New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBook

Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBook
By: Richard Cownie (tich.delete@this.pobox.com), May 10, 2011 6:41 am
Room: Moderated Discussions
David Kanter (dkanter@realworldtech.com) on 5/10/11 wrote:
---------------------------

>Charlie's reports aside, Apple will not switch their laptops to ARM any time soon.
>Despite Apple’s previous migrations, there are too many technical and business
>challenges and too few benefits.

I don't know what's going to happen. But I think some of
your arguments are weak:

First, the idea that Apple is focused on performance.
Sure, right now, they happen to have both MacBook Pro's
and iMacs with up-to-date Sandy Bridge cpus. But that's
not typical at all: they have rather consistently been
focused on low-power solutions - sticking with Core2 for
a long time in spite of its relatively low performance,
and building some of the lowest-power solutions around,
suchas the Mac Mini, MacBook Air, and iPad. They usually
sacrifice performance to get low power and compact
physical design.

Second, the argument that putting together an untested
cpu and an untested GPU in a laptop would be a huge risk.
But that isn't what they would be doing: they've already
got the iPad1 and iPad2, with a very strong software
ecosystem, and surely they also have iPad3 prototypes
already and have a very good idea of what an existing
ARM+GPU-based system can do, running quite a wide variety
of software. A hypothetical ARM-based laptop would surely
be, in terms of the compute system, an evolution of the
iPad hardware, rather than a crippled MacBook.

Third, with Grand Central and OpenCL in OSX, Apple have
been providing the infrastructure to allow compute-intensive
apps to utilize multiple cores and GPGPU compute.
Look at descriptions of the new Final Cut Pro X video
editor for an example. If we're looking at a future where
single-thread apps run fast enough (and most already do
on the iPad2), and compute-intensive apps prefer to use
GPU resources, then the need for x86-level single-thread
performance is questionable.

In all, Apple doesn't succeed by winning in benchmarks.
It succeeds - and charges a hefty premium - by providing
an overall user experience. If moving to ARM involves
less single-thread performance, but allows you to have a
faster GPU and more cores and maybe an SSD instead of a
5400rpm disk, that might well be a good tradeoff. And
the people playing with iPad3 prototypes are almost
certainly the ones with the best information to make that
decision.

Having said all that, it wouldn't surprise me at all to see
some Apple laptops with AMD Fusion APUs; or else just a
whole lot of rumors to scare Intel into giving them a
really good deal.
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TopicPosted ByDate
New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBookDavid Kanter2011/05/10 12:19 AM
  New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBookMark Christiansen2011/05/09 11:24 PM
  New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBookLouis Gerbarg2011/05/09 11:54 PM
  New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBooknone2011/05/10 12:57 AM
    New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBookDavid Kanter2011/05/10 01:18 AM
      New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBooknone2011/05/10 02:14 AM
        New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBookDavid Kanter2011/05/10 02:19 AM
          New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBookGoose2011/05/10 02:34 AM
          New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBookRatherNotSay2011/05/10 06:25 AM
          ARM predication not so horriblePaul A. Clayton2011/05/10 08:05 AM
            ARM predication not so horriblenone2011/05/10 08:12 AM
              Partial update seems kind of oddPaul A. Clayton2011/05/10 08:29 AM
                Partial update seems kind of oddExophase2011/05/10 08:51 AM
                  Partial update seems kind of oddMichael S2011/05/10 12:56 PM
                    Partial update seems kind of oddMichael S2011/05/10 01:25 PM
                      Partial update seems kind of oddWilco2011/05/10 02:39 PM
                        Partial update seems kind of oddanonymous422011/05/10 07:09 PM
                          Partial update seems kind of oddrwessel2011/05/10 09:57 PM
                  Condition register usesPaul A. Clayton2011/05/10 05:56 PM
                  Partial update seems kind of oddMegol2011/05/11 01:06 AM
          New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBookKevin G2011/05/11 01:21 AM
      New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBookWilco2011/05/10 03:47 AM
        New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBookMichael S2011/05/10 04:06 AM
          New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBookWilco2011/05/10 04:25 AM
            New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBookMichael S2011/05/10 05:13 AM
        Predication and OoOEExophase2011/05/10 08:34 AM
          Predication and OoOEWilco2011/05/10 03:46 PM
            Predication and OoOEExophase2011/05/11 07:51 AM
        ARM ISADavid Kanter2011/05/10 09:12 AM
          ARM ISAUngo2011/05/10 12:30 PM
  New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBookThibs2011/05/10 02:45 AM
  New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBookLlew2011/05/10 03:33 AM
    New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBookDavid Kanter2011/05/10 09:34 AM
  New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBookKevin G2011/05/10 03:55 AM
    New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBookDavid Kanter2011/05/10 10:07 AM
      New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBookKevin G2011/05/11 01:33 AM
        New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBookDavid Kanter2011/05/11 02:00 AM
  New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBook ... The FACTS say otherwise !fabrice2011/05/10 04:07 AM
    New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBook ... The FACTS say otherwise !Rakesh Malik2011/05/11 03:03 PM
      New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBook ... The FACTS say otherwise !Richard Cownie2011/05/12 08:50 AM
        New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBook ... The FACTS say otherwise !Rakesh Malik2011/05/12 09:10 AM
    Hrmmmm...David Kanter2011/05/14 12:19 AM
  iPad-writer?Jouni Osmala2011/05/10 04:35 AM
    Laptops finally moving to touchscreen GUI?mpx2011/05/10 06:03 AM
  What about MS?Joe Kerr2011/05/10 06:26 AM
  New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBookRichard Cownie2011/05/10 06:41 AM
    Dual CPU makes more sense than dropping x86Mark Roulo2011/05/10 07:54 AM
      Dual CPU makes more sense than dropping x86Richard Cownie2011/05/10 09:02 AM
        Dual CPU makes more sense than dropping x86Mark Roulo2011/05/10 09:28 AM
          Dual CPU makes more sense than dropping x86Richard Cownie2011/05/10 09:55 AM
            Dual CPU makes more sense than dropping x86Wes Felter2011/05/10 11:20 AM
      Dual CPU makes more sense than dropping x86rwessel2011/05/10 11:01 AM
        Dual CPU makes more sense than dropping x86fabrice2011/05/10 12:02 PM
    New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBookDavid Kanter2011/05/10 10:18 AM
      New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBookRichard Cownie2011/05/10 12:10 PM
        Form factors and performanceDavid Kanter2011/05/10 12:39 PM
          Form factors and performanceRichard Cownie2011/05/10 05:25 PM
            Form factors and performanceLinus Torvalds2011/05/10 06:24 PM
              Form factors and performanceRichard cownie2011/05/11 02:12 AM
                Form factors and performanceRichard Cownie2011/05/11 03:44 AM
              Form factors and performanceGabriele Svelto2011/05/11 09:03 AM
                Form factors and performanceLinus Torvalds2011/05/11 10:16 AM
                  Form factors and performanceMark Christiansen2011/05/11 11:06 AM
                  Form factors and performanceRichard Cownie2011/05/11 12:36 PM
              Form factors and performanceDoug Siebert2011/05/11 10:19 AM
                Form factors and performanceRakesh Malik2011/05/11 03:36 PM
            Form factors and performanceFoo_2011/05/11 04:33 AM
              Form factors and performanceRichard Cownie2011/05/11 05:35 AM
              Form factors and performanceJoe Kerr2011/05/11 09:05 PM
    New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBookUngo2011/05/10 01:33 PM
      New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBookRichard Cownie2011/05/10 04:54 PM
  Maybe after Cortex A15 ?Nicolas2011/05/10 07:07 AM
    Maybe after Cortex A15 ?anonymous422011/05/10 11:01 AM
      Maybe after Cortex A15 ? Nicolas2011/05/11 01:34 PM
  One way for ARM to beat Inteletienne2011/05/10 04:38 PM
  Perhaps ARMed apple netbooks?John H2011/05/16 08:14 PM
    Perhaps ARMed apple netbooks?blah2011/05/17 08:02 PM
      Perhaps ARMed apple netbooks?Brett2011/05/18 02:50 AM
        Perhaps ARMed apple netbooks?Llew2011/05/18 03:43 AM
        Perhaps ARMed apple netbooks?David Kanter2011/05/18 09:46 AM
          Perhaps ARMed apple netbooks?Brett2011/05/18 11:43 AM
            Perhaps ARMed apple netbooks?blah2011/05/18 08:01 PM
            Perhaps ARMed apple netbooks?David Kanter2011/05/18 11:47 PM
              Perhaps ARMed apple netbooks?Rob Thorpe2011/05/19 01:07 AM
                Perhaps ARMed apple netbooks?blah2011/05/19 11:01 AM
                  Perhaps ARMed apple netbooks?Richard Cownie2011/05/19 11:48 AM
              iOS changes from OSXBrett2011/05/21 12:18 PM
                iOS changes from OSXBrett Davis2011/08/26 04:46 PM
              iOS changes from OSX Brett2011/06/03 10:50 AM
  New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBookRobi52011/05/20 11:55 PM
    New Article: Why Apple Won’t ARM the MacBookDavid Kanter2011/05/21 01:36 PM
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