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More on Apple/Intel: Apple engineers have "grown confident" their power-efficient ARM-based...

More on Apple/Intel: Apple engineers have "grown confident" their power-efficient ARM-based chips will eventually be powerful enough for Macs, sources tell Bloomberg. Also, hardware engineering chief Bob Mansfield is reportedly interested in creating a more uniform experience between iOS and Mac OS. However, Apple is deemed "unlikely to switch in the next few years." To make a full switch, Apple needs to guarantee backwards-compatibility for existing software, something Microsoft didn't do with Windows RT. ARM (ARMH +2.7%) rallied on the report.
Comments (33)
  • wigit5
    , contributor
    Comments (3962) | Send Message
     
    What trying to copy MSFT now? NEVER!!!
    5 Nov 2012, 04:36 PM Reply Like
  • berylrb
    , contributor
    Comments (2179) | Send Message
     
    Technically Apple had already started the move to similarity between iOS and OSX before in simultaneously with W7 development, the correct answer is MS BEAT Apple to production.

     

    The news here is that Apple engineers still need two years to do what MS apparently accomplished in how long? Makes you wonder, still waiting for full reviews of W8 for sure!
    5 Nov 2012, 05:13 PM Reply Like
  • Dennis Baker
    , contributor
    Comments (1086) | Send Message
     
    Microsoft is making their own CPUs?

     

    Or you mean copying Microsoft by going into tablet computers... dont' know if you knew this, but Apple released an "iPad" a few years ago. It's done quite well.
    5 Nov 2012, 05:31 PM Reply Like
  • Dennis Baker
    , contributor
    Comments (1086) | Send Message
     
    >> The news here is that Apple engineers still need two years to do what MS apparently accomplished in how long? Makes you wonder, still waiting for full reviews of W8 for sure! <<

     

    Apple tends to introduce change gradually as they release new versions of their OS rather than release a new version with a massive number of changes. Whether it's better to push out a bunch of incremental changes in annual increments or send one huge mega-update is debatable. I'm a big fan of iteration and gradual change which is easier on end users, launching one huge change is clearly faster but prone to glitches (like the fact that the flagship Office which ships with RT is apparently not touch optimized).

     

    Apple introduced launch-pad in Lion which is like the WIndows Start page, at the same time they introduced gestures and their trackpad support, and true full screen apps. Right now the biggest thing missing from OSX for full on touch support is the reliance on menus and a few other mouse centric interface elements.

     

    I suspect by the time Apple gets to full touch on OSX it won't be a huge update for users.
    5 Nov 2012, 05:46 PM Reply Like
  • kmi
    , contributor
    Comments (3982) | Send Message
     
    " Apple had already started the move to similarity between iOS and OSX"

     

    Similarity? Maybe. But Apple didn't envision a melding of the two platforms before MSFT. And why would they? A move to purposely undermine their enormous app universe advantage would be extremely stupid.

     

    The fact is the current app model/tablet OS would have to be melded into the desktop, not vice versa, to maintain the app segment, unless Apple chooses some kinda of weirdo hybrid virtualization... sure it can work... but work well?

     

    Yep.... years off....

     

    And by the way, vis a vis "To make a full switch, Apple needs to guarantee backwards-compatibility for existing software", let's be fair, Apple has always been more than happy to 'break' backwards compatibility. This is why it never gained real traction in real enterprise where custom built apps are the modus operandi.

     

    So, one of two things is going on here: Apple has decided it wants to emulate exactly what so many for so long have bemoaned MSFT for doing, i.e. letting the software hurt to maintain this backwards compatibility, or maybe this is just noise.
    5 Nov 2012, 05:47 PM Reply Like
  • berylrb
    , contributor
    Comments (2179) | Send Message
     
    As ire all tim had a quick humorous reply to the idea of hybrid
    5 Nov 2012, 05:52 PM Reply Like
  • Dennis Baker
    , contributor
    Comments (1086) | Send Message
     
    I'm not sure why you think Apple is more than happy to break backwards compatibility. They have always provided a backwards compatible bridge. With OSX it was the Classic environment, with PowerPC-Intel it was Rosetta.

     

    Windows 8 uses a similar approach to the way OSX did the Classic environment, though the gap between Windows Legacy and Windows 8 is no-where near as big as between OS9 and OSX.
    5 Nov 2012, 05:55 PM Reply Like
  • wigit5
    , contributor
    Comments (3962) | Send Message
     
    Dennis not sure you understood what I was saying... appreciate your pov regardless if your view is pretty obvious.
    5 Nov 2012, 06:21 PM Reply Like
  • Dennis Baker
    , contributor
    Comments (1086) | Send Message
     
    @wigit5 – For the past three revs of OSX, Apple has been making non-subtle changes to converge OSX and iOS. Switching to an App Store model, full screen apps, touch friendly gestures (nearly the same as on iOS but with a touchpad), a launchpad similar to iOS home screen, etc.

     

    So when someone says convergence of OSX/ iOS is copying Windows 8, they either clearly don't have a clue about what is going on with OSX, or they are making a joke. I figured I'd go along with your joke.

     

    Edit: I could counter with suggesting that Windows 8 takes many queues from iOS as well, the App Store, etc... but Microsoft has done a great job of creating a unique product. They 'stole' but in a good way, by making the idea their own. I just think it's kind of lame to suggest Apple is stealing an idea they have been implementing for 3 years because Microsoft lept instead of going incrementally about it.
    5 Nov 2012, 06:32 PM Reply Like
  • wigit5
    , contributor
    Comments (3962) | Send Message
     
    Clearly Apple beat MSFT to the punch on this one.
    5 Nov 2012, 06:46 PM Reply Like
  • kmi
    , contributor
    Comments (3982) | Send Message
     
    "For the past three revs of OSX, Apple has been making non-subtle changes to converge OSX and iOS. Switching to an App Store model, full screen apps, touch friendly gestures (nearly the same as on iOS but with a touchpad), a launchpad similar to iOS home screen, etc."

     

    So the UI and user experience is similar on two different products.

     

    That doesn't account for the problem of integrating two vastly different underlying software platforms, a problem MSFT neatly sidestepped by simply building its mobile OS (by which i mean windows phone, not RT) on effectively the same kernal as its desktop product. Which it could do, let's be honest, because its previous mobile platform didn't have the momentum Apple's iOS has.
    5 Nov 2012, 06:59 PM Reply Like
  • Dennis Baker
    , contributor
    Comments (1086) | Send Message
     
    >> Clearly Apple beat MSFT to the punch on this one.

     

    @wigit – I would say Apple started swinging first but Microsoft moved faster ;)

     

    >> That doesn't account for the problem of integrating two vastly different underlying software platforms

     

    iOS and OSX are not 'vastly' different. iOS is essentially a fork of OSX with a different UI. Most of the underlying APIs are the same, the UI is different and uses different but similar concepts. It was never two completely separate OS's the way Windows and Windows CE/ Mobile/ WinPho7 were.

     

    It's not even clear if they will ever truly unify the two. There are a lot of functions which make sense on a big 24" display that don't make sense on a 10" tablet. OSX apps have vastly more resources than iOS.

     

    Microsoft 'sidestepped' much of it, but the penalty is size and performance on constrained hardware. The Surface RT ships with 32GB, but the end user only sees 16GB. Compare this to iOS which takes roughly 1/4 that amount of space. Similarly, windows RT has twice the RAM as the iPad but I haven't heard any indications it's any faster. So while Microsoft gets some benefits from this approach, it comes with a cost.
    5 Nov 2012, 09:32 PM Reply Like
  • jocca
    , contributor
    Comments (244) | Send Message
     
    Apple did not start breaking backward compatibility when they transitioned from the original MacOS to OS X which is based on Unix and when they moved OS X from the PPC chip architecture to Intel chip. Backward compatibility was supported through the Carbon library during the transition to the Unix based OS X, and with Rosetta during the transition from PPC to the Intel chip. It is only when the move to a full 64 bit addressing update that Apple cut off the support for programs stuck in 32 bit assembly, preferring instead to rewrite most of their programs. Microsoft never toyed with the idea of changing windows to a different programming language or for that matter to a different chip assembly code.
    6 Nov 2012, 02:06 AM Reply Like
  • kmi
    , contributor
    Comments (3982) | Send Message
     
    " It was never two completely separate OS's the way Windows and Windows CE/ Mobile/ WinPho7 were."

     

    Perhaps you can elaborate on this. My understanding is that the real issue between Windows, CE, and Mobile was hardware and in particular ARM capability. In particular, drivers and hardware - not the kernal itself - which is a problem for any OS pretty much. An issue arising moreso with Windows since it is a software designed to work on a multitude of hardware and hardware configs, whereas iOS/OSx etc were designed to work on pretty much a single hardware config.

     

    To your point about 'unification' I'll suggest that it is inevitable for all the platforms and only being postponed pending powerful enough hardware, much like the smartphone revolution was. I expect this because all of the mobile platforms are handicapped, and when mobile hardware is powerful enough, a migration to the expanded capabilities of desktop products seems like common sense.

     

    Except that I suspect this will nix the vast majority of apps from working on the newer platforms and would effectively reset Apple's lead in the app universe. I can't Apple going that route though as it wouldn't make business sense, even though it makes sense every other way.

     

    Also, please elaborate on Microsoft's "size and performance on constrained hardware". I have a hard time understanding how 16gb provided is a problem, regardless of the fact that it ships with 32gb. I hardly think how much space the OS consumes is more of an issue than how much space is provided to the user. To that point, RT has an SD slot and close integration with MSFT 7gb online Skydrive storage. I can't see storage ever being a problem.

     

    Also, as you note Surface has double the memory of the iPad, which is likely important since windows is a multitasking friendly environment. You suggest that you don't think it impacts speed, I'll point out that multitasking is precisely about speeding up productivity.
    6 Nov 2012, 08:35 AM Reply Like
  • Dennis Baker
    , contributor
    Comments (1086) | Send Message
     
    The Surface has 2 GB of RAM out the gate, but based on most reviews I've seen, it's performance on basic tasks is worse than the iPad. Why? My assumption is that it is due to resource constraints. Windows PCs running poorly with low RAM is common. I know a Mac with 2GB RAM would run poorly also. Maybe you have a better theory of why RT is sluggish?

     

    For many, buying a device that's advertised as a 32GB device that shows up with half that available for use is a bit off-putting. It is also 16GB just an indication of bloat and an added expense for the end-user.

     

    >> My understanding is that the real issue between Windows, CE, and Mobile was hardware and in particular ARM capability. <<

     

    This may be the case. I'm honestly not familiar with the Windows side. I was replying to a comment which suggested bridging iOS and OSX was two 'vastly different' architectures. My comment was intended to clarify that, not open a can of worms about Windows development.

     

    Unification assumes that every user needs the resources the most demanding users need. This is pretty clearly not the case. There are huge swaths of services on my system which I use that the average user doesn't need or care about and is better off without.
    6 Nov 2012, 07:13 PM Reply Like
  • piggysun
    , contributor
    Comments (111) | Send Message
     
    No way ARM can be as powerful as Intel x86. There were reasons Apple abandoned their only CPU in 2005. They want to go back to the old failures? Then Apple will be beaten by MSFT again, and NO STEVE JOBS this time to save them.
    5 Nov 2012, 04:44 PM Reply Like
  • berylrb
    , contributor
    Comments (2179) | Send Message
     
    To be accurate Apple abandoned the PowerPC chip made by IBM.
    5 Nov 2012, 05:11 PM Reply Like
  • Dennis Baker
    , contributor
    Comments (1086) | Send Message
     
    Motorola and IBM weren't delivering the performance they promised.

     

    I'm not sure they are doing this or not, but Apple is developing this line internally so no outsiders to drop the ball. The A6X in the iPad 4G is pretty awesome though. Pretty much blows the Tegra out of the water.
    5 Nov 2012, 05:58 PM Reply Like
  • Jeach!
    , contributor
    Comments (845) | Send Message
     
    Piggysun:

     

    "No way ARM can be as powerful as Intel x86"

     

    You just wait and see! I'm not saying they will soon be as fast as the high-end Intel desktop offerings, but should be close enough for your typical average desktop/mobile user.

     

    "There were reasons Apple abandoned their only CPU in 2005"

     

    And those reasons were purely economics related! Apple did not sell enough systems to justify IBM or Motorola to maintain their level of CAPEX needed to keep it ahead of Intel offerings.

     

    This time it's entirely different... Current ARM ecosystem and all it's pertners should guarantee continued (and accellerated) development to reduce the high-end gap between Intel and themselves. And as for software, there was almost no desktop software for non x86 processors, and would have cost the industry hundreds of billions, while now, with MS on board with ARM ports, probably 80% (or more) of modern desktop software could be recompiled for the ARM platform with little ease, effort and cost. Plus back then, portable bytecode wasn't mainstream like it is now with Java and .Net ecosystems.
    5 Nov 2012, 11:16 PM Reply Like
  • jocca
    , contributor
    Comments (244) | Send Message
     
    Because IBM dragged its feet and did not come up with an energy efficient PPC5 architecture. By that time, Intel chip overtook the PPC chip in energy efficiency, Apple made the switch so fast that it took the industry by surprise. Nobody saw this one coming and it is this kind of move that really set Apart from the rest of the industry.
    6 Nov 2012, 02:21 AM Reply Like
  • kmi
    , contributor
    Comments (3982) | Send Message
     
    "And those reasons were purely economics related!"

     

    Actually, a few other reasons were important too: progress wasn't being made enough on faster more powerful chips, Intel's x86 was starting to beat PowerPC in performance via metrics available at the time, and it seemed that IBM was more interested in selling volume to game machines rather than the limited quantities desired by Apple.

     

    Intel's volume, performance, and rapid performance improvements were the way to go.

     

    "This time it's entirely different."

     

    Absolutely: Apple has moved to designing its own chips in house, so it will be different in some ways.
    6 Nov 2012, 08:43 AM Reply Like
  • Rob Tanner
    , contributor
    Comments (667) | Send Message
     
    And full windows will come to 64 bit arm to.
    5 Nov 2012, 05:02 PM Reply Like
  • berylrb
    , contributor
    Comments (2179) | Send Message
     
    and isn't that the real story ARM promises 64bit and iCore???? Of course, I'm sure Intel is in development on something killer, but that's for the techy's to comment upon.
    5 Nov 2012, 05:14 PM Reply Like
  • kmi
    , contributor
    Comments (3982) | Send Message
     
    "And full windows will come to 64 bit arm to."

     

    Will it?

     

    WindowsRT has limitations designed into it, limitations not necessitated by the platform, which reflects a certain intention. I highly suspect that those limitations will mirror the limitations current to competing tablet products, as much as MSFT can keep it that way.
    5 Nov 2012, 05:52 PM Reply Like
  • jameskm03
    , contributor
    Comments (100) | Send Message
     
    Honestly I think it is just as likely that in five years all AAPL computers are using INTC chips. AAPL has been exploring this for a number of years and this is not new news... just recycled news.
    5 Nov 2012, 05:18 PM Reply Like
  • Lake Investor
    , contributor
    Comments (198) | Send Message
     
    Apple would make comments like this even if they were going to go to INTC on all their stuff--If INTC doesn't think there's a credible threat of Apple decamping, then INTC would have the upper hand in negotiations. Apple wouldn't want that to happen.

     

    Notice that when they did abandon a supplier (Samsung) they just did it and did not talk about it. If they're not talking about you then you are in trouble.
    5 Nov 2012, 05:33 PM Reply Like
  • Garthilk
    , contributor
    Comments (588) | Send Message
     
    INTC was just a great company it's a shame they're on their way out. Wonder what their stock price is going to look like when it happens.
    5 Nov 2012, 07:35 PM Reply Like
  • J.D. Welch
    , contributor
    Comments (1990) | Send Message
     
    Garthilk, I think you have INTC confused with AMD. Intel is clearly not "on their way out...", as much as some of y'all would like to think...
    5 Nov 2012, 08:36 PM Reply Like
  • Ashraf Eassa
    , contributor
    Comments (8819) | Send Message
     
    Could I have some of what you're smoking, please? I'm having a rough week and it could really help me lose track of reality for a bit :-)
    6 Nov 2012, 01:16 AM Reply Like
  • 1980XLS-2.0
    , contributor
    Comments (525) | Send Message
     
    Engineers? I though the Lawyers & Beancounters were running things there.
    6 Nov 2012, 02:12 AM Reply Like
  • iknow777
    , contributor
    Comments (32) | Send Message
     
    If you are bleeding , you don't pick at your wound, it might cause a much more serious condition. Way to go AAPL--keep picking!
    6 Nov 2012, 07:43 AM Reply Like
  • NicZ
    , contributor
    Comments (28) | Send Message
     
    This is a joke, recently a test was done where 6 OMAP 4460 boards (ARM A9 based) were used in a system running linux and pitted against Intel and AMD chips. While the system outperformed an Intel Atom 330 (first released in late 2008!) and Atom Z530 (first released in early 2009!), when pitted against a modern desktop Intel chip, the results were very different. On a performance basis, the Intel system outperformed the by 6-10x. Even more surprising was that the Intel system was up to 3x more energy efficient, despite it having to drive peripherals such as a SSD. Even more surprising is that the Intel system cost less.

     

    So to believe that Apple will be changing its Mac's CPU to an ARM based design appears to be fantasy at the moment. With the significantly more powerful and energy efficient Atoms coming out of Intel over the next few years, it is far more likely that Intel catches up with ARM on low power chips than the other way around. I will bet that Apple have already ported a version of iOS to run on Intel chips, in case they begin to win the race against ARM.
    7 Nov 2012, 03:58 AM Reply Like
  • wigit5
    , contributor
    Comments (3962) | Send Message
     
    Agreed, Apple leaving INTC is 5-10 years away if at all...
    7 Nov 2012, 08:26 AM Reply Like
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