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  • ARM Processors to Replace Intel Chips on Future MacBook Models?


    A new rumor from SemiAccurate claims that Apple is now planning on moving the entire MacBook line away from Intel processors to ARM processors instead by the end of 2012 or early 2013. Apple appears to be waiting to make the switch until 64-bit variants becomes available. According to SemiAccurate, “Apple is moving the laptop line, and presumably desktops too, to ARM based chips as soon as possible.”

    The current lineup of iOS devices now use a CPU based on the ARM architecture. Apple has made it clear that they intend to bring the best features from iOS to the desktop with the introduction of Lion, when it comes out this summer. It’s generally assumed that Apple is simply referring to software when discussing Lion, however, they may also be speaking of hardware features as well.

    “Apple can move to ARM without worrying about obsoleting code with an ISA that is on the verge of changing, and no memory overhead worries either. Basically, it looks like the perfect time.”

    All MacBook models are simply portable electronic devices at heart. Moving to ARM based processors, would give Apple the freedom to focus on a more unified product line, at least under the hood. If MacBooks and iOS devices use similar CPU designs, then Apple would be able to blur the line even further between product lines. This might even be a benefit to the average user as well.

    It’s also being reported that Intel has shown an interest in developing mobile chips for devices like Apple’s iPad. Competition between Intel and ARM may lead to even better chip designs as the two companies try to outdo each other. This would give Apple the freedom to choose the very best CPU’s available once the dust settles.

    If this all sounds highly unlikely to you, then just remember, there was a time not too long ago when an Apple computer with an Intel processor would have been unthinkable. Now it’s the norm. Apple always plans a step or two ahead of the competition. This time next year we may all be drooling over the latest MacBook Pro models powered by ARM processors. You never know, stranger things have happened.

    Source: SemiAccurate
    This article was originally published in forum thread: ARM Processors to Replace Intel Chips on Future MacBook Models? started by Wiley John Wright View original post
    Comments 25 Comments
    1. Poseidon79's Avatar
      Poseidon79 -
      Would this lead to any software compatibility issues?
    1. A3gOwner's Avatar
      A3gOwner -
      ^ yes and no. Current software maybe just due to a different instruction set. Future software I'd say no its all on apple to compile for the arm and intel.
    1. kuhndsn's Avatar
      kuhndsn -
      Quote Originally Posted by Poseidon79 View Post
      Would this lead to any software compatibility issues?
      My thoughts exactly. The instruction would be different and I am wondering how that would work if someone wanted to load an earlier OS.
    1. codester3388's Avatar
      codester3388 -
      I hope this doesn't happen. Losing Parallels will suck. I still have to use windows for a few things.
    1. tudtran's Avatar
      tudtran -
      I wanna A5 chip in an iPhone.
    1. Jahooba's Avatar
      Jahooba -
      This would really screw up those that dual-boot. Maybe that's what Apple wants?
    1. codester3388's Avatar
      codester3388 -
      Looks like I better upgrade to a new MacBook pro this year just to be safe.
    1. iTouch-Warrior's Avatar
      iTouch-Warrior -
      Hmmm... I wouldn't be surprised if this happens. But quite frankly, I don't think ARM-based processors are ready to take on the load of a full-fledged computer. But, they're talking about 2012-2013, maybe by that time ARM processors will have eight cores with a clock of 6GHz each...

      Technology moves at an unprecedented and sometimes silly pace nowadays...
    1. Cer0's Avatar
      Cer0 -
      I don't like this news at all.

      If they are moving architecture or splitting their line up then software is gonna get nasty and there goes OSX love that has been building these past years. Or if they move all the lineup to it I am not sure how I feel because right now ARM is not fully up to Intel power but it is getting there.
    1. itzthestoff's Avatar
      itzthestoff -
      The next Windows will have support for ARM, so you can still dual boot!
    1. AngelAngeles's Avatar
      AngelAngeles -
      Quote Originally Posted by codester3388 View Post
      I hope this doesn't happen. Losing Parallels will suck. I still have to use windows for a few things.
      Window's 8 will support ARM processors so in theory a new version of Parallels should work on an ARM powered Macbook
    1. coolguy742's Avatar
      coolguy742 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jahooba View Post
      This would really screw up those that dual-boot. Maybe that's what Apple wants?
      That could be one factor/motive


      Sent from my iPod touch using ModMyi
    1. CovariantTensor's Avatar
      CovariantTensor -
      God da#n it! Not another architecture change!!! Sh#t! What's so great about ARM? And its not just Apple, Microsoft wants Windows 8 to run on ARM too.
    1. redzombi2k's Avatar
      redzombi2k -
      As a bootcamp user, I would be very disappointed if they did this.
    1. dale1v's Avatar
      dale1v -
      This mission to fuse mobile and desktop, I hate it. Keep them separate.
      When all third party software becomes useless on their computers because of a move to ARM, it'll take a while for the devs to code well for it. Only Apple software would work correctly from the start, which gives it that "Apple vibe"
      Quote Originally Posted by CovariantTensor View Post
      God da#n it! Not another architecture change!!! Sh#t! What's so great about ARM? And its not just Apple, Microsoft wants Windows 8 to run on ARM too.
      Windows 8 will support ARM, but they wouldn't switch to it completely. 2, 3 OS's down the line and OS X 10.9 will have no support for anything other than ARM, lol
    1. spazturtle's Avatar
      spazturtle -
      Quote Originally Posted by redzombi2k View Post
      As a bootcamp user, I would be very disappointed if they did this.
      You will still be able to use boot camp or any other way of dual booting, Windows 8 runs on ARM and most Linux distributions work on ARM too.
    1. feidhlim1986's Avatar
      feidhlim1986 -
      As far as I know, ARM is a 32bit-only architecture at the moment, so good luck having more than 4GB or RAM on ARM Mac's.

      Moving to ARM would be the worst ting to happen to Mac's EVER
    1. z3r01's Avatar
      z3r01 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jahooba View Post
      This would really screw up those that dual-boot. Maybe that's what Apple wants?
      but then what about bootcamp?
    1. eman297's Avatar
      eman297 -
      well this means that apple would have to ditch the thunderbolt port because thunderbolt was developed by intel
    1. cacaiolbs's Avatar
      cacaiolbs -
      there are two things in the equation.
      One - why go back to the RISK. If they finally got rid of it by discontinuing Rosetta.
      Two - Windows will be supporting ARM architecture, so, no bootcamp/parallels loss.
      But why? intel and apple have been developing tech together, for some time... i don't see it happening as i was back in 2005. And All major corps seem to be adopting ARM for mobile and Intel/X86-64 for computers. And X86-64 has so much horsepower, that i really don't see it happening. And since apple started to use intel, and not being different in hardware terms, it started to grow its sales, as never before.