Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 29th Sep 2017 20:49 UTC
Apple

Industry sources and analysts suggest that Apple is keen to expand its semiconductor capabilities further. They say the company is interested in building core processors for notebooks, modem chips for iPhones, and a chip that integrates touch, fingerprint and display driver functions.

Apple is building ARM laptops. The interesting question is whether they'll run iOS or macOS.

My money's on the former.

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v Comment by Auzy
by Auzy on Fri 29th Sep 2017 21:14 UTC
RE: Comment by Auzy
by tidux on Fri 29th Sep 2017 21:24 UTC in reply to "Comment by Auzy"
tidux Member since:
2011-08-13

How's life in 2006? I hope you're not holding much housing debt. Apple has been making their own ARM SoCs for the iDevices for a long time now.

Reply Score: 0

RE[2]: Comment by Auzy
by Auzy on Sat 30th Sep 2017 03:34 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Auzy"
Auzy Member since:
2008-01-20

No.. TSMC and Samsung does.

And in all likelihood, TSMC likely provides them with a lot of help for the design of the chip too (ie, they likely take the top reference design at the time and make modifications).

I think you've been sold into the marketing where Apple stands up on stage and tells you they made their own processor. It's really not that simple..

They make software and they mainly integrate.

Edited 2017-09-30 03:39 UTC

Reply Score: 0

RE[3]: Comment by Auzy
by galvanash on Sat 30th Sep 2017 04:02 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Auzy"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

No.. TSMC and Samsung does.


TSMC is a foundry. They don't even do CPU design. To my knowledge they are not even an ARM architecture licensee. The fabricate chips, they don't design them (especially high end ARM cores).

Samsung, on the other hand, does do ARM desgin (Exynos). They are also Apples largest competitor. They are certainly more than willing to take Apples money by fabbing their chips for them when they can, but no way are they going to help them design ARM cores to compete against themselves, especially considering how much better Apple's ARM cores are in practice.

Apple literally employs more top tier ARM design talent than any other company in the world, by a long shot. They are about the last company on earth to need outside help in designing ARM cores. You have no idea what your talking about...

Edited 2017-09-30 04:03 UTC

Reply Score: 7

RE[4]: Comment by Auzy
by unclefester on Sat 30th Sep 2017 04:29 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by Auzy"
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

Samsung, on the other hand, does do ARM desgin (Exynos). They are also Apples largest competitor. They are certainly more than willing to take Apples money by fabbing their chips for them when they can, but no way are they going to help them design ARM cores to compete against themselves, especially considering how much better Apple's ARM cores are in practice.


Why wouldn't they help a competitor? In the car industry it is normal practice to sell engines, transmission or even entire vehicle platforms to competitors.

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Comment by Auzy
by galvanash on Sat 30th Sep 2017 04:58 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by Auzy"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

Why wouldn't they help a competitor? In the car industry it is normal practice to sell engines, transmission or even entire vehicle platforms to competitors.


Sell them yes. You don't teach your competitors how to design them so they don't need you anymore... Samsung, as far as ARM CPUs go, has functioned purely as a fab for Apple since the A4 (previous ARM CPUs to my knowledge were Samsung manufactured standard ARM designs).

There are still plenty of Samsung designed and manufactured parts in an iPhone though, I'm only talking about the CPU.

Anyway, my point isn't really that it would be stupid for Samsung to help Apple design their CPUs for competitive reasons (although it still is), my point is they can't really offer any help at this point - Apple doesn't in any way, shape, or form, need their help. They have significantly more expertise in ARM CPU design than Samsung at this time - more than any other company in the world to be quite frank (at least for low power/high perf designs)

And I'm not just blowing sunshine their way - they have most of the top talent, their team is large (200+), well funded (8 billion plus a year and growing), and has consistently produced better designs than their competition each generation, and their lead in performance is growing rather quickly in the last few iterations. They produce what is categorically the best ARM CPU design in existence. If you believe otherwise at this point you are simply not very well informed.

This notion that Apple "is just an integrator" is complete and utter nonsense. It may have been true 25 years ago, but it is about as far from true now as you can get.

Edited 2017-09-30 05:08 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[6]: Comment by Auzy
by unclefester on Sat 30th Sep 2017 09:07 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by Auzy"
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

Geekbench is the phone equvalent of Dieselgate. As soon as a benchmarking app is detected the phone switches to test mode to maximise performance. It is blatamt cheating but almost everybody does it.

I recenly read where HTC managed to "improve" performance by 40% on a SoC simply by updating the firsmware. It killed battery life but wnat the heck.


The recent Tom's Hardware A11 tests specifically mention that the results are basically meaningless because ARM SoCs can't run continuously at full power without overheating.

When the next Samsung flagship arrives the tables will be temporarily turned again.

Edited 2017-09-30 09:08 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[7]: Comment by Auzy
by daveak on Sat 30th Sep 2017 11:39 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Comment by Auzy"
daveak Member since:
2008-12-29

The recent Tom's Hardware A11 tests specifically mention that the results are basically meaningless because ARM SoCs can't run continuously at full power without overheating.


Correct, and while the A* chips still have this problem it is something Apple have paid a lot of attention to. They made a specific point with the A8 (or was it A9?) showing how they had made a huge improvement in how long it could run at full power before having to throttle.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by Auzy
by Thom_Holwerda on Fri 29th Sep 2017 21:37 UTC in reply to "Comment by Auzy"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

...this is either a really terrible troll or my sarcasm detector is broken.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by Auzy
by tylerdurden on Fri 29th Sep 2017 23:45 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Auzy"
tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

If you haven't noticed already, a lot of posters in techie sites assume their lack of knowledge in the field is authoritative.

Reply Score: 7

RE[3]: Comment by Auzy
by number9 on Sat 30th Sep 2017 12:32 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Auzy"
number9 Member since:
2005-10-25

That sentence is brilliant. Going straight in the quotes file.

Reply Score: 2

iOS or macOS
by Morgan on Fri 29th Sep 2017 22:35 UTC
Morgan
Member since:
2005-06-29

Apple is building ARM laptops. The interesting question is whether they'll run iOS or macOS.

My money's on the former.


I think just the opposite. I don't believe Apple will ever cross the (increasingly narrow) line between the traditional Macbook and the iPad Pro no matter what CPU/SoC powers the Macbook. Apple doesn't believe in a touchscreen notebook, and iOS is a touch-dominant OS. Also, there's no technical reason why an ARM system must run iOS; other ARM platforms run traditional desktop operating systems with ease.

That said, macOS continues to slowly merge features and design cues with iOS; it's possible there will be one unified "Apple OS" in the next few years {similar to Windows 10 across desktops, laptops, and tablets). I could see that interpreted as "desktop iOS".

Edited 2017-09-29 22:36 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: iOS or macOS
by jockm on Fri 29th Sep 2017 23:22 UTC in reply to "iOS or macOS"
jockm Member since:
2012-12-22

Indeed and the OS has had support for fat binaries since the beginning (since before the beginning). The toolchain supports making them. It seems like the right solution to me

Reply Score: 1

RE: iOS or macOS
by Sidux on Sat 30th Sep 2017 08:15 UTC in reply to "iOS or macOS"
Sidux Member since:
2015-03-10

Running ARM on Intel is also a patent war with Intel. It's not a technical issue here, just business as usual.
One of the main reasons Apple gave up on RISC is mostly due to IBM not giving any interest in PC market back when they sold the entire business to Lenovo.
Should they come back to their roots is just a matter of time now for Apple.

Reply Score: 2

Dedicated os for each
by yerverluvinunclebert on Fri 29th Sep 2017 23:37 UTC
yerverluvinunclebert
Member since:
2014-05-03

One thing Apple has that Microsoft does not is a very suitable dedicated o/s for each platform. One that works on both types of hardware, each with a proven track record of success.

Microsoft has a record of failure on the phone platform, very mediocre success on tablets (with regard to sheer numbers) but a proven desktop o/s that is slowly being buggered about trying to shoehorn incorrectly it onto tablet devices.

A better bet would have been a tablet/phone o/s that had another codebase but was properly optimised for tablets - it might have been a more successful strategy, compatibility with traditional windows coming later through emulation. It could simply have been part of the Windows brand without actually being part of the Windows codebase.

Ultimately devices and oses that are dedicated to the task are always a better bet. A jack of all trades is a master of none.

Apple will most likely subvert OS X through adding progressively more desktop functionality to IOS and abandoning OS/X bit by bit, a death by a thousand cuts.

To my mind, abandoning OS X is a mistake but an inevitable one.

Reply Score: 1

Not building
by Treza on Fri 29th Sep 2017 23:44 UTC
Treza
Member since:
2006-01-11

_Designing_ CPUs.

These components will be fabricated by TSMC, Samsung or even Intel.

Nothing really new. Apple is comtemplating scaling up their Axx CPUs into laptops, or private server farms.

Reply Score: 4

WinCE lesson for iOS
by Iapx432 on Sat 30th Sep 2017 15:55 UTC
Iapx432
Member since:
2017-09-30

If Microsoft had released a WinCE laptop or light weight CE desktop (they did for B2B client server applications) in the 90s they would have stayed king of the hill. Apple should not make the same mistake and artificially preserve the domain of its "desktop" OS.

Reply Score: 2

RE: WinCE lesson for iOS
by Morgan on Sat 30th Sep 2017 22:00 UTC in reply to "WinCE lesson for iOS"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Microsoft themselves didn't release any WinCE laptops in the 90s but several hardware makers did. You can go here[1], input 1990 through 2000 and "Windows Mobile OS" in the search parameters, and you'll see dozens of models of WinCE laptops and palmtops (quite a few of which I've owned and loved).

[1] http://pdadb.net/index.php?m=device&s=query

Reply Score: 3

My money's on the latter
by Poseidon on Sat 30th Sep 2017 20:17 UTC
Poseidon
Member since:
2009-10-31

And by that I mean that iOS and macOS aremostly the same OS (Kernel and most of the OS), and they'd be dumb to have a touch screen laptop that puts their iPads to rest, unless they're already planning on getting rid of their iPads.

Reply Score: 1

Not so fast
by jigzat on Sun 1st Oct 2017 02:48 UTC
jigzat
Member since:
2008-10-30

I don't think that Apple is going to kill Mac OS any time soon unless they can come up with a breakthrough in touch based UI metaphors for handling files. iOS 11 Files app feels like a sloppy attempt, even the icon is horrible. On the other hand they also need a touch based XCode App.

Microsoft faced a similar problem with Windows 8. It had a main incomplete touch based UI and you always ended up falling back to the Desktop application in order to use Explorer and Control Panel.

Apple will simply switch to ARM for CPU and it will add specialized chips for other tasks. This is was predicted since the collapse of the Pentium 4.

Edited 2017-10-01 02:50 UTC

Reply Score: 0

AX Mac Mini please
by mlankton on Mon 2nd Oct 2017 23:03 UTC
mlankton
Member since:
2009-06-11

what would really interest me as a NeXT user since 1996 and Apple user since 2002 is for Apple to recommit to the desktop.

Everyone in the house has an iPad. You only need one every few years, and it's pretty much a web/email/eBay machine. Handy for the living room and bathroom, great for vacatio, but not what you want for anything that demands attention.

I had two Power Macs and a Mac Pro. After the Mac Pro took a dump last year, I didn't want a new one. Too much money for too little. I ended up with a 27" iMac, which I am typing this one. I'm happy with the iMac, but I don't want to buy another. This just isn't a machine that makes me want to part with $2000 again.

Apple realized they were undercutting the Mac Pro and iMac with the Mac Mini. They seriously hamstrung the Mini from that point on.

Much as I've been disappointed with each annual upgrade of mac OS since Steve's death, I'd still rather use it than linux or Windows. What I'd really like, is a capable AX processor in the Mac Mini that delivered good performance for average use at a good price. Ditch Core if you're just going to hamstring it in the Mini. Throw one of your proprietary cpus in there running mac OS. I'd get one. I'd like to see it happen.

Reply Score: 1