- Mar 6, 2014
- Gigabyte GA-B75-HD3
- PNY nvidia GeForce 640
- Classic Mac
- Mobile Phone
It looks like that is indeed the way things are headed:Apple will NOT replace Intel chips with ARM chips but add ARM chips for some extra features. This will block clones in the long term. Clever from Apple. Not good for us. See https://twitter.com/stroughtonsmith/status/931994004887044097
This brings about some interesting possibilities: most users will be able to do 90% of their tasks (as of today and a growing amount as time goes on) without firing up the power-hungry x86 CPU; meanwhile its state could be frozen at any time by just saving off an image of its RAM to some really fast non-volatile memory so it could pick up exactly where it left off on command from the A10 "brain". The x86 compatibility layer will be hardware-based and well-implemented to ensure that the user gets a seamless experience.
Needless to say, lower-end Macs (if any are marketed) won't have the x86 chip- because it is already completely unnecessary for basic "average user" tasks, and Apple will make sure that all of its software is nicely ported and there may even be a handful of close partners that will do so as well. All of the "cool" things that Macs can do as well as any hardware innovations will be exclusive to the ARM side of the house, which will compel developers to leave the x86 codebase behind.
The viability of this transition strategy relies on saving enough money on development costs to cover the expense of selling machines with 2 CPUs without losing massive sales to competitors by having a product that is too expensive. That's where the challenge will be: the only way I can think of to achieve this will be to consolidate iOS and MacOS with the latter being basically a skin on the former plus the aforementioned compatibility layer.