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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RE[2]: Pineapples rock
by sj87 on Mon 31st Oct 2016 13:21 UTC 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[3]: Pineapples rock
by CaptainN- on Mon 31st Oct 2016 16:29 in reply to "RE[2]: Pineapples rock"
CaptainN- Member since:
2005-07-07

iOS, watchOS, macOS, tvOS - they are already a shared OS - they just tailor the UI differently for each platform.

The switch to ARM from x86 doesn't to me mean anything other than a CPU arch switch - that could be done on macOS, or it could involve a switch to another OS, the underlying architecture is not as important as many think it is - it's all commodity hardware.

The question is really, what will this post Jobs Apple do? Will they take the opportunity of a switch from x86 to ARM to transition to a new OS? I think they would. They have the product mantra built into their operating procedure, so they're likely to seek new product opportunities, and they have a crazy adaptable OS to try it with.

My money is on a new platform of some kind, maybe a Chromebook like thing running on ARM. They've carved out space in the price stack. It's just a matter now of filling it with something based on their ARM (and GPU) chips. They might even deliver a good product. Something I like to reiterate - many folks can't keep her PC running, and won't spend for a mac. Regular users like the walled garden of Android and iOS better than the free for all Windows they are used to. There is a market out there for an Apple Chromebook, and why not run it on ARM?

Reply Parent Score: 2