Apple is an existential threat to the PC

Discussion in 'PC Industry' started by MfA, Apr 3, 2018.

  1. iMacmatician


    Jul 24, 2010
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    From MacTechNews: "Exclusive: With macOS 10.15 and 10.14.4 Apple indicates the big change of platform" (original). Apple's testing of upcoming OS versions is different this year than in most previous years.
    Apple has said that the upcoming Mac Pro will be released in 2019, and whether it is Intel or ARM, a release or at least a preview at WWDC is a good bet.
    I think some possibilities can be narrowed down given the 2020 assumption.

    At WWDC 2005, when the PowerPC → Intel transition was announced, Apple introduced a developer transition kit using a 3.6 GHz Pentium 4. The CPU was one of the fastest Intel desktop CPUs available at the time, with the only faster chips being the 3.8 GHz Pentium 4 and the Pentium D (in multi-threading) which were released less than two weeks before WWDC. That Pentium 4 was probably competitive with the PowerPC G5 in single-threaded performance. So if Apple releases a similar developer transition kit for an Intel → ARM transition, then I expect it to have an ARM architecture CPU that compares favorably in performance to high-end Intel CPUs of the time. (The Bloomberg report says "the transition to Apple chips in hardware is planned to begin as early as 2020." I’m not sure it that includes any developer kits, which wouldn’t be for the public.)

    The high-end Apple CPU from my previous speculation post can work as the above high end ARM architecture CPU in both performance and release timeframe. I think that it's possible for this CPU to be in both the developer kit and a mass market Mac, especially if Apple plans to skip one or more generations for Mac chip upgrades. The AnX series has already omitted an A7X (the iPad Air used a faster A7) for an average rate of ~1.4 years/chip so far, and the A11X is almost certainly skipped or canceled in favor of an A12X, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Mac chips receive successors every 2 or even 3 years on average.

    I think that an ARM transition will certainly be announced at a WWDC, and a developer kit presumably will not be far behind. This event has occurred yearly in June for a long time; the last non-June WWDC was in August 2006 when the original Mac Pro was announced.

    When these assumptions are put together, they point to a reasonably high end Apple-designed ARM architecture CPU or SoC released around mid-2020, maybe mid-2019. We can look at the state of TSMC's process nodes in these timeframes:
    • WWDC 2020: TSMC 5 nm is planned for mass production in late 2019 or early 2020 which should be in time for WWDC.
      • For what it’s worth, 5 nm also showed up in a sketchy rumor from CNet about an Apple VR headset targeted for 2020. This rumor does claim that "the chips used in future Macs would be similar to what Apple would use in its T288 AR/VR project."
    • WWDC 2019: it is probably too early for TSMC 7 FF, but perhaps Apple could release the developer kit a few months after WWDC.
    The 12” MacBook (or its successor) is an "obvious" candidate to be one of the products at the start of the transition since it can use the same AnX chip as the iPad Pro. Bloomberg points to the ARM transition being laptops first then desktops, but from the way it’s written in the article it seems more speculation than inside source. If there is a developer transition kit then I expect any mass market ARM Macs to arrive at least a few months after it, regardless of which Macs come first or what chips they use. But rumors point to a possible shakeup of the low end Mac laptop range later this year, so it’s best to leave this topic for later.

    Note: I write "Intel → ARM" but for the purposes of my speculation posts the destination ISA can be an ARM modification (see this Real World Tech forum post pointed out by Entropy), a different existing ISA (e.g. RISC-V), or an Apple-designed ISA (I am not saying anything about the likelihoods of these three options). In most of these cases Apple still needs to demonstrate that they can design high end desktop chips.
    ImSpartacus likes this.
  2. addy

    Aug 29, 2018
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    Now Apple is just not limited to iPhone,ipads, they are moving fastly in technology, no doubt next phase of technology will be dominant by apple company.
  3. DSoup

    DSoup meh
    Legend Veteran Subscriber

    Nov 23, 2007
    Likes Received:
    London, UK
    Thank you, President Trump. Apple are not only moving fastly, but bigly also. :yep2:
    Laurent06, sir doris and Gubbi like this.

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