Because Apple declares war on Intel

Because Apple declares war on Intel

Apple is about to move the Mac from Intel processors to home-made chips. All the details

Apple is about to move the Mac from Intel processors to home-made chips. A move that, in the long run, could mean hassle and difficult choices for developers and consumers. According to Bloomberg, the Apple house could announce its plans for change at the Worldwide Developer Conference, which will take place this month. The move is not a surprise in itself since Bloomberg but Axios have been reporting it for some time. The novelty is, if anything, that the change seems imminent.


The move represents a major blow for Intel, the longtime American leader of microprocessors. Whether it is a win for Apple depends on how much you will save on costs and the increase in performance, as well as how much Cupertino will be able to manage the transition without losing customers and app developers.


Apple twice changed the types of chips that power the Mac line. In 1994, it switched from the Motorola chips that powered the first Macintoshes to the PowerPC chips, jointly developed by IBM and Motorola. So, from 2005, it went from PowerPC to Intel.


The real question to ask in this case is how consumers will react: “The change – reads on Axios – creates dilemmas both for customers who decide what to buy and when, and for software developers who allocate scarce programming resources. Consumers and businesses that want to buy a Mac computer in the next year or so will have to decide between two not-so-great options: buy one of the last old computers, and accept that new software will be broken in a couple of years. . Or buy one of the first new machines, although they may not yet fully support all the software that you may need. "


Developers in turn will face a dilemma of their own: when to put resources to optimize key programs for new chips. Even after Apple officially announces the news and provides the right tools, developers know that the potential user base for the new software will start from scratch. So much so that the former Windows boss Steven Sinofsky outlined some of the challenges in more detail within a thread on Twitter talking across the board of what he called an "choice of freedom" by Appel.


However, Apple has excellent experience in this field, having managed the transitions of the chips of the past – as well as the transition from the classic Mac OS to OS X – with moderate success. There were difficulties and some applications took years to convert, but in the end they made it, and the platform was made stronger for it. “There will likely be some sort of compatibility layer that will allow existing applications designed for Intel chips to run on new Apple-produced chips – as well as tools to help developers convert their programs without starting from scratch. Having said that, such approaches can slow down performance. ”


This transition, however, differs from Apple's previous ones for two reasons: first of all, we read on Axios , “the Mac is no longer the center of Apple's business. Most of Apple's revenue comes from iPhones and other non-Mac product lines, including iPads, peripherals and services. And, speaking of the iPhone and iPad, Apple is not moving to a brand new architecture, but rather to ARM-based chips similar to those that power Apple's iOS devices. This means that some of the work can be transferred from existing iOS applications. "

Second, Apple's motivations for the change "likely include an opportunity to cut costs, increase performance and a desire to control one's fate. But even if the company fulfills all these wishes – and manages the transition well – the entire Mac community is likely to suffer in the short term. "

This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Start Magazine at the URL on Sun, 14 Jun 2020 06:11:20 +0000.