Feeds

Apple reportedly plans ARM shift for laptops

'Done deal', apparently

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Next page: ARM muscles in

More from The Register

next story
PEAK APPLE: iOS 8 is least popular Cupertino mobile OS in all of HUMAN HISTORY
'Nerd release' finally staggers past 50 per cent adoption
Tim Cook: The classic iPod HAD to DIE, and this is WHY
Apple, er, couldn’t get the parts for HDD models
Apple spent just ONE DOLLAR beefing up the latest iPad Air 2
New iPads look a lot like the old one. There's a reason for that
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Microsoft fitness bands slapped on wrists: All YOUR HEALTH DATA are BELONG TO US
Wearable will deliver 'actionable insights for healthier living'
Lawyers mobilise angry mob against Apple over alleged 2011 Macbook Pro crapness
We suffered 'random bouts of graphical distortion' - fanbois
Caterham Seven 160 review: The Raspberry Pi of motoring
Back to driving's basics with a joyously legal high
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
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?
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
Simplify SSL certificate management across the enterprise
Simple steps to take control of SSL across the enterprise, and recommendations for a management platform for full visibility and single-point of control for these Certificates.