Apple is switching Macs to its own processors starting later this year

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Apple’s partner for iPhone and iPad processors, will build the new Mac chips, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private product plans. The components will be based on a 5-nanometer production technique, the same size Apple will use in the next iPhones and iPad Pros, one of the people said. An Apple spokesman declined to comment, as did Intel and TSMC. Current mobile device chips from Apple have multiple processing units, or cores, that handle different types of tasks. The latest iPad Pro has four cores for performance-intensive workloads and another four to handle low-power tasks to preserve battery life.

The first Mac processors will have eight high-performance cores, codenamed Firestorm, and at least four energy-efficient cores, known internally as Icestorm. Apple is exploring Mac processors with more than 12 cores for further in the future, the people said.

In some Macs, Apple’s designs will double or quadruple the number of cores that Intel provides. The current entry-level MacBook Air has two cores, for example.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-04-23/apple-aims-to-sell-macs-with-its-own-chips-starting-in-2021

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22954656

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Apple will release the first Mac with Apple silicon at the end of this year, and it expects the transition to take two years.

https://developer.apple.com/programs/universal/

Rosetta is a translation process that allows users to run apps that contain x86_64 instructions on Apple silicon. Rosetta is meant to ease the transition to Apple silicon, giving you time to create a universal binary for your app. It is not a substitute for creating a native version of your app.

Rosetta translates all x86_64 instructions, but it doesn’t support the execution of some newer instruction sets and processor features, such as AVX, AVX2, and AVX512 vector instructions.

https://developer.apple.com/documentation/apple_silicon/about_the_rosetta_translation_environment

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looks like my arm architecture builds of vcvrack might get some unexpected new importance in the future :slight_smile: … but i doubt that macos 11 will still support opengl … but still a while to go until all this gets reality …

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the good news for vcv is that these instructions are rare (if even used) in most plugins, and the sse2neon header supports most of what is already used.

as of the pre-release notes, it still does, but those are “pre-release” so could likely change. hard to guess until someone (Andrew?) gets the new dev hardware in hand (it’s $500 for access, and is essentially a lease of the hardware - maybe a new fundraiser?)

I’m not too worried about it. Apple is losing the pro audio market fast, so people will almost completely switch to Windows machines by the time today’s Mac computers are obsolete. If their processor/OS architecture becomes the norm in 10 years, I’ll officially support it. But only if Apple is friendly to developers, which they’re not so their direction will have to change.

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Reusing that name makes their game plan pretty obvious. The last time Apple called something Rosetta, around 2006, it was supported for like what, 4 years?

I have a Mac Pro from circa 2006 gathering dust - great machine that still works well enough. I never boot it up anymore, too much nostalgia for the glory days of 10.6… I prefer booting up my first-generation PPC mac mini I hacked to boot in OS 9 and bang out a beat in ReBirth.

Computer tech should just stop making progress and chill out for a few decades imho. Would be better for everyone.

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VCV Rack excluded :slight_smile:

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Maybe if it stopped making incremental progress on technologies that date from the 70s and 80s (ie windows, macos, linux etc) and maybe caught up with developments from the 90s (BeOS, Taligent etc) we could all be living in th ecomputer dream world they promised us!

:smiley:

:slightly_smiling_face:

:neutral_face:

:unamused:

:sleepy:

:hot_face:

I am very bitter.

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Does anyone know how much apple IP is in these chips vs other people’s? Obviously Apple didn’t invent the ARM CPU, just like they didn’t invent the Power PC. I’m sure Apple’s contributed something to this, but what?

Well there’s a depressing thought. I know Windows inside out. I know my Mac pretty well. Never a question in my mind which one I’d choose (money aside). Mac is hands down better on all accounts in my book.

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arm64 is an apple extension (not to be confused with aarch64), the power management, the chip design (apple does not use the arm reference designs), the memory controller, and apple’s neuro-chip are all additions that apple has made. these changes are coupled with 2 types of cpu cores.

add to this their in-house designed gpu’s, which are extremely nice, especially compared to intel’s.

remember, apple purchased and integrated multiple cpu design companies over the last 10 years and has a top-notch team.

samsung, who also develops their own cpu’s and do not use the arm reference designs, is a fairly close second, but benchmarks still have apple out ahead: https://nanoreview.net/en/soc-compare/samsung-exynos-990-vs-apple-a12x-bionic

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