I don’t really understand what apple does, but that’s probably why I never earned a dime on its stock. So as a disclaimer for the stop-by reader, I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT WHEN I TALK ABOUT APPLE! (it’s the same thing when I talk about sex, or so she tells me, don’t worry, it gets worse with age) .
After getting that out of the way, I was amused by today’s rumor that Apple is tinkering with the idea of switching to ARM in a couple of years. Switching, that’s something apple has done in the past few years. It is always a pain, requiring emulation layers (and things breaking up in the process), recompiling everything in the meanwhile, and forcing people to dump old machines quickly.
I doubt they will do it and switch to ARM, at least while Intel and AMD play strong in the chips war. If apple was to switch to ARM that would put off all those Mac users that are also Windows users. This alone made a big difference for people adopting the Mac, and I think that if Mac suddenly had a sticker saying “NO WINDOWS” it would reflect heavily on new mac sales.
Now, is it impossible? I don’t claim that apple couldn’t switch to ARM. They’ve bought PA Semi, so they have the know how. The problem is that they would need to come out with a monstrous Chip that could beat the crap out of Intel top end chips. That chip would need to be so powerful that people would be attracted by its sheer raw power.
The problem for this is that high throughput comes at the prices of a higher power requirements and that implies higher thermal envelopes and that implies bigger fans and dissipators and that… you see… these are all the things apple would need to add to their very thin, very elegant computers where they like to use low power cpus, etc, etc…
For all it is worth, my take on this is that this rumor is just vaporware to please stock owners. Intel and AMD are probably laughing about all this (although they might take clever measures in the background to avoid being surprised and cornered in the chips war).