We don’t normally publish news posts about Apple sending out RSVPs for product launch events, but this one should be especially interesting.

This morning Apple has sent notice that they’re holding an event next Tuesday dubbed “One more thing.” In traditional Apple fashion, the announcement doesn’t contain any detailed information about the content expected; but as Apple has already announced their updated iPads and iPhones, the only thing left on Apple’s list for the year is Macs. Specifically, their forthcoming Arm-powered Macs.

As previously announced by Apple back at their summer WWDC event, the company is transitioning its Mac lineup from x86 CPUs to Arm CPUs. With a two-year transition plan in mind, Apple is planning to start the Arm Mac transition this year, and wrapping things up in 2022.

For the new Arm Macs, Apple will of course be using their own in-house designed Arm processors, the A-series. As we’ve seen time and time again from the company, Apple’s CPU design team is on the cutting-edge of Arm CPU cores, producing the fastest Arm CPU cores for several years running now, and more recently even overtaking Intel’s x86 chips in real-world Instruction Per Clock (IPC) rates. Suffice it to say, Apple believes they can do better than Intel by designing their own CPUs, and especially with the benefits of vertical integration and total platform control, they might be right.

Apple has been shipping early Arm Macs to developers since the summer, using modified Mac Minis containing their A12Z silicon. We’re obviously expecting something newer, but whether it’s a variant of Apple’s A14 SoC, or perhaps something newer and more bespoke specifically for their Macs, remains to be seen.

In the meantime, because this is a phased transition, Apple will be selling Intel Macs – including new models – alongside the planned Arm Macs. So although Apple will no doubt focus on their new Arm Macs, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see some new Intel Macs announced alongside them. Apple will be supporting Intel Macs for years to come, and in the meantime they need to avoid Osborning their x86 systems.

As always, we’ll have a live blog of the events next Tuesday, along with a breakdown of Apple’s announcements afterwards. So please be sure to drop in and check that out.

Source: Apple

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  • tipoo - Monday, November 2, 2020 - link

    Since they're aiming to get integrated graphics performance that matches their current dedicated chips by AMD, I would imagine the high bandwidth cache might be something like HBM2 as a caching layer to LPDDR4 to feed the IGP enough bandwidth.
  • mdriftmeyer - Monday, November 2, 2020 - link

    This is deluded thinking.
  • iphonebestgamephone - Tuesday, November 3, 2020 - link

    Oh and whats the non deluded one?
  • huangcjz - Tuesday, November 3, 2020 - link

    Apple were the ones who pushed Intel to make those chips with the L4 cache to improve GPU and CPU performance in the first place, starting with Haswell, because they wanted to move completely to iGPUs in most of their laptops to save on chips and space on the logic board, and Intel's GPUs weren't fast enough to satisfy Apple's demands at the time without doing so. So why wouldn't they do the same when designing the CPU and GPU as a SoC themselves? Ian mentions in his Broadwell cache article that HBM would be the modern way to implement it.
  • Pinn - Monday, November 2, 2020 - link

    Will Apple ever get in the server space? I'm doing an ARM64 assembly project and using Amazon's EC2.
  • name99 - Monday, November 2, 2020 - link

    Meaning what?
    Will Apple run servers? (They already do)
    Will they run servers using THEIR silicon? Probably.
    Will they sell servers? Well some people use the Mac mini as a server and are happy with it.
    Will they sell server time like AWS or Azure? In my opinion absolutely. That's coming as soon as the ARM macs are consolidated, next step in providing a more capable, more embracing ecosystem for developers.

    But is what you are asking:
    Will they sell commodity rack servers? To which the answer is: WHY??? Why sell something that's required to be exactly like everything else and cheap as possible, when Apple's entire reason for existence is to be different from everyone else, and if that costs more so be it.
  • huangcjz - Tuesday, November 3, 2020 - link

    They currently already make a separate Mac Pro version with a different, rack-mountable enclosure to the standard stand-alone tower version.
  • huangcjz - Tuesday, November 3, 2020 - link

    They've said that they'll transition all Macs to ARM, so eventually there will be an ARM version of the Mac Pro as well within the next couple of years, and since they currently do a rack-mountable version of the Mac Pro, then they could also make a rack-mountable version of the ARM Mac Pro.
  • edzieba - Tuesday, November 3, 2020 - link

    All signs point to no. They've been vehemently resistant to reviving the XServe, and OS X Server has been relegated to an app. The closest they've come to a server in the last decade is the rackmount case variant for the most recent Mac Pro (and that's explicitly intended for AV racks and client compute, not server usage).
  • Tomatotech - Tuesday, November 3, 2020 - link

    No. Apple quit the server business years ago. They don't even run their own HQ on Apple hardware. I can't remember what they use, probably some form of linux back end on generic server hardware, plus their cloud services run on a mix of both in-house datacentres with generic hardware (with a linux stack) and Amazon cloud AWS (I think) filling in the gaps / peak loads.

    They sell to the customer, not to the datacentre.

    I hypothesise that they started quitting the server business when they were planning the inital scaleout of their own cloud offerings and realised that their own hardware was too expensive for Apple to buy at the scale required. It would have been clear that offering a server they didn't use themselves would be a foolish move.

    Another important factor would have been if they wanted to mesh with Amazon / other mass cloud provider, then they needed a single server software stack that worked at vast scale. Bye bye Apple Server OS.

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