Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 28th Jan 2010 20:21 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems And yet another item on the iPad? Are we serious? Yes, we are, since this one is about something that even geeks who aren't interested in the iPad itself should find intriguing. Steve Jobs said yesterday that the iPad is powered by an Apple A4 processor, but contrary to what many seem to think - it wasn't designed in-house at all.
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RE: Comment by re_re
by lemur2 on Fri 29th Jan 2010 00:31 UTC in reply to "Comment by re_re"
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Microsoft is a big company, I would be very supprised if they did not have multiple architectures supported deep within the confines of their R&D lab. The same goes for Apple. Bottom line is that if and when x86 becomes less viable (now?) both companies will be ready to jump ship on x86.

The problem for Microsoft and Apple is not that they would be unable to port their software to another architecture, but rather that their paradigm for distribution of software (not only their software, but also software from other vendors intended for their platforms) is in binary executable form only. This leaves them with a large corpus of existing software that won't run on any new architecture.

ARM is much more efficient then x86 in general and as ARM power increases, x86 is sure to suffer a slow and painful death in the low end computing market. I would also argue that gamers and folks running high end workstations will likely stick with x86 for quite a while.

I'm not so sure that the decline of x86 in the low end market will be as slow as you imagine. Already more ARM CPUs are sold than x86 CPUs.
The ARM architecture is the most widely used 32-bit ISA in terms of numbers produced.

Even at the high end ... larger machines these days are often merely arrays of tightly-interconnected smaller processors. Google are a good example of this. A large array of x86 machines draws a lot of power, whereas an even larger array (numerically) of ARM devices might be able to achieve the same performance (for applications such as Google) at lower cost and much lower power consumption.

Edited 2010-01-29 00:33 UTC

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