Why You’ll Probably Never Own A Mac With An ARM Processor [Feature]


Image via Ars Technica

Ever since Apple launched the new MacBook Air, analysts and Mac fans alike have gone wild speculating that Cupertino might dump Intel and use custom-made, ARM-based chips in their laptop line instead. Yesterday, more fuel was thrown on the fire when it was revealed that an Apple intern worked on porting OS X to ARM devices back in 2010. Even Intel has said it would be “remiss” of them to dismiss the possibility that ARM might steal their Apple business. On the surface of things, it looks like ARM might make its way to our MacBooks soon.

Is ARM really a threat to Intel? Yes, absolutely, and especially as we transition into Apple’s Post-PC world. But there is next to no chance Apple will replace Intel chips for ARM-based ones any time in the next five years. In fact, there’s a good chance the exact opposite could be true, and Intel chips will be powering our iPhones and iPads by then. Here’s why.

Apple wants custom-designed Arrandale CPUs for their notebook line



Apple likes Intel’s desktop line of Core i5 and Core i7 CPUs well enough to put them in their iMacs, so it makes sense that they would want to avail themselves of Intel’s three new Core i5 and i7 mobile CPUs (codenamed Arrandale) for any forthcoming refresh of the MacBook line. But things may not be that simple.

One way the Arrandale line of processors differs from previous Intel mobile CPUs is that the chips include mandatory integrated graphics. According to the Bright Side of News, Apple’s not interested in that: even the most inexpensive Macs now contain NVIDIA GeForce 9400M GPUs, which offer far superior performance to integrated graphics solutions.

Apple upgrades build-to-order Mac Pros and Xserves



Not six days after we reported on a rumor that the next Mac Pro would run dual Intel Core i9 CPUs, Apple has quietly updated its Mac Pro … with 3.33GHz Quad-core Xeon Processors.

(A meaty smack of the palm on the expanse of forehead above the pineal gland, and then the hand trails downward to shield the eyes, as if from a bright light, leaving only the grim rictus of a man self-repulsed still exposed. “Oh, jeez, thanks, Apple!” the blogger says. “Now I look like an idiot!”)

In addition to offering the new processor configuration, Apple has also expanded the hard drive space, now offering up to 8TB of storage in the Mac Pro, spread evenly between four hard drive bays. And while the quad-core 3.33GHz Mac Pro will add another $1,200.00 to the price of your machine, the 8TB of hard drive space is now standard.

While they were at it, Apple’s Xserves also got a bit of a beef-up, with the hard drive options again being expanded to 6TB across three hard drive bays. They’ve also updated their build-to-order RAM options on the Xserve, offering 4GB RAM modules which double the capacity of the quad-core Xserve to 24GB and the octuple-core Xserve to 48GB. Apple also states that the X-Serves will support up to 96GB of RAM under Snow Leopard, so 8GB RAM modules should work in these machines.

Despite the rumor of a dual Intel Core i9 Mac Pro configuration making a lot of sense (my guess is we’ll still see it at some point), Apple needed to patch the Mac Pro quick if they didn’t want the highest-end Core i7 iMacs cannibalizing sales, due to the latter machine’s superior price-to-performance ratio. A slight bump to the CPU frequency is a swift and easy patch to make while Apple looks into a more drastic refresh… although it also resets the countdown timer to the next Mac Pro refresh. My guess is we’ll see the Core i9 Mac Pros sometime early next year.