Feeds

Apple reportedly plans ARM shift for laptops

'Done deal', apparently

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Apple may - and we emphasis that last word - have decided to transition its laptops from Intel processors to ARM-based CPUs

Intel certainly has a fight on its hands in the media tablet market, currently dominated by ARM chippery, but does it need to worry about the laptop space too? It will if the allegation about Apple, made by chip-centric site Semi Accurate, proves to be correct.

The whispers SA has heard have it that ARM's in-train shift to 64-bit processing will see Apple, already shipping millions of ARM-based devices in the form of iPods, iPhones, iPads and the occasional Apple TV, move its laptops to ARM too.

Speaking of the Apple TV, that's one device that has already made such a transition from the first-generation model's Intel processor to the latest version's Apple A4.

Users don't see any difference. The UI is the same, and no less responsive. The new model is smaller, but that's as much because it lacks its predecessor's hard drive than any extra power efficiency on the part of the A4 - the first Apple TV's Intel chip wasn't exactly a monster.

Moving a consumer electronics product from Intel to ARM makes sense: Apple TV doesn't have the multi-tasking and performance requirements a laptop does. And, in any case, the shift was pragmatic: Apple now needs to maintain only two OSes - Mac OS X and iOS - rather than three, the third being the past-its-prime, tweaked version of OS X that the first Apple TV ran.

Such pragmatism may well see Apple bringing OS X and iOS into closer harmony, at least from a functional perspective. The next OS X, Lion, brings over a heap of features and UI methodologies from iOS, though as any OS X and iOS programmer will tell you, OS X is way more feature-filled than its mobile sibling.

For all the many similarities in the operating systems' APIs, there are many differences, even between directly comparable classes and methods. Full harmonisation of the two operating systems won't be easy.

It's unlikely then that a ARM-based MacBook - most likely the MacBook Air series, we'd say - will run iOS, but an ARM-compiled version of OS X is certainly not out of the question.

What is open to discussion is whether ARM CPUs, even the 64-bit jobs coming, according to SA, in the late 2012/early 2013 timeframe, will be up to the task of powering performance-oriented machines.

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Next page: ARM muscles in

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.