macOS Sierra code suggests Apple could replace Intel in Macs with custom ARM chips

By , Sep 30, 2016

macOS Sierra Auto Unlock teaser 002

Could Apple be working on next-generation Mac hardware that would be powered by an in-house designed processor based on CPU blueprints from British fabless semiconductor maker ARM Holdings plc? That’s exactly the conclusion one could reach by looking closely at code strings in the macOS Sierra kernel, discovered by Dutch outlet

It’s very peculiar that Apple would add support for ARM technology to macOS Sierra.

As you know, all Macs manufactured since 2005 run Intel chips. The Apple appears to be implementing support for ARM chips in the Mac operating system could mean that first ARM-based Macs might appear this year.

As states, developers no longer submit fully compiled binaries.

Instead, intermediary bit code is submitted which Apple uses to compile the binary code for the specific CPU architecture. Should Apple release an ARM-based Mac, developers wouldn’t need to re-submit their existing code nor would they need to add any ARM-specific code in order for their apps to run natively on ARM-based hardware.

“It is probably also one of the reasons why legacy applications have recently been removed from the App Store,” speculates the publication.

The macOS Sierra kernel indicates support for the ARM Hurricane family.

macOS Sierra kernel ARM Strings

Now, ARM’s existing blueprints make no mention of the Hurricane CPU so this is most likely Apple’s internal code-name for a custom ARM-based CPU architecture.

Starting with the A7 chip in the iPhone 5s, Apple stopped implementing ARM’s off-the-shelf CPU parts in favor of 64-bit CPU cores which are compatible with the ARM instruction set but are designed in-house from scratch.

With the A7 onward, Apple started naming these custom-built CPUs. The A7 microarchitecture was code-named “Cyclone”, the A8’s CPU is called “Typhoon” and the A9 uses “Twister” CPU.

The A10 Fusion is Apple’s first ARM-compatible mobile chip that uses four CPU cores, two for high-performance task and two highly energy-efficient cores for tasks that don’t require the full power.

a10 fusion graphic performance

The idea of an ARM-powered Mac dates back to 2012, when Bloomberg reported that Apple was exploring ways to replace Intel processors in Macs with a desktop version of in-house designed A-series chips that power iPhones and iPads.

“Apple engineers have grown confident that the chip designs used for its mobile devices will one day be powerful enough to run its desktops and laptops,” said Bloomberg.

And in 2014, former head of the Macintosh division Jean-Louis Gassée hinted that the first ARM-based Macs could appear in 2017.

“Apple’s drive to own all layers of the stack continues unabated years after Steve’s passing,” he wrote. “As a recent example, Apple created its own Swift programming language that complements its Xcode IDE and Clang/LLVM compiler infrastructure.”

All iOS device processors use CPUs based on ARM’s power-sipping technology.

Gassée explained:

If we follow this line of reasoning, the advantages of ARM-based processors vs. x86 devices become even more compelling: lower cost, better power dissipation, natural integration with the rest of the machine. For years, Intel has argued that its superior semiconductor design and manufacturing technology would eventually overcome the complexity downsides of the x86 architecture.

But that “eventually” is getting a bit stale. Other than a few showcase design wins that have never amounted to much in the real world, x86 devices continue to lose to ARM-derived SoC (System On a Chip) designs.

Therefore, an ARM-based Mac notebook would theoretically have a much longer battery life than any existing MacBook with an Intel chip.

With its own custom-designed Mac processor Apple would no longer be dependent on Intel’s slowing roadmap. More importantly, it would be able to refresh Macs once per year because any future A-series processors for computers would likely be on the same annual release cycle as the iPhone and iPad chips.

Does that make any sense to you guys?

Source: (Google Translate)

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  • racerhomie2


  • TheEye

    yes. I am waiting to see the power of ARM.

    • TheLouisXXI

      It is very slow compared to Intel has. I could see them maybe going with AMD since they would allow a in house build

  • Nah. You can find “#def CPUFAMILY_ARM_TYPHOON” in OS X 10.11 API diffs as well. They just added it for iOS.

    • Yeah, but “Hurricane” is not a known CPU core in iOS device chips

      • Guess we just learned A10 Fusion’s codename 🙂

  • Agneev Mukherjee

    This reminds me of the moment Steve announced the transition to Intel at… I think MacWorld 09′.

    • Alex Palko


      • Agneev Mukherjee

        Thanks for reminding me.

      • Imad Ghandour

        He didn’t remind you, he corrected you
        It coincided with the release of OS X Leopard which was in ’05

      • Martin

        Can I correct you too, a 10.4 revision was the first OS to power the Intel Mac, so it *preceed* the release of OS X Leopard (which was in 2007).

      • Imad Ghandour
      • Agneev Mukherjee

        I said ‘think’, I wasn’t sure, so it ain’t a correction.

      • JuHoansi

        It was a reminder 🙂

      • Gary Deezy

        I dislike you already and we haven’t even met. 🙂

      • Derek Ledbetter

        And it was at WWDC, not Macworld.

    • aalberti

      This time is different, no need to a compatibility layer. Current Apps can be JIT compiled and run at full speed from the start.

      • Agneev Mukherjee

        Ahem. Nerd alert

      • aalberti

        Well, will be different. No teeth pain in the switch. It’s ok now? 😉

      • Agneev Mukherjee

        Yeah, appreciate your reply.

  • Ara Rezaee

    I could see this happening for the Macbook, and maybe mbAir

  • David Gillooly

    They may try out the technology in a MacBook Air first to give it extreme battery life. This would differentiate it from MBPs and MacBooks.

    • Guy

      This wouldn’t be something Apple would do lightly. This is an “all-in” kind of move for the Mac.

      It would also explain why the long wait between updates for the entire line.

      • Shameer Mulji

        doesn’t explain anything at all. Just pure speculation

      • Guy

        Until it’s actually announced (if ever) of course it’s speculation. The only point was Apple would switch the entire line IF they did this

      • David Wilson

        Wow there sure is a lot of nitpicking about verb choice in this comment feed …

  • Kira Kinski

    Moving to ARM will be the beginning of the end of the Mac as we know it. iOS is a joke. It’s power and flexibility pales in comparison to macOS, even though that too has been dumbed down considerably in recent years. OTOH, Apple could add an ARM chip to the motherboard for about nothing and it would be cool having an option to boot up or run multiple architectures natively. One box to rule them all. Of course, Apple could also factor macOS to run on ARM, but that too reduces its utility. It’s still a Wintel world out there, pure and simple.

    • Chris

      Yes. This would be the end…just like when Apple moved from OS X from PPC to Intel.

      • chamers

        No, moving to a more standard, open architecture was a beginning. Moving to a closed architecture is the end.

      • Chris

        Which part of Intel’s architecture is open? Don’t confuse widely used with “open”.

      • TheLouisXXI

        Intel doesn’t have locked bootloaders for one and most OS’s run on Intel CPU’s and Intel still has the fastest chips to date. Given any ARM CPU or GPU is still at maybe PS2 levels for graphics

      • Reed Harston

        Sorry, but both your previous comment and this one are widely misinformed. First, the GPUs in modern mobile devices have much better graphics than the PS2. Remember that the PS2 only output 480p and that current phones may have 1080p or 1440p screens, which is about 7 or 12 times as many pixels, respectively, as the PS2 put out. And their graphics are even more fluid and better looking as well. They are MUCH better than a PS2.
        Besides, even if you feel like ARM GPUs are slow, whoever builds the SoC with an ARM CPU in it can use whichever GPU they wish and there are plenty of other GPU options out there which are better than ARM’s GPUs.
        Second, what are you even talking about locked bootloaders? How are bootloaders on ARM devices ‘locked’? I have a Raspberry Pi and it has a ARM chip. And it can run Windows, Linus, whatever. So long as it is compiled for ARM. So I have no idea what you are trying to imply.

    • Guy

      Why are you confusing an operating system with hardware? iOS does exactly what Apple has intended for it to do. macOS on an ARM chip would look and work like…well, macOS.

      Apple most likely would not add an ARM chip to an Intel-based Mac, what would be the point?They added Windows support because while running on native X86 processors it made no sense to not offer it. However my guess is that fewer and fewer people are doing so these days. I stopped after the last time MS borked my legally acquired Windows 7 Pro after doing something crazy like adding more drives to the Mac Pro it was on. Wasn’t even part of Windows, but added storage for OS X. They did it the first time and after 3 hours, grudgingly gave me a new license key. When they did it again (I had the audacity to swap out my main drive with OS X), I just wiped it and added it to the rest of the computer again.

      Once Apple hits some magic number with fewer Boot Camp installs, I imagine they could decide that they could do it and impact very few people.

      • Kira Kinski

        Nah. I know the difference between hardware and software. I also know that iOS is a UI abomination, and that mindset has permeated macOS in recent years. That is my greatest fear of Apple moving solely to ARM. I personally care little for Wintel compatibility, but it is comforting to know it exists and opens the Mac up to far more possibilities since the world is mainly Wintel. Why restrict it to ARM analogous to the PPC days, other than to close the box a little tighter, once again? That being said, Intel does need to do something about its own space. It’s long in the tooth and their mobile efforts have failed to date. And don’t even get me going on Apple hardware today. There’s not a single Mac I care to purchase, for the first time going back to the Apple II. Everybody has their own needs and desires, and many consumers feel different about Apple today than me. I get that.

      • elvisizer

        Your greatest fear from a proposed cpu architecture change is that UI design in macOS will follow iOS?
        Those two things have absolutely nothing to do with each other, you know. at all.
        As you yourself said, the UI design of iOS has migrated into macOS over the last few years, despite macs not using arm cpu’s.

      • prl99

        What you seem to not understand is that iOS has nothing to do with macOS when it comes to running a Mac. Just because they use a lot of the same code doesn’t mean macOS will only use the iOS UI. As for Apple’s A-series CPUs, check out their Geekbench scores; 3304 single core, 5339 multi-core. This is for a simple 2+2 core miniature SOC. The 4GHz iMac only has a single core score of 5181. Multi-core scores are faster because the Intel CPUs have more cores. There’s nothing stopping Apple from designing a quad or 8-core A-series CPU, running it a normal speed while adding either an internal multi-core GPU or external graphics card. As for your disfavor with Apple hardware, fine. Why are you even commenting when you don’t care?

    • Imad Ghandour


    • prl99

      Actually, it’s an iOS and Android world along with linux. Wintel is going away even though businesses refuse to accept it. Think about it ….

      • Reed Harston

        I don’t think Windows is going anywhere soon on the desktop/laptop. They failed to gain any ground on mobile but they still rule the ‘traditional’ computer. That isn’t to say that someday Windows might not exist but that would take a radical change that most people aren’t ready to take yet. Remember that phones and tablets are largely tethered to PCs to offload pictures and so on.

        As for the Intel half of ‘Wintel’, however, I think that they may go out of style even faster than Windows. ARM chips are becoming very impressive and their architecture has always been much more simple and power efficient, despite Intel’s rather amazing work to improve the efficiency of their incredibly complex x86 CPUs.

        When Apple (I don’t think it is an ‘if’) moves to ARM then other companies may start taking courage to do the same and Microsoft could easily port Windows to ARM as well. You can already install Windows on a Raspberry Pi actually and that has a ARM processor. And with the push to move Windows apps to the Windows store on Windows 10 like with the App Store in macOS they may easily do the same thing that Apple is currently doing and release their software onto both platforms without any extra work for the developers.

  • JerryO

    What I would like to see is Apple release Rack based servers again. Competing against HP and Dell for Amazon/Ebay/Goog’s business. Currently, Intel Processors consume way too much power. A large server farm (i.e. GOOG, et. al.) consumes lots of energy – which costs companies $$$. Imagine Apple ARM based servers. Couple this with Cisco, IBM, Deloitte, et. al. support for the Enterprise – Apple can open up one more multi-billion $ business overnight.

  • Rowan09

    Test it out on the iPad Pro and iPhones first to see how it performs.

    • Guy

      Chances are in house they have done so

  • Geoffrey Spencer

    I hope they keep the Pro series with Intel chips. I use VMWare Fusion (or you can use Parallels) to work on Windows projects. ARM could be used but that would be emulators and that is a no-go for most people like me.

    • Guy

      IF Apple did this, it would be across the board

      • Reed Harston

        I agree that it would be across the board but it would also likely be in stages as was the PowerPC -> Intel jump. The Pro was the last to be released because the chips weren’t ready for it yet. The same is likely going to be true if/when they make this jump.
        Profesional workstations depend just as much on the proper software, if not more, as they do on great hardware. With the right software it is actually possible to edit HD video on the MacBook just as well or faster as on a workstation with the wrong software.

        Point is, the software for what professionals do is also going to have to be updated to work properly on ARM before the Pro can be updated, and that may take some time. Releasing iMacs and Mac Minis first would give the developers a warning that they need to start getting their software ready for an ARM based Mac workstation. Then when Apple releases the Pro everyone should be a bit more ready. Of course Apple may do something radical and different but that is what I would expect.

      • aalberti

        I don’t think so, it’s not necessary. For the Apps running on different processors will be transparent with the LLVM stack, so Apple can keep both lines of processors

      • Guy

        They could but probably wouldn’t. It makes no sense for Apple to keep two separate lines (processor related anyway) of Macs going. The Pro market isn’t big enough on it’s own to make it worthwhile

    • Reed Harston

      Read my comment below first for my thoughts on releasing the timeline for releasing an ARM based Mac Pro. As far as working on Windows projects I commented above that I wouldn’t be surprised if Microsoft releases a version of Windows that can be installed on ARM as well (they already do actually, it is just a cut down version), so you would still be able to use Windows on your Mac. Just not work on x86 projects for legacy computers.

  • Denver Morgan

    This could also mean OS X on an iPad like device.

    • lattermanstudio

      That’s what I was thinking……. an evolution to one OS on all devices…. that way can finally catch up with what’s been happening with Windoze tablets that run standard Windoze apps…. somethings that Apple can’t offer right now due to the processor differences……. they are stuck in a corner and need to take drastic steps to enter the modern world. ……. now…. they may come up with a clever way to dual boot iOS/macOS or create some kind of new Finder that you can choose macOS-mode or iOS-mode depending your needs/liking…

      • Reed Harston

        Apple not putting macOS on the iPad has nothing to do with the processor differences actually. Recompiling code to run on a different architecture isn’t as simple as flipping a switch but it isn’t that hard either. The bigger problem is making macOS and your favorite software work on a touchscreen. Your idea of having two modes, one for macOS and one for iOS, just exacerbates the problem. There is no easy or pretty way to make one OS work on both platforms. Windows 8 was meant to unite both platforms but instead it was universally hated by all. One OS to rule them all didn’t really work out very well for them.
        The problem is that mouse and keyboard oriented UIs are bad for touch screens and touch oriented UIs are just funky and out of place when you have a mouse. That is because on touch screens buttons have to be large and easy to press with a big finger, where a mouse pointer is small and much more precise.
        I can see the hardware converging more and more internally but I personally think the different OSes and UIs are going to remain. I prefer macOS for its power and I prefer iOS for my wife for its simplicity.

  • sassymacgeek

    People always assume that Apple wants to put ARM into MacBooks which I agree would be great for certain aspects particularly cost and battery life (but perhaps not for cross platform development) but they fail to recognize that Apple could also be planning to have OSX for iPad Pros. It is also a possibility as long as we are guessing.

  • Lit

    Why would they switch to an underpowered chip? That’s suicide. The only thing I can think of is to increase profit margins, which would be a typical Cook move.

    • Reed Harston

      Before you go off and say ‘underpowered’ do your homework. The iPhone 7 has higher single and multi core GeekBench scores than the Intel powered MacBook 2016. Of course there is more to usability than benchmark scores, but that is still very telling. And there is the fact that the iPhone 7 has a minuscule battery compared to the MacBook yet it gets much better battery life (yes, the display affects it greatly I know but still you can’t help but be impressed).
      Of course you could say the MacBook is underpowered as well, but I would argue it is just fine and that other laptops are more powerful than they need to be. At least for the average user anyway. Even power users like me could get by just fine with the MacBook since it has an amazing SSD in it. Point being, using an ARM chip isn’t that farfetched an idea to me at all.

      • mrgerbik

        there is no comparison when comparing A10 vs an i5 or i7 – its like a sports car vs a family sedan

    • ItzSky_05

      If you take the most powerful ARM processor and compare it with the most consumer grade processor, there’s no point of comparison (Apple A10 vs Intel Core i7-6700k or even the Intel Core I7-6700HQ).
      ARM is still underpowered, but looks like it’s getting stronger every time. For a portable or unpowered device like the Macbook, is a great idea.

  • CaffeinePizza

    Or since iOS and macOS share the same Darwin kernel…..

    • Reed Harston

      While I do think that there is something to be said for Apple deciding to got to custom ARM chips in the Macs I agree that at least for the time being you (and the others who commented the same as you) are most likely right. macOS and iOS share a kernel so they may have likely just found a reference to the CPU in the iPhone 7.

  • rockdude094

    Maybe its hinting an iPad type device that runs Mac OS

    • Shameer Mulji

      Good point. Many are assuming that Apple is building an ARM-based Mac but instead they may be working to port macOS to iPad Pro.

  • Imad Ghandour

    tl;dr; Would be a downside to introduce this:
    1-No more windows compatibility
    2-Cant game
    3-Unless big innovation is done
    …in more detail below

    I wouldn’t like this because it would render mac’s unable to run windows side by side with the Macintosh operating system, unless Apple finds some kind of workaround with drivers that would make this possible; which is doubtful. Even then, apps that would run on this ‘tweaked’ windows infrastructure, mainly games in this case for me at least, would be virtually ‘unrunnable’ because they are built to either run on AMD and Nvidia GPUs or either on AMD and Intel CPUs. Doubtful that they will support Apple’s ARM architecture since developers still barely support running games on Macs all together; basically there is little reason for them to change their minds as Apple is focused on Enterprise and Creative consumer-base rather than the avid casual gamer user-base instead. This is all true, unless Apple probably produces some rendition of a mac that is a graphics powerhouse that might reignite the idea of possibly gaming on a mac; very possible since this is seen today with the iPhone. However, as I said twice before, I find this very doubtful because, if this was a considered goal we would have seen Apple take a jab at this market earlier; until today only their high end MacBooks have a discrete graphics cards which are situated mainly for video editing rather than gaming all together. Unfortunate really.

    • lattermanstudio

      i think it the end of an era where most (if not all) Apple computers can also run Windows natively. Back in the day…. Apple switched to Intel for a number of reasons…… PPC chips where having development issues, there was a big demand for Windows apps being able to run on our ofiice Mac…. in the end it was all about $$$ ……. same thing now….. Apple looks kinda weak when you compare it’s “pro” ipad series with and windows tablet that runs native windows apps ON a tablet….. it’s not very elegant in the Apple world…. they need to be able to offer a seamless experience ….. they can’t that unless they change and have ‘one’ OS….. things need to change……

    • Reed Harston

      You have good points but I think there are some things to consider.
      1. As I have mentioned in other comments, I think that Windows on ARM isn’t too far out. It already exists for Raspberry Pi, which is ARM based. Also, as someone else commented there are likely fewer and fewer people using Windows on their Macs so even if it doesn’t work anymore (though I still believe it will) then it may not be missed very much by the masses. I know I wouldn’t care much.
      2. ??? First, Macs aren’t widely regarded as ‘for gaming’ anyway. Second, switching to ARM CPUs doesn’t mean you won’t be able to use an AMD or Nvidia GPU. Two different things altogether. As for games running on ARM, anything from the App Store won’t care what CPU you have since Apple recompiles apps on the fly, so those games won’t even notice any change. As far as Windows gaming goes though you are right. You’ll just have to put together a gaming PC for those games, and even if Apple doesn’t switch from intel to ARM that would probably be best anyway since Macs don’t have great support for all the latest hardware, since you obviously only seem to care about games and nothing else which is not what Macs are made for (which you’ve said yourself).
      3. I honestly don’t know what to say to this. Obviously the whole jump to ARM would take some innovation so that is a given. And they are already on the way there actually. All of Apple’s iOS devices run ARM so running macOS on ARM would be a piece of cake (Linux already runs equally well on either x86 or ARM or PowerPC or MIPS or whatever). And Apple has already set up the App Store to accept apps in a state that allows Apple to compile the app for the CPU of the device the app will be installed on, so that means no more work for the developers.
      4. Doubtful? Maybe. Possible? Likely. I think it is more a question of ‘when’ then ‘if’ at this point. Having one type of CPU architecture in all their devices would make a lot of things easier for Apple in the long run.

      • Imad Ghandour

        Just to touch on a point that I believe I didn’t make clear. I don’t use my mac specially to game. I actually bought my mac in order to Video Edit in the fly on Adobe Premiere and FCPX; gaming for me is a compliment to that experience. The reason I believe that people say that Macs aren’t meant for gaming is that 1- There is an abysmal support for games on macOS 2-Most MacBooks don’t come with a discrete graphics card, evens the ones that do, although satisfy photo editing and video editing very well, cannot game which I find weird honestly. I don’t game seriously just a bit of Overwatch and couple of other titles here and there and my mac serves me well. However, most of my games rely on windows (only reason I have the OS installed) and it would be a shame to want to uogeade in the future and lose this privilege. Even games that are cross-platform run better on windows due to their initial aim to use Direct-X as the main API instead of Open-GL or I guess now Metal. So losing the ability to run windows is a letdown. If Apple can facilitate and smooth transition (which would be possible obviously with macOS as you mentioned) for boot camp as well, odds are very low though, that would be great. Don’t get me wrong I do think switching to Apples own designed ARM is a great idea as there own chips have proven to easily outperform intel chips in the past, again just desappointed on compatibility.

  • pjp

    “…developers no longer submit fully compiled binaries.”

    “Instead, intermediary bit code is submitted which Apple uses to compile the binary code for the specific CPU architecture. Should Apple release an ARM-based Mac, developers wouldn’t need to re-submit their existing code nor would they need to add any ARM-specific code in order for their apps to run natively on ARM-based hardware.”

    This isn’t true. Bitcode is for iOS apps, not Mac apps.

    • Reed Harston

      Correct, but do you think it is much of a stretch for Apple to do the same for Mac apps? It would take practically no extra work for the developers to support this in their apps, if any at all. All Apple would have to do is flip a switch on their end and voila. The Mac app store will behave like the iOS App Store.

  • Will Collier

    I’ve been expecting this for a while. Makes Apple independent of Intel, and kills Hackintoshes in one swell foop.

    (I’m opposed, FWIW.)

    • lattermanstudio

      yup….. would kill the Hackintosh……. not good – but at the same time I can see why it makes sense to them in the long run……… hey…… you can ‘still’ make a Hackintosh and run OSX 10.12 and below…… nothing wrong with that 🙂

  • lattermanstudio

    Bye bye to Mac that also run WinDoze but that’s no big loss. We may finally see ipads that run OSX….. that would be great 🙂

  • Leslie Bee

    With extra cores (maybe 9) at 3-7nm, ARM could probably replace Intel entirely by around 2020.

    Apple would love to boost profits, and jettison Intel and eventually all other non-Apple chips in all their products.

    The future is coming whether we like it or not. Everybody wants to rule the world, especially Apple.

    • Reed Harston

      I don’t think ARM needs that many more cores in order to replace Intel. ARM chips are generally seen as slower because they are. We only see 1 to 2.5 GHz ARM chips because that is as fast as they can get before melting the phones and tablets they are most used in. Intel chips regularly clock up to 4GHz or more in high end machines. I don’t doubt that ARM chips could reach the same speeds as Intel chips do in a full sized laptop or desktop computers. Then they would be very completive and most likely more power efficient to boot.

      Of course Apple is looking to improve their bottom line more than anything but I also think that if they do make this move it would simplify a lot of things for them overall. It would mean only one architecture to support on their OS and apps (which would mean more resources for more debugging and better software). And it would also mean that Apple would have more control over the pace of their hardware upgrades as well.

      I agree, whatever happens is going to happen and there isn’t anything we can do to make Apple change their minds.

  • Frank CHEN

    That’s why the name “FUSION”. The question is will we have an iOS like macbook or a osX like ipad pro.

    • Shameer Mulji

      my bet is on the former.

  • Niklaus Mikaelson

    I guess My iapd pro is getting macos

  • Johny Burns

    So many amoebas are biting on the TMZ reporters. Typical Kardashian story. ARM tried in the Chromebooks thru the Linux distro flavor, and Intel uses the weakest and cheapest silicon there. Apple has around 10 more years to catch to what Intel has right now. Not to mention HP, Dell, Lenovo, Asus, Sams, Huawei, Xiaomi are pissing all over iMacs. Apple got butt hurt when Intel stop providing them with custom made silicon. Dell already got a Kaby Lake chips, and Apple is now on the back of the bus.

  • mrgerbik

    Comparing current ARM builds to current x86 is like comparing a Nissan Sentra to a McLaren F1.
    For everyday computing the speed is reasonable enough, but for any serious workloads, x86 is still the champ by far.

  • aalberti

    LLVM was architecture independent from the start. I supposed intermediate code (bitcode) was the way to go for distribution, with a JIT compiler specific for the installed chip on the computer. They took a long time, but it seems they’re finally headed there. It is certainly doable and even very efficient.

  • Jorge Rivera

    Yes, it does make sense. Additionally, macOS and iOS may merge and this is why one can find those references in the include files. It is the beginning of implementing a vision for future Apple devices as they become more homogeneous.

  • Jon Allen

    Time to look at windows again. Apple, its been a good decade.

  • Sentinel64

    Well….this line of thought ( Apple going ARM across their entire portfolio ) has a little more credence when you realize that Intel has recently bowed out of the phone and tablet CPU market. For the last 3-4 years Intel has poured BILLIONS of dollars into the mobile space trying to dislodge the stranglehold that ARM has in that market. They quite literally were seeing BILLIONS in losses due to rebates and marketing given to phone manufacturers to entice them to start using Intel CPU’s instead of ARM. This would be Intel’s ATOM line of CPUs. It was a spectacular failure. So this year they announced they are out of the phone and tablet business and are concentrating the ATOM line for 2in1 Hybrids and cheap laptops on the Windows side of things. Read that again…..OUT of the PHONE and TABLET business. Now….where is Apple making the most money from but the PHONE and TABLET business?

    So…..just like a decade ago when the PowerPC alliance was failing to bring the innovations needed to Apple, not only in the desktop division but particularly in the laptop division forcing Apple rightfully at the time to go Intel, Intel is now stagnating and ARM chips have advanced enough to become viable replacements across the entire Apple portfolio from desktops to mobile. I think 2017 is a good year to see an ARM based Apple Air laptop. 2018 sees an ENTIRE mobile portfolio ( all laptops, phones, tablets and watch ) go ARM and in the 2019-2020 timeframe the first ARM based Apple desktop.

    Just my humble opinion.

  • iAndroHacker

    Does it mean that i can dual-boot Android Nougat ARM version?
    yeah cool right? lol. just saying

  • …or macOS running on iPad Pros.

  • This should be no surprise that Apple is trying to be independent from Intel (can’t blame ’em) but banking on ARM at it’s current state would be a crapshoot. Not ready, not even for 2017

  • Anthony Randazzo

    or it could be that they are slowing combining the iOS and macOS code base so that there is less to manage, and soon iOS may be running macOS as its core. Another option is a more affordable netbook style Apple

  • Baltazar

    It could make sense to go with in-house ARMs. Most tasks now are not CPU bound. I’d argue unless you are high-end gaming, science/CAD, content creation, we are getting to the point that for many people their Chomebooks or iPads are able to do everything they want. Hopefully they keep the Pro line and 27″ iMac line with Intel and OS X. I’d disagree that Apple has been held back by Intel’s cpu timeline. No updates on: Mac Pro, MacMini, Apple Display, etc.