Mac Goes ARM

Sorry, Intel.

I did not stay up to watch the 2020 WWDC because I am too tired from having to digest all those durians that just keep coming. Good god, I still remember those days where I stay up for Apple Keynotes and Google I/O. Those days are over when I realized it doesn’t make any sense for me to follow up. I can always coming back to it later just as I do now.

Forget about MacOS Big Sur and iOS14, I am truly excited about one thing - the transition from Intel x86 to Apple custom silicon ARM-based SoC. Everybody can see it coming years before when Apple Introduced the first A9X chip that powered the first-generation iPad Pro, and now its good to see that it finally appears on Mac as well.

Universal binary, anyone?

I have nothing against Intel, they made fantastic chips and I use their processors in many custom servers and workstations that I built. But I can see the reason behind why Apple need to move away from Intel - the most expensive and powerful Apple product, Mac Pro, is powered by Xeon W processor that got kicked so hard by cheaper Ryzen Threadripper. I read a lot of opinions and arguments why Apple did not put Ryzen in Mac and its not something I want to discuss any longer, but the point here - as long as its x86, bets are all on Intel or AMD, and Apple need to break away from that.

If there is a company that has capability to shift the market, it’s Apple. They do have that reach whether you like it or not. Look when they removed 3.5mm audio jack from iPhone 4 years ago - many high-end smartphones, now comes without one. And bluetooth earphones/headphones are getting better and cheaper ever since that. Look when they decided to embrace flat UI with iOS7, every apps basically shifted overnight from skeuomorphism. We are going to see the same pattern being play all over again here, and its even seamless comparing to transition from PowerPC to x86 15 years ago.

I know some developers are excited to see this. Dockers and Linux runs on ARM-based Mac.

We already have everything runs on ARM today - Linux, without question runs on almost everything. Don’t forget that we do have Windows 10 that runs on ARM with capability to run 32bit x86 apps, so no question you cannot run Windows on ARM-based Mac when its launching. Bootcamp will still be there along with virtualization software such as VMWare Fusion. Apple even already listed out that you can run Linux vm on ARM-based Mac. So when Apple finally ships ARM-based Mac, we will see more and more ARM-based Windows laptop too along with native app that doesn’t need any x86 to ARM translation. It doesn’t mean x86 will be dead anytime soon, it will stay but not with the majority it had today. Unless Microsoft decided to stay with x86 and keep Windows only for Intel/AMD just like back in the days but I digress.

And maybe, we will finally see MacBooks with built-in cellular. I wouldn’t count on it, but there is possibilities by using their own silicon, a cellular modem won’t hurt battery life as much.

Well, I need to start saving up for brand new MacBook in 2022.

Reference link :

Apple announces Mac transition to Apple silicon

Posted June 23, 2020

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