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|How Apple Might Likely Change The PC Industry. by thepoweruser(m): 11:00pm On Nov 21|
As a stalwart tech enthusiast, I must say that there is always a point in life when one senses that we are on the cusp of a revolution.
Apple is the sort of company that generates a lot of emotions: awe, love, despair, surprise, amusement and maybe even disgust. You can say a lot about this company founded in the 1970s by a few hippie-looking idealistic men, whose business atmosphere back then was starkly casual and laid-back compared to the overwhelming formality and corporate gloom of IBM (a company that actually had it's own country club); a company who prided its ability to think out of the box; a company whose leader, Jobs, is in my opinion the greatest tech visionary ever (and also one of my least favorite. Oops. )
Apple changed almost every aspect of computing. They changed the way we interacted with our PCs. They changed the way we listen to music. (I'm damn certain the .mp3 file format would never have taken off without the iPod). They changed the way we thought a laptop should be designed. The MacBook Air nailed the thin-yet-powerful laptop design and gave rise tn a new laptop category, the ultrabook. The iMac spawned the all-in-one PC. Their iPad is just in a league of it's own in the tablet market. The Apple Watch is (really) the only smartwatch worth buying. And; of course, the iPhone changed the definition of a smartphone. Apple isn't a trend-follower, it is a trend-setter. I know I sound like an Apple fanboy but I love innovation. I love breaking new ground. I love something new, unprecedented. Apple has recently been more conservative, focusing mainly on refinement (and the money) but I just feel like it's 2007 again. Granted, not everything Apple has made have all been runaway successes (cough, AirPower, iBook, AirPoint Extreme, the elusive Glass, cough) but Apple just makes innovations so good you wonder how we could have lived without this before. If I could use a sentence, it would be it just works. Convenience, even. (I mean, just look at how seamless FaceID is).
Alright, let's get down to it. So, for those of you in the know, Apple was rumored to ditch x86-based (Intel) processors for ARM. Initially, I dismissed the rumors as pure fantasy. I mean, really, right; what a nice April Fools joke: Apple leaves powerful x86 for weaker ARM in the name of power efficiency. (Except it wasn't April then). But then as the rumors thickened, I began to reconsider my opinions. I didn't want to believe it, but I thought there must be some meat to the rumors. And then imagine my surprise when on June 22 at the WWDC event, Apple announced what they called 'a historical moment'.
I was kind of sceptical, sure. But now I think they're right.
Apple's bone of contention has always been with Intel. I mean, back when Motorola was selling Apple chips before they jumped to IBM's PowerPC architecture, they were trying to build their own experience. Intel was a competitor (well, Wintel, but not IBM, thanks to their generosity). They wanted to show customers that they were better than any x86/Wintel/IBM compatible, both in performance and efficiency. Then Intel, who had lagged behind PPC, suddenly started catching up. And then in 2005, Jobs shocked us (Apple nerds) all.
*** 2005. Somewhere in a bar in Cupertino...***
First guy: Yo, Joe, word's on the street.
Joe: What word, Fred?
Fred:Looks like Apple's ditching PowerPC for x86 (Intel).
Joe:*Spits out his mouthful of ginger beer* WHAT?!
Modified: Man, this post is too long. Never fear, more updates incoming. Watch this space!
2 Likes 1 Share
|Re: How Apple Might Likely Change The PC Industry. by coker007(m): 11:05pm On Nov 21|
Go on, people are reading mate!!
|Re: How Apple Might Likely Change The PC Industry. by Psylas2: 4:41am On Nov 22|
I'll read this later
|Re: How Apple Might Likely Change The PC Industry. by tellsblinks(m): 6:44am On Nov 22|
Lol, trash post
|Re: How Apple Might Likely Change The PC Industry. by thepoweruser(m): 8:13am On Nov 22|
Updated: Sorry for the delay; dear readers, had to do a little more research.
Okay, y'all get the point. Pardon the joke.
But seriously, Apple and Intel were never really friends. It was embarrassing (and somewhat humiliating) that PowerPC, which had been so ahead of x86 in performance-per-watt, suddenly found itself obsolete. Intel's Core had made a massive step forward such that PPC was still stuck at 500~800MHz while x86 was blowing past 3GHz with dual and even quad cores. And longtime Mac lovers hated this. An x86 Mac? What an irony at the time.
PowerPC couldn't give Apple the performance and efficiency it wanted. Intel could. So when Mac OS X launched and Apple's roadmap to the future was set up, they knew PPC wasn't going to get them there.
But now that is changing.
I've always said that, 'Competition is good for us consumers, monopolies are bad'. Intel was virtually unchallenged in the PC chip biz for so long. AMD, their (pretty much) only rival couldn't match them in performance, and AMD's offerings just looked like feeble counterblows. But Intel's progressed rocketed upward, then began slowing to a crawl, since there wasn't anyone to push them. They had the best foundries on the planet. They had the lion's share of the PC market. Buy any desktop (or laptop) and chances were it had an Intel chip. What could possibly happen? Nothing.
Or so they thought.
Then Came Ryzen
In 2017, AMD debuted Ryzen. You have to understand that before Ryzen came we were stuck on dual and quad cores on mainstream PCs like forever. Ryzen changed that. Desktops and laptops were still stuck on 14nm. Ryzen gave us 7nm in 2019. They beat Intel in price-to-performance ratio, even in laptops. To really understand how just how much Ryzen shook things up I recommend reading PCWorld's articles on how AMD caught Intel napping at the wheel.
I mean, how worse could it get? People were now a lot more likely to go with AMD. Intel was only winning in biased workloads. Even in gaming, Intel's previous lead over AMD will likely be ending with Ryzen's forthcoming 5000 series. Chipzilla, still struggling to fix it's 10nm woes, couldn't do little more than reuse it's 14nm nodes. It wasn't looking good at all for Intel. AMD was whupping them everywhere.
And now comes Apple.
Switching to Custom ARM Chips
Anyone who knows Apple knows just how they've been dominating the mobile scene. It is often said that there are two sides in the mobile chipset game: Apple and everyone else. The A14 Bionic in the latest iPhones and iPad Air is so powerful that I honestly doubt either the Snapdragon 875(G) or the Exynos 2100 will match it in CPU performance. (Let's not even talk about GPU). Watch TechNick's videos on YouTube and see just how much mAh/min an iPhone has. (Spoiler alert: iPhone 12 goes as low as 5mAh/min even under heavy use!). Performance and efficiency, Apple was just miles ahead. It's impressive. And now Apple says it's leaving x86 behind and it's throwing it's weight behind ARM.
This marks a turning point in Apple's history. Imagine being able to use the same apps on your MacBook as your iPhone. Macs would instantly become Always-On, Always Connected PCs. (Who knows, Apple might add a cellular modem). Desktop-grade apps would come to the iPad, fully fulfilling Apple's dream of it being a practical laptop replacement. Apple's ecosystem would become even more seamless. So many potential benefits. For the first time ever, Apple controls the design and operation of the processors from the ground up
Naturally, critics were worried, and they had a very good reason to be. ARM had proven it's salt in the smartphone and embedded computing game but was largely disappointing on desktop performance-wise. Battery-wise, it was amazing. ARM-based Windows laptops running mainly Snapdragon chipsets could only run either native ARM32/64 Windows programs (perfectly) or legacy Win32 apps via emulation (not so perfectly). x86-64 emulation was still a long way off. So for Apple to want to do this said two things: i). That they were confident of their custom chip division (and they had good reason to be), and 2). That they were also confident of solving any inherent backwards-compatibility issues. Critics also questioned compatibility with things like dedicated GPUs and support with programs that used them.
One More Thing
On November 10, 2020, Apple announced the very first ARM Macs, all powered by the same Apple M1 chipset. The 2020 MacBook Pro 13, MacBook Air and Mac mini. No difference, other than the Air not having active cooling (a fan). Not even a heatpipe. The aluminium chassis was the heat sink.
The media was curious. Okay, this is a new era for Apple, we get it. Two years down the line, every new Mac is an ARM machine. Apps? Okay, native apps are coming. Side benefit: macOS Big Sur lets you run the same apps as the iPhones. But what about Photoshop and other x86 apps? Apple says, don't worry, Rosetta 2 to the rescue. Emulation. And then dismay, because we all know how slow emulating even x86-32 is on 64-bit ARM hardware.
Apple is a company that prides itself on the quality of it's software experience. The hardware and software are the key ingredients in any ecosystem, but to bring the best out of them requires polish. Refinement, even. Well, the hardware and software has been unveiled, nyet? Well, let's wait for reviews.
The Apple M1 isn't so different from the A14 Bionic. Two extra cores, a beefier GPU, even an ISP and Neural Engine, similar to it's mobile counterpart. Infact, what's so different? Same Firestorm+Icestorm architecture (higher clocks-3.2GHz for Firestorm with four heavy cores instead of just two, up to 2.6GHz for Icestorm, up from 3.1 and 1.8 on the A14), same GPU architecture (double the cores), same ISP and AI silicon, same storage and RAM controller bus. However, the cores have larger caches to saturate the core clocks, better memory bandwith, hell, you could call this an A14X Bionic, and was initially rumored as an A14T. So, just how good is it? Hold on to your horses, guys... This might seriously blow your socks off.
The tech site The Verge said and I quote; ''The questions changed from, 'Why would you want to invest in Apple's unproven chip' to, 'How do other laptops and PCs go from here?'
Disrupting The Industry
As one of the reviewers of the new ARM MacBook put it, 'The test was deeply unfavorable'. In a corner was the very latest, all-bells-and-whistles maxed-out 16'' MacBook Pro with 64GB of RAM, what is certainly an 8-core i9-9980H with an AMD Radeon 5500 M and 4TB of storage, a 6000USD machine, against a much less impressive MacBook Pro 13'' with Apple M1, 8GB RAM and 1TB storage, just for 2000USD. In every single test, the ARM laptop held it's own and even beat it's far expensive cousin (both in benchmarks and code compiling) and the most insane thing is that the Intel machine's fans were roaring and the ARM laptop didn't turn on it's fan ONCE.
What Happens Now?
In all my life, I have never expected this to happen. Obviously, the newer laptop doesn't have dedicated graphics hardware but Apple's software wizards are working on using their own integrated GPU in the M1. And this is with a laptop, imagine what Apple could do with the upcoming ARM iMac! This is the new computing revolution. A new day has surely dawned for ARM.
Here's me wondering what the hell Intel and AMD are going to do. Could this be the end of x86? What about Windows-on-ARM? How are they going to answer to this? Will Intel overlook the fact that the ARM MacBook does all these miracles while having twice the battery life? Bring back Itanium? I don't know. Only time will tell. But I can assure you that there is no way any of them (be it Intel, or Qualcomm, or the PC manufacturers, or even ARM will ignore this. Because Apple usually starts trends that push the industry forward. And this is the most amazing trend they kickstarted since the original iPhone launched, all the way back in 2007.
Comments welcome. Took me nearly 6 hours to type this. Appreciate the early comments. One love.
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|Re: How Apple Might Likely Change The PC Industry. by Pimples(m): 10:29am On Nov 22|
Intresting write up
|Re: How Apple Might Likely Change The PC Industry. by Ernerstdavid55(m): 1:05pm On Nov 22|
I was lost in it like I was watching a movie
|Re: How Apple Might Likely Change The PC Industry. by thepoweruser(m): 2:13pm On Nov 22|
Pimples:Thank you so much sir.
|Re: How Apple Might Likely Change The PC Industry. by thepoweruser(m): 2:14pm On Nov 22|
Ernerstdavid55:Thanks for the support, sir. I appreciate it. I really do.
|Re: How Apple Might Likely Change The PC Industry. by Hakeem12(m): 2:34pm On Nov 22|
thepoweruser:I Stan and re-stan apple for this. Exciting times in the tech world right now, exciting times. I have also been wondering what would happen to x86. Apple left others in the dust with this move.
The A14 bionic is no joke. It's a beast. Love the way you write. You should launch more topics. Only one other guy; atheistandproud dishes out info like this. The only bugging me is the lack of dedicated graphics hardware. Would an integrated GPU fare better?
|Re: How Apple Might Likely Change The PC Industry. by atheistandproud(m): 3:04pm On Nov 22|
Thanks for the mention.
The M1 is a beast but I didn't think that RISC architecture would do well against CISC.
The future is pregnant.
|Re: How Apple Might Likely Change The PC Industry. by Randerl: 3:18pm On Nov 22|
This, is a great and well researched write up.
|Re: How Apple Might Likely Change The PC Industry. by Exumal: 4:07pm On Nov 22|
Great write up OP. But we shouldn't forget the fact that the processor, GPU and the RAM are all on board, no room for future upgrade. I believe this new trend may bring about the death of Windows. They will have to look into a better optimized. On a gloomy side, I can't see a better future for Android and Windows; Apple is going the way of Huawei's Harmony. One OS for all your home appliances and smartphone as well as these OS are cost efficient in utilizing hardwares. Why pay much for hardware with low efficiency or pay less for hardware and well optimised OS.
|Re: How Apple Might Likely Change The PC Industry. by cool318(m): 4:56pm On Nov 22|
Great Tech write-up you just vomited here.
Imagine the pumping power of CPU, GPU and APU's in one system. Apple is always setting the pace.
I believe the Bionic processor, could it be the brain child of that Nigerian earlier mentioned on this forum, who was said to be on the verge of producing chips embedded in Artificial intelligence.
Keep us posted @OP
|Re: How Apple Might Likely Change The PC Industry. by thepoweruser(m): 5:29pm On Nov 22|
Hakeem12:Thank you for the kind words sir. I'll try to add more topics. You would not believe that I wrote this entire article on a small phone (specifically an MTN Smart M561M3 KaiOS phone). Saving for a smartphone now. To answer your question, Apple is working on the GPU problem by offloading the tasks to the M1's 8-core GPU. Shouldn't be too much of a worry; after all, who uses a Mac for gaming?
|Re: How Apple Might Likely Change The PC Industry. by thepoweruser(m): 5:33pm On Nov 22|
atheistandproud:Nice comment, my atheist friend. Though I do think that RISC can beat CISC. Why do I say this, though? Because both now have a lot in common. Attributes that make both different has been used with both of them (well, maybe not all). Let's just wait for Apple's ARM iMac, shall we?
P.S: So, what do you think about the upcoming Android 5nm chips (SD875 and Exynos 2100)? Can they beat Apple's A14?
|Re: How Apple Might Likely Change The PC Industry. by thepoweruser(m): 5:49pm On Nov 22|
Exumal:Thanks for the comment, friend. But let me shock you. Who started the trend of soldering those components to the motherboard? You guessed right: Apple. Android is so good now in my opinion that it is only manufacturers that are responsible for ruining it via bad skins/ads, not Google. Fuchsia is still years away from coming to something you'll find in someone's pocket. Windows' future? Who knows? Andromeda failed just like Windows 10 Mobile and the UWP platform. HarmonyOS, now that is interesting, especially the intriguing microkernel base. Well by Q2 2021 we'll have a sizable number of devices running it.
|Re: How Apple Might Likely Change The PC Industry. by thepoweruser(m): 5:53pm On Nov 22|
|Re: How Apple Might Likely Change The PC Industry. by thepoweruser(m): 5:56pm On Nov 22|
Randerl:Einstein! Thanks for the support, sir. Waiting to see how the chip wars pan out. Come 2030 and things in the tech space will be so different from today.
1 Like 1 Share
|Re: How Apple Might Likely Change The PC Industry. by atheistandproud(m): 7:18pm On Nov 22|
I highly doubt that. A14 is designed on ARMv8.6 which is light years from the X1 and A78 which are on ARMv8.4.
They could come close as usual but beat? That remains to be seen.
|Re: How Apple Might Likely Change The PC Industry. by Heartlessbanker(f): 7:29pm On Nov 22|
Bia op, where my own processor; spreadtrum and unisoc dey for this upgrade?
|Re: How Apple Might Likely Change The PC Industry. by Djtm(m): 8:09pm On Nov 22|
You should format your post properly and use paragraphs
|Re: How Apple Might Likely Change The PC Industry. by jaxxy(m): 9:25pm On Nov 22|
Nice bt damn long.
Intel chips have dominated the market Apple now complaining they are too expensive bt intel disagrees. This is besides any long rivalry btwn these 2 I guess.
|Re: How Apple Might Likely Change The PC Industry. by khingTony(m): 9:46pm On Nov 22|
atheistandproud:A14 is designed on ARM v 8.4-A
|Re: How Apple Might Likely Change The PC Industry. by thepoweruser(m): 2:45pm On Nov 23|
Djtm:Thanks for the advice sir, but I did use paragraphs.
|Re: How Apple Might Likely Change The PC Industry. by thepoweruser(m): 2:50pm On Nov 23|
jaxxy:True, I'm tired of Intel's dominance. Jeez! Were it not for AMD we'd still be having maybe a quad-core eight thread i9-9840H We need competition in tech: it forces manufacturers to be innovative, it drives costs down and it gives us choice. Nvidia too is coming in. They just bought ARM. Wouldn't be long before we see an ARM-based server from them. I wonder if they may kill Mali GPUs though, maybe for their own designs?...
|Re: How Apple Might Likely Change The PC Industry. by thepoweruser(m): 2:56pm On Nov 23|
atheistandproud:I agree, though I doubt they'd match the A14. Maybe the A13 (God, please). Apple is literally two years ahead of them all. We need a new little core. Cortex-A55 is five years overdue. Wish ARM could make a Cortex-A65 design for mobile. But who knows? This might change next year with ARMv9 Matterhorn.
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