Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 29th Oct 2016 11:06 UTC
Apple

From MacRumors:

In a series of tweets sent out last night, and now in an interview with The Verge, developer Steven Troughton-Smith has detailed the inner workings of the MacBook Pro's new retina Touch Bar, describing its T1 chip as "a variant of the system-on-a-chip used in the Apple Watch." This means that the Touch Bar is essentially running watchOS on the T1 chip, which macOS then communicates with through an interconnected USB bridge that "relays multitouch events back to macOS."

The developer described this software setup as advantageous for the MacBook Pro's security, since the T1 chip also acts as a layer of protection and "gates access" to the laptop's FaceTime camera and Touch ID sensor. In the series of Tweets he sent out last night, Troughton-Smith also theorized that watchOS could power the Touch Bar alone without relying on macOS to be running on the MacBook Pro, which Apple software engineering chief Craig Federighi has now confirmed.

You can theorise about the future here. Now that Apple has put an ARM iOS-like device inside every MacBook Pro, you can imagine a future wherein said iOS device takes over more and more functionality from the traditional x86 macOS device, up to a point where macOS only gets called upon when needed.

We may actually have just been given a hint of Apple's transition-to-ARM strategy.

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Pineapples rock
by sj87 on Sat 29th Oct 2016 11:33 UTC
sj87
Member since:
2007-12-16

Slowly converting regular MacBook internals into phone-like hardware with huge batteries is more of a hint of Apple's future than the Touch Bar.

I consider the Touch Bar to be just one more peripheral that talks to the main OS like their phones and watches do. Apple's earlier work towards integrating mobile devices with the desktop OS probably made this Touch Bar concept possible in the first place.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Pineapples rock
by CaptainN- on Sun 30th Oct 2016 22:15 in reply to "Pineapples rock"
CaptainN- Member since:
2005-07-07

This is to me a clearly multi-tenant strategy. iPhone moved in this direction too, following Moto X's lead, where they start adding in additional specialized coprocessors and subsystems. I can't see this as a transition to ARM. That may be coming but this isn't that. What it is instead is a clear move to incorporate more specialized and independent hardware, and that is exciting.

A transition to ARM would probably look like (if not simply like the transition to Intel looked), Apple would introduce a competing workstation platform, with clamshell/desktop OS based on iOS. I'm thinking app centric Apple Chromebooks running an iOS derivative on custom ARM silicon.

iOS interface and access paradigms don't work on a workstations regardless of form factor, at least for developers - maybe there's an office worker for who this would work? They'd have to change some things substantially enough that it wouldn't really look like iOS anymore. It's also not a great place for Apple to put themselves, to sell two different products into the same market, and essentially compete with itself. Though with the incredible price of Apple's x86 offerings now, maybe there's space?

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Pineapples rock
by sj87 on Mon 31st Oct 2016 13:21 in reply to "RE: Pineapples rock"
sj87 Member since:
2007-12-16

This is to me a clearly multi-tenant strategy. iPhone moved in this direction too, following Moto X's lead, where they start adding in additional specialized coprocessors and subsystems. I can't see this as a transition to ARM. That may be coming but this isn't that. What it is instead is a clear move to incorporate more specialized and independent hardware, and that is exciting.

I don't know how this is exciting or if the Touch Bar has anything to do with the idea of locking down the computer hardware in a way that makes them completely non-user-serviceable. I think the Touch Bar is only a gimmick that they brought to life after all the investment in the smart watches that nobody wants anymore.

They got all the tools available already, so they just decided to throw it in and see if people would like it. Not so much innovation but more traditional "see if it sticks" mentality.

I sincerely hope that the Touch Bar is a simple prototype for something bigger in the future, so that the decision to make it blackboxed, locked technology could be justified in some way over a more open, classic USB-connected peripheral.

iOS interface and access paradigms don't work on a workstations regardless of form factor, at least for developers - maybe there's an office worker for who this would work? They'd have to change some things substantially enough that it wouldn't really look like iOS anymore. It's also not a great place for Apple to put themselves, to sell two different products into the same market, and essentially compete with itself. Though with the incredible price of Apple's x86 offerings now, maybe there's space?

This seems like mixing apples and oranges. Switching the hardware platform from Intel x86 to ARM is one thing, abandoning MacOS for iOS is another.

Microsoft already (claims to have) achieved a shared architecture where the core OS is the same for all phones, tablets and desktop machines. Apple could very well do the same, and the starting point for them could even be easier than it was for Microsoft, given that from the get-go iOS was based on the MacOS technology to some extent. (Although the most important part, the UI libraries used to build user apps, seem to be different and incompatible.)

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Pineapples rock
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Mon 31st Oct 2016 13:59 in reply to "RE: Pineapples rock"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Note: Motorola only did that for the first generation of Moto X.

They were unable to update it to the next version of Android without updates for the chip. THe chip supplier didn't update the driver/interface for the next version of Android, and with only one user of it, didn't see the financial motivation of doing so.

Reply Parent Score: 2