Tag Archive for ‘Intel’

The One-Word Answer ➝

John Gruber:

I asked an Apple source last fall why it took so long for Apple to release the new MacBook Air. Their one-word answer: “Intel.”

I can think of one way they could have killed some time while they were waiting.

Speculation and Dread for the Next Transition ➝

Riccardo Mori, in reference to Andy Ihnatko’s piece on the rumored transition of Macs to ARM:

I have to reiterate just how silly and disheartening all the recent treatment of the Mac has become. That it’s inadequate, and has to be phased out, is just empty talk by all-too-eager iOS-only pundits. Obviously, everyone is free to use what’s best for them and speak about their preferences, but things like The Mac is too cumbersome and difficult to use, or that it’s inadequate for modern tasks, or that iOS is a superior platform are very subjective opinions, and not statements of facts. It’s also a bit hypocritical to invite Mac users to be more open-minded towards iOS as a professional tool, while iOS-only proponents aren’t similarly inclined to maybe get to know the Mac better before dismissing it as inadequate and awkward. As I’ve previously, repeatedly said, this iOS vs. Mac OS debate is toxic; Mac OS doesn’t need to be put aside to make iOS shine. It’s not a zero-sum game.

This insistence that, between iOS and Mac OS, ‘only one shall prevail’ is so misplaced. Both platforms have a specific kind of versatility and a specific set of strengths. If you ask me, the smart position is Better both worlds than the best of both worlds — but both worlds need to be taken care equally. Currently, that doesn’t seem to be happening, with the Mac losing ground, and Apple executives not giving very strong signals that they love the Mac as much as they say they do. This rumoured next transition will be crucial and revealing in this regard. As Ihnatko concludes, either Apple has a big, revolutionary plan in store for the Mac, or it’s preparing for the last season of Mac OS.

iOS may be my preferred platform, but I certainly don’t want to see Macs to go away.

Apple Planning to Use Their Own Chips for Macs ➝

Ian King and Mark Gurman, reporting for Bloomberg:

Apple Inc. is planning to use its own chips in Mac computers beginning as early as 2020, replacing processors from Intel Corp., according to people familiar with the plans.

The initiative, code named Kalamata, is still in the early developmental stages, but comes as part of a larger strategy to make all of Apple’s devices — including Macs, iPhones, and iPads — work more similarly and seamlessly together, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private information. The project, which executives have approved, will likely result in a multi-step transition.

Apple has already shown their prowess at developing powerful, energy-efficient processors with their A-series chips. And I can only imagine what they’ll be capable of when they’re design for Macs that will, presumably, feature larger batteries and a higher tolerance for heat.

The Retina Divide ➝

Apple released their first Intel Macs in January 2006 — the MacBook Pro and iMac. The final Mac to transition from PowerPC to Intel was released in August of that same year. In just seven months, Apple was able to transition their entire lineup to x86 processors. Granted this isn’t a direct comparison, but Apple announced their first product with a Retina display in June 2010 — the iPhone 4 — and here we are nearly six-and-a-half years later and Apple is still selling products with low pixel density displays.

Based on the price differential between Retina and non-Retina Macs, it’s clear that the cost of including these high-density displays is the limiting factor. But why is that still the case? Why hasn’t Apple found other ways to shave manufacturing costs on their computers or come to terms with temporarily decreased margins?

At this point, I wouldn’t buy a new Mac without a Retina display and Apple should draw a similar line in the sand. Non-Retina displays are drastically inferior products and Apple should feel like fools for continuing to sell them.

‘Apple Could Use Custom x86 SoC Made by AMD’ ➝

Gian Maria Forni, writing for Bits and Chips:

According to our sources, Apple is pondering about using custom x86 CPUs in its next iMacs and MacBooks, during 2017-2018. Nowadays it’s hard to avoid the use of x86 ISA in high end and professional personal computers, but at the same time Intel CPUs are too expensive if we compare these with ARM SoCs.

So, Apple’s target is to realize a complete x86 custom SoC family, like Sony and Microsoft did with their consoles. AMD is the perfect partner to do this.

This rumor was published back in October of last year, but John Gruber linked to it a couple of days ago.

There’s a lot of interesting things happening in the world of CPUs. Intel licensing ARM technology and attempting to take over the manufacturing of Apple’s A-series processors, the massive gap between Mac hardware iterations which was at least partly due to delays in Intel’s latest generation of CPUs, and the aforelinked rumor that Apple might be working with AMD on custom x86 SoCs. To name a few.

This is exactly the kind of rumors I enjoy, though. It hearkens back to the early days of my technology enthusiasm, when AMD was first to market with 64-bit and dual-core processors. And, perhaps this is just wishful thinking, but I have a strange feeling that we’ll be learning more about all this within the next six months.

Intel Aims to Challenge TSMC Over Apple Chip Orders By 2018 ➝

Cheng Ting-Fang, reporting for Nikkei Asian Review:

Intel’s recent pledge to expand its business making chips for others highlights its ambition to snatch chip orders for Apple’s popular iPhones from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. as early as 2018, industry experts said.

Intel, the world’s largest chipmaker by revenue, announced earlier this month that it will license technology from British mobile chip designer ARM with the aim of securing more business from smartphone companies. LG Electronics will become the first smartphone company to adopt Intel chips following the ARM deal.

If Intel wants to become the premier ARM processor manufacturer, Apple is the customer they need to have.

Intel Licenses ARM Technology ➝

Ian King, reporting for Bloomberg:

Intel Corp., the world’s biggest semiconductor maker, said it’s licensing technology from rival ARM Holdings Plc, a move to win more customers for its business that manufactures chips for other companies.

The two chipmakers, whose designs and technology dominate in computing and mobile, unveiled the agreement Tuesday at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco. The accord will let Intel offer third-party semiconductor companies its most advanced 10-nanometer production lines for manufacturing the complex chips usually used in smartphones.

This piece doesn’t come right out and say it, but it sounds like Intel is planning to design their own ARM processors in addition to manufacturing other companies’ chip designs. If that’s the case, I could see Intel becoming the premier maker of ARM processors within just a few years.

On Apple’s Move to Intel

Christina Warren wrote a great piece for Mashable about the transition Apple made to Intel processors. A platform shift that took place ten years ago and something that no other computer company has been able to successfully perform in history.

I especially enjoyed this bit, which brought back memories of my decision to switch to the Mac in 2006, the very same year Apple moved to Intel.

Thanks to the iPod, Mac usage was on the rise. But by moving to Intel and gaining support for Windows via Boot Camp or a virtualization program, millions of people who wanted a Mac — but couldn’t commit to giving up Windows — could finally have both.

Nowhere was this more evident than with the MacBook: the 13.3-inch Intel notebook Apple first released in May 2006.

The MacBook wasn’t the first Intel-based Mac (an Intel iMac as well as 15- and 17-inch MacBook Pros were released in early 2006), but it was the most important.

The first Mac I ever owned was that 13.3-inch MacBook with a 1.83GHz Intel Core Duo processor. Apple’s switch to Intel was the reason why I stopped using Windows and moved to macOS.

I remember a neighborhood friend suggesting that I purchase an iBook a couple of years prior and I laughed at the idea. I was a major PC enthusiast that liked building my own machines, overclocking, and tweaking the system to get the best performance possible. How was I going to do that with a Mac? It wasn’t going to happen.

All that changed, though, when Apple announced the switch to Intel and, of course, Boot Camp. I was months away from graduating high school and was in search of a laptop that I could bring with me to classes when I started attending college that fall.

And Apple was offering me a crutch to lean on — if I didn’t like macOS, I could always install Windows and run that instead. I was still clinging to my home-built desktop PC, but a laptop was an entirely different story. It’s not like I was going to build my own laptop.

After mulling over the decision for a few months, I decided to buy the lowest-end Apple notebook and upgrade the machine’s RAM and hard drive. The aftermarket components were much cheaper than buying upgrades from Apple and it gave me an opportunity to get my hands dirty and take the machine apart.

I never did install Windows on that MacBook. Or any of the other five Macs I’ve owned throughout the years. Hell, I’m not sure I’ve ever even launched the Boot Camp utility. The last Windows box I ever owned was that same home-built PC that I had when I purchased my MacBook. And I don’t expect that’ll ever change.