Apple's shift to ARM Mac at WWDC next week


Next week at the Apple developer's conference, Apple is expected to announce that they will be dumping Intel and moving to ARM chips.This has been a tech rumor for a while now, next week if it happens will be the official public announcement.

However it represents a deeper long term problem. Programs written for Intel x86 architecture chips do not run on ARM chips. Switching chips requires all the software vendors to make minor modifications to their programs to work on the new architecture. Given that the programs typically took years to develop, even a minor modification might take weeks. And, this will require that consumers making the transition obtain new versions of their programs.

Intel chips have always been power hungry, which is not good for laptops. In years past Intel offset this by being faster, but surprisingly that gap had started to disappear by 2017. iPhone 8 faster than intel Core i5 and it's only gotten worse since then: on Geekbench the A13 (Iphone11) has the same single core performance as the i9. That's a tiny phone chip compared to the top-end desktop CPU targeted at gamer. Wait until Apple introduces a desktop-oriented ARM chip.

The ARM advantage over Intel has become too compelling to ignore, and other PC makers will be making the switch in coming years. Microsoft has already been trying (several times), with mixed success. People are also trying to replace Intel on Servers, and (for different reasons) Intel is also loosing some ground to AMD.

All these efforts are having (or will have) mixed success initially. But the point is that everyone is trying to get away from Intel.
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