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Apple’s Move From Intel To ARM – Is It Closer Than You Think?

Apple’s Move From Intel To ARM – Is It Closer Than You Think?

Is Apple’s rumored move from Intel to ARM processors closer than we think?  With the possible doubling of the pixel resolution on the upcoming iPad 3, some believe it means the graphic power is there to efficiently move pixels around on a MacBook Air.

From an article by Mark Reschke writing for T-GAPP:

The highly rumored iPad 3 is said to be doubling the current iPad 2 pixel resolution, moving from 1024 x 768 to 2048 x 1536. The move effectively increase the pixel count by over 4x, which is stunning for a device this size. Apple is likely to upgrade to a quad-processor to help things along, but a massive boost in graphics processing power would certainly be required to push that many pixels.

Apple has a knack for great timing. On Tuesday, Imagination Technologies publicly announced it’s newest line of PowerVR, which may boast up to 20 times more of the performance vs their current core of GPU cores.

He believes that, while a quad-core A6 processor would make the iPad 3 zoom, it could also deliver just enough power to be considered for use in Apple’s MacBook Air lineup.

He writes, “In an odd move, Intel is scrambling to eliminate it’s own processor sales, shipping in Apple’s MacBook air lineup. While that makes little sense, it becomes crystal clear when seeing how Apple can quickly turn the tables on Intel, dropping the chip gorilla off at the PowerPC history museum. At CES, Intel apparently faked a race car video game demo, in an attempt to showcase the power of their new UltraBook technologies, not yet arriving for several more months.”

It’s irrelevant to Intel whether or not Apple continues to use Intel’s chips in their Mac lineup, or moves on to another processor. What matters to Intel is that users don’t all move to a tablet form device. A market where Intel has no foothold. Alternatively, Intel would like to herd consumers into their own Ultrabook form factor, thereby eliminating, or at least postponing their need for a tablet device from Apple or the various Android vendors.

  1. Anonymous says:

    And what software would such a beast run? Oh yes, there isn’t any. ARM CPUs will need power to spare beyond Intel’s offering if this kind of transition were ever to happen, to allow for emulation without an enormous penalty. That would require ARM’s opening a persistent lead over Intel in computation power, something not likely to happen soon.

    Macintosh will likely be x86 powered for the rest of its product run (of perhaps years and years). It will be the distinction between Macintosh and Apple’s lines of ARM-based products. If the iPad were to grow into a laptop (and I doubt that would happen anytime soon), it will be a different beast from the MacBook.

  2. Jeff Barbose says:

    Imagine this:  I go in and buy an ARM-powered MacBook Air.  

    What can I run on it?  Nothing except what’s recompiled to run on ARM-based Macs. It won’t be running iOS apps.

    That’s not a lot of software.  There won’t be a Rosetta-like solution this time. 

    No, if Apple switches Macs to ARM, it will be over a longer period of time.  But it doesn’t make any sense to do it.  Core i-Series are great chips.  ARM adds no particular value.  Apple doesn’t control things for control’s sake, it only does it when there’s a particular danger in not controlling it, or there’s a positive value in controlling it.

    Right now it’s a huge minus in non-Intel.

  3. JG says:

    I have to agree that I don’t see this happening any time soon.  Yes the new crop of ARM procs may have the horsepower to technically power a MacBook Air to a degree.  However there are so many other factors at work here that I don’t think it’s at all forthcoming.  Now will we see the benefits of the new ARM processors in iOS devices, oh yes and I look forward to that.

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