You are here

Apple moving Macs to ARM

For current or would-be users of Apple Mac computers, with answers to many FAQs.

Apple moving Macs to ARM

Postby johnny h » Thu Jun 11, 2020 10:08 am

It seems incredible the vast resources of Intel weren't enough to stave off the hugely complicated shift to ARM, but the day is almost here.

Logic will be fine of course, but smaller and more obscure plugin manufacturers might struggle a little with the transition. Who is planning to stay with Apple through this and who is defecting to Windows?
johnny h
Jedi Poster
Posts: 4010
Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2006 12:00 am

Re: Apple moving Macs to ARM

Postby CS70 » Thu Jun 11, 2020 10:55 am

Hm, all that stuff is quite well hidden usually from the applicative level. That's why C exists - the compiler does the porting job for you and these days the optimizations as well, usually much better than any average programmer might. And most plugins use a small set of libraries for audio processing anyways.

There may be some small issue at the beginning, but keep in mind today's "Intel" processors and architectures have very little to do with my old 386 (other than exposing the same interface, which is mostly seen by the C compiler)... and nobody's noticed, because (wisely) they keep using the same label.

Sure plugins that rely on small snippets of assembly code will have to have that snippet rewritten, but no sane developer nowadays would have big exposure to that level of metal.
User avatar
CS70
Jedi Poster
Posts: 5567
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:00 am
Location: Oslo, Norway
Silver Spoon - Check out our latest video and the FB page

Re: Apple moving Macs to ARM

Postby Agharta » Thu Jun 11, 2020 11:03 am

Drivers for older hardware might never materialise.
If Intel hadn’t opened up Thunderbolt to third parties the move would be more painful considering how much Apple relies on it.
But with USB 4 being a superset of TB3 Apple should be fine.
Agharta
Jedi Poster
Posts: 4079
Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2004 12:00 am

Re: Apple moving Macs to ARM

Postby BigRedX » Thu Jun 11, 2020 11:05 am

I went through the 680x0 to PPC transition as well as the PPC to Intel one, so for me I'm well used to it. On the whole neither change really affected me. I think in the 30 years of using Macs I've only lost 2 pieces of irreplaceable software that didn't make it through one or other of the changeovers.

Whether I'll be looking at another OS this time will depend on the continued compatibility of my thousands of pounds worth of Macintosh PostScript fonts and how attached to Logic I'm feeling when this latest change actually impacts on me.

Considering that I'm currently using a 2010 MacPro, and can't see any immediate need to change, that may be some years after Apple start building Macs with ARM processors.
User avatar
BigRedX
Frequent Poster
Posts: 823
Joined: Fri Sep 03, 2004 12:00 am
RockinRollin' VampireMan

Re: Apple moving Macs to ARM

Postby OneWorld » Thu Jun 11, 2020 11:13 am

BigRedX wrote:I went through the 680x0 to PPC transition as well as the PPC to Intel one, so for me I'm well used to it. On the whole neither change really affected me. I think in the 30 years of using Macs I've only lost 2 pieces of irreplaceable software that didn't make it through one or other of the changeovers.

Whether I'll be looking at another OS this time will depend on the continued compatibility of my thousands of pounds worth of Macintosh PostScript fonts and how attached to Logic I'm feeling when this latest change actually impacts on me.

Considering that I'm currently using a 2010 MacPro, and can't see any immediate need to change, that may be some years after Apple start building Macs with ARM processors.

I am thinking of having a dabble with Apple. Would a 2010 Mac Pro be able to have the latest Mac OS (whatever it is) running on it? I was thinking of buying a 2012-2016 model anyway.
OneWorld
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2747
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 12:00 am

Re: Apple moving Macs to ARM

Postby BigRedX » Thu Jun 11, 2020 11:19 am

OneWorld wrote:I am thinking of having a dabble with Apple. Would a 2010 Mac Pro be able to have the latest Mac OS (whatever it is) running on it? I was thinking of buying a 2012-2016 model anyway.

No it only supports up to Mojave (the previous version of OSX). I'm currently running High Sierra (the one before that).

TBH unless the software that you need to use requires a more recent version of the OS I can't see the point in upgrading. Previously I was using a 2008 MacPro running El Capitan. The only reason I changed was because I needed something that would support the latest versions of the Adobe Creative Cloud applications I use for my work and which I needed for compatibility with my clients and suppliers.
User avatar
BigRedX
Frequent Poster
Posts: 823
Joined: Fri Sep 03, 2004 12:00 am
RockinRollin' VampireMan

Re: Apple moving Macs to ARM

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Jun 11, 2020 11:25 am

A 2008 Mac Pro running El Capitan and Reaper it is a very usable system for straight forward recording. I can't comment on it's performance with lots of convolution reverbs and VSTi as I don't use them (yet) but I have no plans to upgrade in the foreseeable future.
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 12791
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: Apple moving Macs to ARM

Postby DGL. » Thu Jun 11, 2020 11:41 am

We must remember that the ARM processor was designed for desktop machines originally with it's low power consumption being not about future mobile applications but because Acorn could not afford to use ceramic packages for their processors and plastic packages limited you to ~1W, add in a bit of margin for error and that's how you got a powerful processor (immensely powerful at the time of release iirc) with little power consumption.

At least Apple have experience of switching from CISC to RISC (and back again!) so might go smoothly.
DGL.
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1110
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2011 12:00 am
Location: Portland, Dorset

Re: Apple moving Macs to ARM

Postby Eddy Deegan » Thu Jun 11, 2020 11:57 am

I suspect the biggest impact will be felt by users running hackintosh setups on non-Apple hardware. Assuming that the APIs offered by OS X itself don't change too much, as CS70 said it'll be mostly be a case of recompiling the applications from the existing source code with some fiddly bits for re-writing anything necessary in assembly.

As assembly is, generally speaking, fairly easy to rewrite/port (it's mainly mapping instructions from one instruction set architecture to another) I don't see a big problem although it'll probably take a little while to complete for everyone and there will be a few legacy applications and/or drivers lost along the way. Much like any major OS X upgrade really!

The bottom line is that it's not going to be a problem for the vast majority of software but the days of the "hackintosh" approach may be numbered.
User avatar
Eddy Deegan
Moderator
Posts: 4354
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 12:00 am
Location: Brighton & Hove, UK
Some of my works.
Please consider supporting the SOS Forum Album project.
 

Re: Apple moving Macs to ARM

Postby ConcertinaChap » Thu Jun 11, 2020 1:19 pm

Since I'm not intending to change computers for quite a while yet (my iMac Pro should be good for quite a while in terms of raw power) I'm quite heartened by the period Apple supported the PowerPC architecture. Not losing sleep here.

CC
User avatar
ConcertinaChap
Jedi Poster
Posts: 8815
Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2005 12:00 am
Location: Bradford on Avon
Making music: Eagle Alley, recording music: Mr Punch's Studio
We are normal and we want our freedom!.

Re: Apple moving Macs to ARM

Postby desmond » Thu Jun 11, 2020 1:19 pm

Transition time?
I'll grab me some popcorn and take a drink whenever anyone posts:

- I've upgraded my Mac, and now my software doesn't work!
- I've upgraded my Mac, and now my hardware doesn't work!
- I've upgraded my Mac, and now I have to buy upgrades for my software or it doesn't work!
- I've upgraded my Mac, and I used to run Windows in a VM for work, but this doesn't work!
- I've upgraded my Mac, but my software seems very slow now!
- Why didn't someone tell me not to upgrade my Mac before I upgraded my Mac? No, I shouldn't have to take responsibility to make educated and informed decisions about tools I depend my livelihood on!!
User avatar
desmond
Jedi Poster
Posts: 9820
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:00 am
mu:zines | music magazine archive | difficultAudio

Re: Apple moving Macs to ARM

Postby Eddy Deegan » Thu Jun 11, 2020 1:23 pm

desmond wrote:Transition time?
I'll grab me some popcorn and take a drink whenever anyone posts:

- I've upgraded my Mac, and now my software doesn't work!
- I've upgraded my Mac, and now my hardware doesn't work!
- I've upgraded my Mac, and now I have to buy upgrades for my software or it doesn't work!
- I've upgraded my Mac, and I used to run Windows in a VM for work, but this doesn't work!
- I've upgraded my Mac, but my software seems very slow now!
- Why didn't someone tell me not to upgrade my Mac before I upgraded my Mac? No, I shouldn't have to take responsibility to make educated and informed decisions about tools I depend my livelihood on!!

Yes, but just think of the bounty to be reaped in terms of post count :lol:
User avatar
Eddy Deegan
Moderator
Posts: 4354
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 12:00 am
Location: Brighton & Hove, UK
Some of my works.
Please consider supporting the SOS Forum Album project.
 

Re: Apple moving Macs to ARM

Postby Rich Hanson » Thu Jun 11, 2020 1:36 pm

desmond wrote:Transition time?
I'll grab me some popcorn and take a drink whenever anyone posts:

- I've upgraded my Mac, and now my software doesn't work!
- I've upgraded my Mac, and now my hardware doesn't work!
- I've upgraded my Mac, and now I have to buy upgrades for my software or it doesn't work!
- I've upgraded my Mac, and I used to run Windows in a VM for work, but this doesn't work!
- I've upgraded my Mac, but my software seems very slow now!
- Why didn't someone tell me not to upgrade my Mac before I upgraded my Mac? No, I shouldn't have to take responsibility to make educated and informed decisions about tools I depend my livelihood on!!

You will be drunk for a month, if not longer :D
User avatar
Rich Hanson
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2021
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2003 12:00 am
Location: UK

Re: Apple moving Macs to ARM

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Jun 11, 2020 1:39 pm

"I haven't upgraded my Mac and everything works as it should"

Step back a couple of years "I've updated my Mac OS and everything still works"

Step back still further "I've upgraded to a Mac and now I spend much more time playing music and much less time playing computers"

No regrets after making the move away from Windoze here..... ;)
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 12791
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: Apple moving Macs to ARM

Postby wireman » Fri Jun 12, 2020 7:18 pm

CS70 wrote:There may be some small issue at the beginning, but keep in mind today's "Intel" processors and architectures have very little to do with my old 386 (other than exposing the same interface, which is mostly seen by the C compiler)... and nobody's noticed, because (wisely) they keep using the same label..

If you are the one working with that C code which you hope will insulate you from the hardware just be aware that you may be tripped up by unigned chars if you had assumed they were signed.
wireman
Regular
Posts: 454
Joined: Fri Dec 17, 2004 1:00 am

Next