To many it seems so: in the spring or summer of 2021 Apple put on a show (real, virtual show – myth), will talk about the new architecture of the Mac, strikingly beautiful and incredibly promising, and declare all Mac and produced before, outdated. In fact, the transition to a different architecture is not an event but a process. Sometimes long and always painful, especially if the new architecture of its own design, and it is still never used in the real world. Experience with the use of ARM processors in personal computers (e.g., Microsoft) is already there, and he’s far from perfect. Instead of guessing or discuss the predictions of prophets, let’s deal with what is already known and draw conclusions.
Apple has a serious advantage over most competitors. It twice, and both times successfully, translating the Mac, and on a fundamentally different processor architecture, and she has experience and she is confident in their abilities. The second transition took a little more than a year, and can seem incredibly easy. But the Intel was something new for Apple only, in fact, they have existed since the beginning of the microprocessor era, and from the very first day it was intended for computers.
Intel processors and personal computers for decades, have evolved and matured together. Apple could only fit in well researched realities and adapt to them. And even it took more than a year, and difficulties on this path were many. The processors Apple used in Apple computers only within how they behave in the real world – the big question. the iPad Pro is often called a computer, but we all know that it is a metaphor. The transition to ARM is more similar to the transition from the primordial and original Motorola 68k on newborns RISC processors PowerPC from a consortium of Apple-IBM-Motorola (AIM), which lasted longer and cost much more blood. The probability of a quick and easy transition Macs to ARM is vanishingly small.
The new processor Apple A14
Although Apple has never uttered a single word about it, we “know” that a system-on-chip in the first ARM Macs will be Apple A14. As iPhone 12, but not exactly the same as them. Another derivative from the basic Apple A14, with some alphabetic index at the end.
Tablet derivative denoted by the letters “X” and “Z”, computer, which is rumored to be three, will be denoted by some other indexes. Intel distinguishes between three classes (different requirements for a heat sink and, consequently, power) mobile processors: “Y” for laptops like MacBook or MacBook Air, “U” for something like the 13-inch MacBook Pro and “H” – for uncompromising and powerful laptops.
Assume that Apple won’t reinvent the wheel and uses the same notation. SoC (processor) iPad Pro in the spring of this year, Apple A12Z, perfectly fits into this version, even though it was written with pitchfork on the water. About one of these chips is known that he was “the most powerful of the three,” what’s in it 12 cores – 8 productive and energy-saving 4 Firestorm Icestorm, plus a GPU and NPU. Though in benchmarks Apple A14H (not his real name) tears to shreds all mobile chips from Intel and from AMD, consume a third less energy than processors of the Y-class, and in the absolute ideal. Where is MacBook Pro with ARM inside, what are they waiting for?
But with Thunderbolt technology from Apple processors still does. Therefore, iPad Pro 2018 and 2020 – only USB-C, no Thunderbolt 3. In the comments to the reviews Apple got a good hiding for her harm and unfriendly, but the reason for this misconduct is banal to a disgrace: a worthy chip that was not there, and if Apple itself has developed a Thunderbolt 3 controller (inside the SoC or as a separate chip), the price iPad Pro would have to be increased. The purchase of licenses, royalties, etc. Apple also participated in creating the Thunderbolt, and in the development of all its versions and even brand Thunderbolt was invented by Apple and at one time belonged to her – but Steve jobs gave it to Intel, brothers in spirit and blood. Right on Thunderbolt belongs to Intel.
Support Thunderbolt 4, which do not nobody and nothing to pay, will appear in the ARM-Macs (and the iPad Pro?) not earlier than in 2022. Imagine a MacBook Pro without Thunderbolt ports. Only the USB. But the first ARM-Mac expected later this year, and then their output would be rescheduled for early next. Mac only with USB it’s something like MacBook: browsing the Internet or videos, a set of texts, creating a small spreadsheet.
If Apple is limited to minor updates Macs in the next year and a half, making an exception only for more or less useless, but dazzlingly beautiful MacBook II, the company may lose a large part of the market of personal computers. And not the fact that it will be able to win then. A major upgrade Macs “Intel inside” is inevitable. Comet Lake (the 10th generation) class H produced in the third or fourth improved version of the process of 14 nm, a worthy 16-inch MacBook Pro, but what next?
Fortunately, Intel something changed again, the company managed to beat AMD in a hard and bitter struggle, and like this summer, perhaps in June, will be presented the 11th generation of its mobile processors, Tiger Lake. The head of Intel, Robert Swan had mentioned these chips, speaking during a report on the financial results of the company (which, incidentally, is surprisingly good). Known even the names Core i7-1185G7 and Core i7-1165G7 (like this Y class) and some others. Published the results of their tests. According to Intel, the processors are much superior to Ice Lake productivity (published test results is not confirmed), but the integrated graphics performance almost doubled.
Xe Intel integrated graphics of the 12th generation, is moving to Intel as a competitor to AMD discrete graphics. The results of the tests are disappointing in this, but let’s not jump to ratings. Until the end of the year Intel should announce and bring to market Tiger Lake Y – and U-class (for MacBook Air and the smallest MacBook Pro) in 2021 should go, and first ever Intel 10 nm (10 nm++) processors H-class – for 16-inch MacBook Pro. “Should”, “like”, “plan” – but it seems to be really needs.