Apple dumps Intel from laptop lines

Discussion in 'Graphics and Semiconductor Industry' started by rpg.314, May 6, 2011.

  1. Blazkowicz

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    another possibility is a MacBook with an ultra-low voltage core i3.
    I've checked the macbook air and well, there's an 11.6" version already, which I was not aware of. it uses a 1.4Ghz core2duo and is sold at 999€ here, same as the cheapest macbook.

    there is your mac netbook ;)
    that dual mode idea is interesting. I agree that it's more realistic that the outcomes you enumerated. I believe a netbook is all about being able to run a full desktop OS and desktop apps.

    until now fantasies about what a netbook is have failed, we had the linux-on-flash netbook, the cloud netbook, the smartbook fads, but only a few bearded system administrators own and use a MIPS or ARM netbook. it's the phones and tablets that did go the "smart"/"cloud"/small OS way.
     
  2. RudeCurve

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    When I say netbook I'm talking about Windows 7 netbooks. Apple could make Macbooks running OSX using ARM cpus just like Windows7 netbooks running on Atoms. Difference is the Macbooks would be full size notebooks not subnotebooks aka netbooks.

    When you look at current Macbook sales they only account for like 3% of Apple's overall profits so I could definitely see them completely switching to ARM cpus and releasing OSX.xxx with ARM compatibility. How many of those are used as desktop replacements? How many of those are used for heavy duty desktop tasks? The majority of people who buy notebooks only use them for mundane stuff and most of the CPU processing power goes to waste. Do we really need 2GHz+ i7 for internet, word processing, photo/video editing? I don't think so.

    Regardless going forward ARM's cpus will only get more powerful while Apple's "desktop" apps and OSX depends less and less on powerful over the top "desktop" cpus. Then there's PowerVR and it's multicore scalable architecture making it perfect for Macbooks.
     
    #42 RudeCurve, May 10, 2011
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  3. pcchen

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    I don't know how you get the "overall profit" number, as Apple didn't seem to publish such numbers. From their last Q filing, Mac computers account for 20% of all their sales. It's unlikely that 20% of all sales only give 3% profit, as in the gross margin section, they claimed that gross margin is down because of new products such as new iPhone and new iPad, with increased cost of production.

    Either way, it's true that Mac account for less and less percentage of their overall sales (the same Q last year Mac accounted for ~28% of all sales). So it's even more unlikely that Apple will spend a lot of money trying to revamp a declining product line (except if they think it's possible to revamp, but I doubt it). The most likely (and probably cheaper) way is to ride the iPhone/iPad train. That's why I think it's more likely that Apple may make iOS applications available to Macbooks.

    If they do this and it proved to be a success, then maybe they'll make a new line of Macbooks which only runs iOS applications, and that'll be your Mac netbooks.

    Otherwise, I don't see why Apple would want to port the whole MacOS X and their applications (and require 3rd party developers to do the same) from x86 to ARM. The cost is too high and the benefit is too small.
     
  4. RudeCurve

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    20% is for all Macs (desktops + laptops).

    As for OSX, looking at Microsoft which will support ARM with the next Windows I don't see how OSX will be any different in terms of having to port software to a new ISA. A lot of developers are already famiiliar with porting to ARM and Apple themselves already have iMovie and other OSX apps running on ARM.

    Apple has moved from Power to x86...don't see any reason why they couldn't move to ARM considering that the processing power will have surpassed minmum requirements for software.

    My A4 powered iPhone 4 can run a full blown Safari browser easily and fast. A future A6 or A7 shouldn't have much problems running mundane tasks run or portable devices like a Macbook Air. Even heavyduty stuff can run well on a future multicore ARM and multicore SGX. This transition will obviously not happen overnight but I think its the way Apple is going.

    Hardware that isn't being used to its fullest by software is just wasted power/cost.
     
    #44 RudeCurve, May 10, 2011
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  5. pcchen

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    I think you are underestimating the effort of porting by a significant margin.
    Windows 8 for ARM is most likely to be running .NET based programs. That's why Microsoft is pushing .NET so hard. I think in the first few years of Windows 8 ARM, the majority of Win32 applications will not be available on it.

    x86, at that time, was much faster than PPC. So it's possible to emulate older PPC applications at reasonable speed (although Apple still bought a company to do that emulator). ARM is not going to be able to emulate x86 at reasonable speed.

    It's not a full blown Safari because it lacks flash. Judging by the performance of flash player on some Android platforms, I don't think that's going to paint a rosy picture. Future HTML5+SVG+Javascript "flash alternative" is not going to be much faster. Furthermore, many AJAX heavy web sites do not perform very well on iPad nor iPhone 4. For example, has you tried using Google Docs on an iPhone 4? It's just not fast enough for a large document.

    David Kanter at RWT wrote a good article about this.
     
  6. RudeCurve

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    It lacks flash because Apple chooses not to support it same with Java, not because it's not a full blown browser. Flash and Java are resource hogs anyway. Even Youtube is moving away from Flash formatted videos.

    And then there's GPU accerleration so there's no need for super powerful cpus.
     
    #46 RudeCurve, May 10, 2011
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  7. Mize

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    Apple blocks flash support because it's an open-entry into the App story without apple's review and commission. That's my opinion at least...
     
  8. Gubbi

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    Mine too. Apple wants to control (make money from) the entire stack, hardware, OS and apps.

    Cheers
     
  9. pcchen

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    That doesn't matter. What's matter is, Flash (or flash like) experience is important for modern web pages, and ARM is, for now, not fast enough for it.

    Well, if you look at Javascript benchmarks such as SunSpider, you can see that even a lowly x86 CPU (such as my lowly MacMini with a 2GHz Core 2 Duo) can be much faster (like, 5 times faster) than current fastest ARM devices (such as Motorola Xoom or iPad 2). So I don't really buy the argument that GPU acceleration is going to save the day.

    Exactly. Recently I heard that Apple blocked an iOS App which runs Scratch projects (Scratch is a visual programming tool designed by MIT). Scratch projects are not "professional." They are created by kids and functionally limited, but Apple still don't like it, and that's very disappointing.
     
  10. rpg.314

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    While that article makes a few good points, I still don't think perf is one of them. Besides, it has a few oversights of it's own.
     
  11. ninelven

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    Umm... the ARM cpus that would be going into notebooks in 2013 would be 25x to 30x (minimally) the performance of what is in an iPhone 4,
     
    #51 ninelven, May 10, 2011
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  12. MfA

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    Who is going to make these things any way?

    I don't see any 8+ core 64 bit, 128 bit DDR3 memory bus ARM processors on the horizon.
     
  13. ninelven

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    Well, nvidia is making a desktop unit, a phone unit, and a tablet unit... I can only speculate that Windows 8 notebooks are in the works as well.
     
  14. swaaye

    swaaye Entirely Suboptimal
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    The argument I've seen is that these supposed x86-competing powerhouse ARM CPUs will just end up being less power efficient than what AMD and Intel can make. ARM right now is very low power because of simplicity but if they try to make cores that are much more robust they will not be able to win against the x86 experts without some serious work and money.

    It seems to me that this is the same fight that took place in the '90s except now x86 has even more of a technology lead. What will a 22nm Atom do, for example? It's in the works.

    It's also possible that AMD or Intel could put together their own ARM CPUs. Intel has already been down that road ~10 years ago with XScale and StrongARM.
     
  15. ninelven

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    Yeah, I see this mentioned a great deal as well; I've yet to any actual evidence that validates such a conjecture though. I don't think anyone really knows at this point one way or the other....
     
  16. RudeCurve

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    Apple bought PA Semi and Intrinsity they have more than enough money to buy ARM..or AMD...if they wanted to.

    With that said I don't think Apple's Macbooks need to compete with Windows notebooks with Intel's top of the line cpus anyway. The consumers have already spoken...top of the line cpus in laptops that only get a couple of hours of use aren't big sellers anymore because Apple's iPads have changed the portable computing landscape. There's really no use for all that extra processing power in those i7 notebooks... I mean just how much faster can you run a spreadsheet?

    Maybe some geeks here on B3d might get a i7 notebook just to be able to brag about some useless benchmarks but the majority of the public doesn't care whats in the box as long as the box is able to give them what they want.....eg wordprocessing, spreadsheets, video, photos, music, internet blablabla.
     
    #56 RudeCurve, May 10, 2011
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  17. swaaye

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    I think there's a whole market of professionals who buy those i5/i7 notebooks for very legit reasons. And then, there are you know, gamers. I don't know why anyone would think the entire world is ready to stick to CPUs that deliver performance probably similar to a Coppermine P3.

    Of course nobody knows the future, but RISC and x86 RISC/CISC have been going at it for almost 30 years now and x86 is at the top unless you really need very low power.

    This link was posted on the previous page and it sums the little war up nicely.
    http://www.realworldtech.com/page.cfm?ArticleID=RWT050911220752
     
  18. ninelven

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    Indeed, it is a good thing nobody is talking about CPUs with performance similar to a P3...
     
  19. swaaye

    swaaye Entirely Suboptimal
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    You mean like that iPad CPU? Why do you suppose flash runs awful on current ARM CPUs? Although iPad has an excellent GPU accelerated GUI that hides the CPU capabilities compared to say Android products.

    I just find it exceptionally hard to believe that ARM has a magic advantage in the near future that will allow it to match competitors facing the same challenges and still maintain ultra low power status. They have an advantage when building simple chips but once the designs get more complex, becoming more and more similar to the big desktop CPUs, the advantage slips away.

    For that matter, why hasn't ARM's takeover already happened? Why is it always "coming soon"? They've been a competitor for decades. What's special about today that wasn't the case back with PDAs and other consumer devices of the '90s? I don't buy the "computers are now fast enough" argument because that's been said since forever too.
     
  20. ninelven

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    Since when is an Ipad a notebook made in 2013?

    Because they are current CPUs designed for phones with small batteries (compared to a notebook) and designed to maximize battery life. Not really that hard to understand...

    Saying a future arm notebook can't run flash because an iphone has trouble with it is like saying a core i7 can't decode a 1080p bluray because a P4 couldn't.
     
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