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News [VideoCardz] Apple announces Mac transition to Apple silicon

Det0x

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Sep 11, 2014
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Read full story here: VideoCardz

Developers can start building apps today and first system ships by year’s end, beginning a two-year transition



Cupertino, California — In a historic day for the Mac, Apple today announced it will transition the Mac to its world-class custom silicon to deliver industry-leading performance and powerful new technologies. Developers can now get started updating their apps to take advantage of the advanced capabilities of Apple silicon in the Mac. This transition will also establish a common architecture across all Apple products, making it far easier for developers to write and optimize their apps for the entire ecosystem.

Apple today also introduced macOS Big Sur, the next major release of macOS, which delivers its biggest update in more than a decade and includes technologies that will ensure a smooth and seamless transition to Apple silicon. Developers can easily convert their existing apps to run on Apple silicon, taking advantage of its powerful technologies and performance. And for the first time, developers can make their iOS and iPadOS apps available on the Mac without any modifications.

To help developers get started with Apple silicon, Apple is also launching the Universal App Quick Start Program, which provides access to documentation, forums support, beta versions of macOS Big Sur and Xcode 12, and the limited use of a Developer Transition Kit (DTK), a Mac development system based on Apple’s A12Z Bionic System on a Chip (SoC).

Apple plans to ship the first Mac with Apple silicon by the end of the year and complete the transition in about two years. Apple will continue to support and release new versions of macOS for Intel-based Macs for years to come, and has exciting new Intel-based Macs in development. The transition to Apple silicon represents the biggest leap ever for the Mac.

“From the beginning, the Mac has always embraced big changes to stay at the forefront of personal computing. Today we’re announcing our transition to Apple silicon, making this a historic day for the Mac,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “With its powerful features and industry-leading performance, Apple silicon will make the Mac stronger and more capable than ever. I’ve never been more excited about the future of the Mac.”

 

Det0x

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Sep 11, 2014
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Intel closed the day with +1%. The market does not yet seem to comprehend what this means for Intel volume, premium volume, software ecosystem, ARM in the cloud and so much more.

If I am not wrong:
- Intel just lost 10-12 % of desktop+laptop market (of all PC not just DIY)
- This is the most premium portion of the market. average price 5x compared to an acer laptop.
- Most desktop software has to compile for ARM now, which means its also accessible to windows/ubuntu w/ very little to no additional effort
- Devs have serious ARM options. If they develop on ARM why would they deploy to x86 in the cloud ?

Even if you believe intel can come back and earnings are good, surly surly this has to be a devastating day/setback for any such hopes.
 
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SarahKerrigan

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Oct 12, 2014
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Intel closed the day with +1%. The market does not yet seem to comprehend what this means for Intel volume, premium volume, software ecosystem, ARM in the cloud and so much more.

If I am not wrong:
- Intel just lost 10-12 % of desktop+laptop market (of all PC not just DIY)
- This is the most premium portion of the market. average price 5x compared to an acer laptop.
- Most desktop software has to compile for ARM now, which means its also accessible to windows/ubuntu w/ very little to no additional effort
- Devs have serious ARM options. If they develop on ARM why would they deploy to x86 in the cloud ?

Even if you believe intel can come back and earnings are good, surly surly this has to be a devastating day/setback for any such hopes.
They took a serious hit when reports last year started showing up that a platform transition was imminent; it's possible this is already factored into Intel's valuation.
 

blckgrffn

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May 1, 2003
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@Det0x

2019 Mac sales were about ~7% of the global shipments.

261M (global) and 18M (Apple), respectively.

And that reduction in volume will be over the next 18 months to two years.

I am not sure Intel's margin is different on the same CPUs in a Dell compared to a Mac. Surely Apple was as good at negotiating as Dell and other big companies were? Probably?

Deploying software on the "cloud" is all about cost & performance, I am not sure Mac on ARM is going to cause much of a increase in cloud desire for ARM in and of itself. I mean, you can't run MacOS on a cloud instance, Apple's ARM implementation will not be available from Amazon or anything. There will be some adaptation regardless.

I am not trying say this isn't a big deal, just addressing the points you bring up.
 
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ondma

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Mar 18, 2018
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Intel closed the day with +1%. The market does not yet seem to comprehend what this means for Intel volume, premium volume, software ecosystem, ARM in the cloud and so much more.

If I am not wrong:
- Intel just lost 10-12 % of desktop+laptop market (of all PC not just DIY)
- This is the most premium portion of the market. average price 5x compared to an acer laptop.
- Most desktop software has to compile for ARM now, which means its also accessible to windows/ubuntu w/ very little to no additional effort
- Devs have serious ARM options. If they develop on ARM why would they deploy to x86 in the cloud ?

Even if you believe intel can come back and earnings are good, surly surly this has to be a devastating day/setback for any such hopes.
Apple only accounts for about 5% of Intel sales, according to the NY Times. link
 

IntelUser2000

Elite Member
Oct 14, 2003
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I am not sure Intel's margin is different on the same CPUs in a Dell compared to a Mac. Surely Apple was as good at negotiating as Dell and other big companies were?
If anything, Apple has greater control over this. There was an article about them squeezing its supply vendors.

While some are baked in, I think things are already quite negative towards them with resurgent competition in every area. Windows on ARM, AMD, ARM servers, Nvidia, I don't think they had this much pressure in decades. If say next year it does show in their earnings then I expect after announcement the share price will drop.
 

blckgrffn

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May 1, 2003
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If anything, Apple has greater control over this. There was an article about them squeezing its supply vendors.

While some are baked in, I think things are already quite negative towards them with resurgent competition in every area. Windows on ARM, AMD, ARM servers, Nvidia, I don't think they had this much pressure in decades. If say next year it does show in their earnings then I expect after announcement the share price will drop.
Without a change in US domestic monetary policy (print more! pump it up!) I don't trust Wall Street valuations to make any darn sense. That's a different topic though. That said, maybe in a sane world you would be correct.
 

IntelUser2000

Elite Member
Oct 14, 2003
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Without a change in US domestic monetary policy (print more! pump it up!) I don't trust Wall Street valuations to make any darn sense. That's a different topic though. That said, maybe in a sane world you would be correct.
In general corporate earnings have been going up too with many companies reaching record revenues in all areas, so there is some logic. One day it might reverse but its not yet.

The excessive lockdowns imposed by countries may be a catalyst for this. But tech companies may not see the impact for few years until people really run out of things to spend on frivolous items.
 

lobz

Golden Member
Feb 10, 2017
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Intel closed the day with +1%. The market does not yet seem to comprehend what this means for Intel volume, premium volume, software ecosystem, ARM in the cloud and so much more.

If I am not wrong:
- Intel just lost 10-12 % of desktop+laptop market (of all PC not just DIY)
- This is the most premium portion of the market. average price 5x compared to an acer laptop.
- Most desktop software has to compile for ARM now, which means its also accessible to windows/ubuntu w/ very little to no additional effort
- Devs have serious ARM options. If they develop on ARM why would they deploy to x86 in the cloud ?

Even if you believe intel can come back and earnings are good, surly surly this has to be a devastating day/setback for any such hopes.
Don't think for a moment, that intel has gotten even a cent more just because the end products were 5 times as expensive. They probably sold apple those CPUs at a fine discount.
 
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insertcarehere

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Jan 17, 2013
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The more surprising thing out of this is that they are transitioning their entire lineup to ARM within 2 years, including the Mac Pro. This shows that they have a helluva lot of confidence in their ARM designs scaling up to server/workstations.
 

JasonLD

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Aug 22, 2017
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The more surprising thing out of this is that they are transitioning their entire lineup to ARM within 2 years, including the Mac Pro. This shows that they have a helluva lot of confidence in their ARM designs scaling up to server/workstations.
I will be looking forward to see how A14 will scale beyond mobile.
 

Doug S

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Feb 8, 2020
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The more surprising thing out of this is that they are transitioning their entire lineup to ARM within 2 years, including the Mac Pro. This shows that they have a helluva lot of confidence in their ARM designs scaling up to server/workstations.
I never understood how anyone could believe they would only transition some Macs to ARM and leave others on x86.
 
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Qwertilot

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Nov 28, 2013
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Why shouldn't it scale up well? If the basic arm cores in the Graviton 2 scale up to work quite well, Apple's certainly should in principle.

The larger question has surely always been whether they'll be bothered given the expected minimal return on investment etc. Seemingly they've decided the benefits of putting the entire product line on their chips are worth the investment.

Not impossible that they're planning to share the cost by deploying it in their data centers or something.
 

DrMrLordX

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If the basic arm cores in the Graviton 2 scale up to work quite well, Apple's certainly should in principle.
Wellllll the problem is that sometimes . . . you know what? Never mind. That's all pointless now. Apple will have their own hardware running something other than a tinker toy OS that should permit a full raft of comprehensive benchmarks.
 

insertcarehere

Senior member
Jan 17, 2013
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I never understood how anyone could believe they would only transition some Macs to ARM and leave others on x86.
"Insert something about how the ARM ISA couldn't possibly move up the performance curve" despite annual improvement cadences from Apple and ARM that embarrass everyone else in the business.

Their commitment to transition the entire lineup that quickly is surprising though, it means that they have probably planned out workstation-level configurations of their silicon from a while ago.
 
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LightningZ71

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What if Apple doesn't WANT to scale up their Pro line chips?

What if they, instead, go for an ARM based cloud product that integrates with MacOS in a seamless fashion so that Pro users have access to some sort of highly performant cloud instance that will give them all the computing power that they could ever want?

Suppose that Apple continues to have the A# series of chips, with the base version optimized for power with "restrained" I/O, an X version with a spin for performance and power combined, with perhaps better I/O resources, and a Z version that is tilted even more to performance, with maximum I/O. However, the internals of the chips are largely the same, big.Little through and through, save for the Z version, which may transition to just big.big. Looking at most of the Mac Pro users that I've ever encountered, the only ones that use such massive amounts of data that it wouldn't be practical to process on the cloud are video editors/multi-media creatives. Most of their throughput can be handled either via thunderbolt connected video cards, or done with special encode/decode blocks on the processor. What's left for the actual Mac desktop to do?

Apple can maintain their massive markup on displays and fancy cases, while only selling regular mac hardware that's optimized for what a desktop is good for, and then exporting the actual heavy lifting to the cloud as a service. Apple is all about revenue streams and marked up hardware. They will still have the hardware markup, while having substantially less CPU development work to do for actual desktop deployment. It's a win for Apple, and its a win for the end user as they will benefit from always having access to the state of the art throughput on the back end in Apple's cloud.
 
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Qwertilot

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Nov 28, 2013
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Wellllll the problem is that sometimes . . . you know what? Never mind. That's all pointless now. Apple will have their own hardware running something other than a tinker toy OS that should permit a full raft of comprehensive benchmarks.
Well definitely yes to the last bits :) We'll know soon enough.

The answer to the first is just that Apple do have lots in their favour. Astonishing amounts of money, a hugely experienced/excellent chip & design team & they've been planning this from far enough out that they'll not be under bad time pressure. Still possible for it all to go wrong but it'd be a real surprise.

The more likely question is whether you're looking at merely competent or something above that.
 

soresu

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Dec 19, 2014
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Most desktop software has to compile for ARM now, which means its also accessible to windows/ubuntu w/ very little to no additional effort
Most desktop software?

The amount of software available on Mac is significant, but not nearly so great as the total on all desktop x86 systems.

As far as I'm aware, part of the reason that there is a dearth of native software on WARM atm is that there is somewhat more involved than a simple recompile - even for apps that have no significant hand written assembly code.

I think this is partly because native apps until recently had to be written for UWP, which is why despite Firefox and Chrome having pre existing ARM backends they did not have an instant transition onto WARM.

Hopefully the new direction to bring UWP features into win32 will speed up the transition somewhat and take some of the load off.
 

blckgrffn

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May 1, 2003
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In general corporate earnings have been going up too with many companies reaching record revenues in all areas, so there is some logic. One day it might reverse but its not yet.

The excessive lockdowns imposed by countries may be a catalyst for this. But tech companies may not see the impact for few years until people really run out of things to spend on frivolous items.
Their share price might drop if the entire market tanks. Or if a whale pump and dumps. Or an algo goes crazy. Or if their CEO does something crazy/insensitive.

Or maybe, just maybe, if there are issues with their product lines their share prices might flux. See how long (and how bad!) it had to be for Boeing to have "stock price" issues. It took the pandemic shuttering airports before it hit. Never mind all the other issues.

So long as debt is effectively free and dollars are dropping from the sky, huge capital purchases and cloud growth will continue to allow for strong performance from Intel simply because of volume of chips purchased, despite relative performance.

In any case, the machinations of Wall Street are likely for a much different forum than this. I'll just say I trust Wall Street valuations to reflect the competitiveness and fitness of a company 0%.

If Intel can be back in the ring in 2021 in x86 (win some, lose some as one would expect from large companies working with the same manufacturing tech and slightly different priorities and particularly in the Datacenter), I wouldn't see this (the Apple decision) being anything major for them.
 
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Doug S

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Feb 8, 2020
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What if Apple doesn't WANT to scale up their Pro line chips?

What if they, instead, go for an ARM based cloud product that integrates with MacOS in a seamless fashion so that Pro users have access to some sort of highly performant cloud instance that will give them all the computing power that they could ever want?
That's only practical for tasks that have a high cycles to bits ratio - i.e. you need a lot of processing power for a little data. If you need a lot of processing power for a lot of data, like say doing something to a 4K video file, you might have a terabyte of data that needs to be acted on. Do they want to tell those people "hope you have a dedicated gigabit upload!" and even then it will be 2 1/2 hours just to upload and then another 2 1/2 hours to download after processing?

If Apple was going to implement a cloud compute product they would use their own CPUs to do so. If they were designing their own cloud server CPUs they probably wouldn't have seen Gerald Williams leave to start Nuvia which has the same goal in mind.
 

IntelUser2000

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Oct 14, 2003
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Their share price might drop if the entire market tanks. Or if a whale pump and dumps. Or an algo goes crazy. Or if their CEO does something crazy/insensitive.

Or maybe, just maybe, if there are issues with their product lines their share prices might flux. See how long (and how bad!) it had to be for Boeing to have "stock price" issues. It took the pandemic shuttering airports before it hit. Never mind all the other issues.
Everything has a transition period. If they don't gain leadership, eventually it'll result in lower volume, and share prices.

Same with the Apple ARM transition. If they keep developing, and provide good gains year over year then it'll be seen as a blip in history. If not, historians will mark that day as the day Intel, or even x86 died.
 

blckgrffn

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Everything has a transition period. If they don't gain leadership, eventually it'll result in lower volume, and share prices.

Same with the Apple ARM transition. If they keep developing, and provide good gains year over year then it'll be seen as a blip in history. If not, historians will mark that day as the day Intel, or even x86 died.
Hmm, that seems a little hyperbolic to me.

If that's the case, I think they'll more likely point to a time period of wide adoption of ARM technologies in smartphones, Graviton from Amazon and if it ever happens, mainstream availability of an ARM Windows platform.

I'll remain highly skeptical about any nails in any coffins for the meantime. Intel x86 is *not* Sparc or anything niche. The world needs silicon for general purpose compute, and they make the most of it. The age of ARM Everywhere has been coming like the Linux Desktop and Intel sub 14nm processes - like a glacier over the last five years.
 

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