in the same Q4 2020 / 1H 2021 timeframe. 2.5 SoCs for six devices is not bad, and Apple can release a third SoC on N5P to carry the 14" (if it still exists), 16" and iMacs in 2H 2021.
 
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Lifer
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You pressed a good argument earlier in this thread that the MB Air would be fine with a dual (perf) core A14. There have also been rumors since then that an A14X is coming in an iPad Pro in 1H 2021. All things considered, if both of these SoCs are ready - why not use both?

You can sell two devices in a revised MacBook 12 chassis that has a 13" retina screen, two USB C / Thunderbolt ports, and a Magic Keyboard. Fanless ofc. This is a good strategy if Apple is interested in pushing marketshare a bit:

Macbook

$700 |
A14 (2+4-and-4) | 6-8GB LPDDR5 | 256GB NVMe
$900 | A14 (2+4-and-4) | 12GB LPDDR5 | 512GB NVMe

Macbook Pro

$1,200
| A14X (4+4-and-8) | 8GB LPDDR5 | 256GB NVMe
$1,600 | A14X (4+4-and-8) | 16GB LPDDR5 | 512GB NVMe

Again, same chassis for both devices. We know Samsung can layer on up to 12GB of LPDDR5, so the Macbook can literally use the A14 with no changes. The A14X has an optional pinout so it can be configured with up to 32GB memory for a big premium over the $1,600 base+ price. More money can be made selling 1-2TB NVMe drives. But these base prices would be really attractive to an average consumer and come with a solid upgrade matrix which is where Apple makes their money.

The A14X with pinout can also be used in a Mac Mini, which launch in the same Q4 2020 / 1H 2021 timeframe. 2.5 SoCs for six devices is not bad, and Apple can release a third SoC on N5P to carry the 14" (if it still exists), 16" and iMacs in 2H 2021.
Yeah, we're all just guessing as to how they'll divide the model lines. However, my point is just to emphasize there is arguably a good chance that A14 with just 2 performance cores will exist in some form in the mix at the low end.
 

awesomedeluxe

Member
Feb 12, 2020
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The Magic Keyboard is much more robust and elevates the iPad Pro above the table for more ergonomic viewing, and also allows swivelling to let the user change the angle of the screen as desired. It also includes a trackpad and a keyboard backlight. In addition, it has its own USB-C port for charging the iPad Pro, freeing up the iPad Pro's USB-C port for peripherals.

View attachment 27402

You can just barely make out the USB-C charging port on the left side of the hinge at the table level. The Smart Connector connecting the keyboard to the iPad Pro is on the back and the charging goes through those leads. If you lift up the screen though in a specific way, it lifts right off the keyboard and becomes a tablet. Put it close to the keyboard and it snaps into place again.

In contrast, the Smart Keyboard is a much simpler and traditional tablet keyboard setup:

View attachment 27403

On the left is the Smart Keyboard Folio for the 3rd and 4th gen iPad Pros. On the right is the Smart Keyboard for the 10.2" iPad, 10.5" iPad Air, and the 1st and 2nd gen iPad Pros. This is a much simpler design, with no charging port, no trackpad, and no backlight. The advantage though is it's much lighter than the Magic Keyboard.

Note that none of these use Bluetooth, since everything is connected via the Smart Connector, so there is no keyboard battery to charge and no pairing is necessary, and there is no delay.

For the 10.x" iPad models, there is no Magic Keyboard available, but Logitech is making some lower end ones with trackpads under licence from Apple.

View attachment 27404
There is something more significant going on here with the Magic Keyboard.
The Magic Keyboard builds on what Apple calls the Smart Folio for the iPad Pro. What they both provide, along with the new Apple Pencil, is smart magnetic attachment to the "raw" iPad Pro.

This may seem ho hum; it's anything but. You have to use this magnetic attachment a few times to appreciate just how magical and unusual it is. The device is not simply "magnetic", rather it uses a particular pattern of dipoles along various edges to ensure that when a matching peripheral is brought near to the iPad
- it is sucked onto the iPad
- with perfect alignment
The dipole pattern provides both the alignment and a very rapid power law fall-off of the magnetic strength, so that devices are attached strongly, but are very easily pulled off as soon as you make a deliberate effort.

This means that your raw iPad Pro can be very easily configured from one use case to another. So use case A is the keyboard. For travel, rip off the keyboard and drop on the Folio. But wait, there's more! If you're a crazy tinkerer, like I am, then you go the next step which is
- you get a cantilevered arm (like a fancy desk lamp)
- you screw one end above your head board
- you connect the other end to an iPad-strength magnetic mount (yay standards! everything just fits together)
- and now you have what?
You have an arm over your bed that you can swing out the way very easily, and to which you can easily attach your iPad Pro, to hang in the air, stable, solid, but easily maneuvered, while you read or watch :)

Magnetic attachment (either in the unsophisticated form of a camera/car mount) or the sophisticated form of the Smart Folio and Magic Keyboard, is just one of those dimensions of this new product category that hasn't yet been fully internalized by the world.
Just like in say 2009 few really appreciated the full scope of what it meant that a phone had the camera as an additional input device, so today few really appreciate just how much is enabled by magnetism in the portable space, how it enables a class of devices that meet the promise of the Surface or the Yoga without the downsides. I'm not sure even Apple really appreciated this until maybe two or three years ago when someone inside the company design center actually used the first Magic Keyboard prototype and said to themselves "Holy Moly! This changes everything!"

(Magic Keyboard doesn't change everything! It doesn't, for example, give the iPad a bigger screen. But you'd be amazed at how much it does change.)
I've kind of had the iPad Magic Keyboard design on my mind too. Is something like this possible on notebooks?

The iPad also has this "canvas mode"

1596468781154.png

But I think something similar to the Surface Studio's "drafting mode" might also be achievable for notebooks:

1596468875273.png

I'm sure artists and designers would appreciate their Macbooks being touch-accessible, and the rest of us will like the compatibility with iOS apps.

Of course, the iPad's flexibility is underpinned by the working parts all being behind the screen, so it can just be lifted away from it and set back down in a new position. The Surface Studio, on the other hand, has a bulky and powerful hinge to connecting the screen to the base, with a second axis at the screen-and-stand connection point:

1596469250406.png

So there are a couple of options here. First, a fanless Macbook with an could just be a tablet running OS X and using an iPad-style Magic Keyboard - basically working the same way the iPad Pro does now. I don't like the idea of it being severable from its base when it's mostly useless without a keyboard and trackpad, though.

The second is some kind of hinge that works like the Studio but is thinner and relies a lot more on magnet tech. They'd still have to run a display cable through it. I don't fully understand how the iPad Pro allows the screen to swivel like the Surface does without having a second axis - magnets, how do they work - but I guess it is possible. Is it possible with the screen glued down to a display cable though? I'd really have to have one in my hands to visualize it and think through whether it's achievable.

EDIT: The trackpad on the magic keyboard is also really small, despite having 8.5 inches of height to work with. This is necessary to accommodate the floating screen not getting in the way of the keyboard as you type. The Macbook 16 also has 8.5 inches of height - but I don't think it can swallow the tiny touchpad, which is a major roadblock to this design.
 
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