With rumours circulating that Apple could be stopping using intel Processors in Mac’s what does this mean for the x86 Architecture and the Mac & OS X platform in the future? Is intel on its last legs for anything other than Server Hardware? Is the Arm Architecture about to hit the big time? Is Apples own Arm Architecture about to make the switch from being Mobile only to Mobile & Desktop? For my opinion on these questions then read on.
Is intel on its last legs for anything other than Server Hardware?
With Arm Processors showing that they are a capable and more power efficient Processor for Laptops through their wide use in Laptops using Google’s Thin Client Chrome OS with only a few Chromebooks running intel x86 Processors & everyone wanting a power efficient Laptop with a long battery life, then intel might be on its way out in the Laptop market especially if Apple can design and manufacture one of its own Ax (where x is the Processor model)that is powerful enough to run OS X at a speed comparable to that of the current gen intel Processors then intel might be in trouble when it comes to Laptops, but when it comes to long battery life on a Desktop then it doesn’t matter as Desktops don’t require a battery then it just comes down to would Arm Processors be power efficient enough to make a difference when it comes to a computer that’s plugged in all the time? no one actually knows which makes the second part of this answer more of a question.
Is the Arm Architecture about to hit the big time?
The Arm Architecture is currently big in the Mobile world with Samsung & Nvidia making Arm based SOC systems for Android and Apple making its own Arm based Processors for iOS. Even big players in the computing world making Arm based Chromebooks. but when it comes to traditional computing systems Arm is yet to make a significant appearance with even Microsoft’s attempt to make the Arm Architecture work failed when it Surface RT & Windows 8 RT products failed with only the original Surface RT being made and no updated Surface RT 2 making an appearance.
If the Arm Architecture it to become the next big thing then it needs a company with the money and balls to experiment with Arm processors in the Desktop & Laptop market, This is where the Cupertino giant could come out the winner after making successful Architecture transitions in the past from their original Motorola 68000 Processors to the PowerPC Architecture in March of 1994, then the move from the PowerPC Architecture to the intel x86 Architecture in January 2006.
But my guess is that if Apple does make a transition away from the intel x86 Architecture any time soon then I predict they’ll transition to the Amd x86 Architecture as it’s compatible with the intel x86 Architecture without any re-coding required, where as transitioning to the Arm Architecture will take some time to re-code OS X and create a compatibility layer for x86 Software, unless Apple has already started working on a transition to the Arm Architecture.
Is Apples own Arm Architecture about to make the switch from being Mobile only to Mobile & Desktop?
This one could be possible but probably not until the A9 or maybe even A10 as they’ll need to design Laptop & Desktop Logic-boards to work with the Arm Processors. If Apple does switch to Arm Processors they’ll probably have to keep some intel x86 computers in production for OS X Server and the Mac Pros would still need to be on intel x86.
In trying to decipher the rumours it’s brought up three questions that can only be answered in speculation and one question that can not be answered at all as it would be just purely guess-work. In my opinion the continuity between iOS 8 and OS X 10.10 could be some form of ground laying for a move to Apples Arm SOC Architecture or it could be just purely to make life easier for iOS and OS X users and only time will tell what’s going to happen Processor wise.