Remember iEverything? It started with the iMac in 1998, spread to the iPod and iTunes, and after that is was iEverything. iPhoto, iMovie, iWorks, iPhone, iPad. Thankfully, those days are gone and Apple seems to have settled on a simpler naming convention.
Gone are iPhoto and iCal, replaced by the more obvious Photos and Calendar. Apple Watch and TV are more descriptive names. I like Apple’s change from Mac OS X to macOS, and macOS High Sierra still gives Mac users something new to look forward to each year. Apple has a similar naming convention going on with the company’s own CPUs in iPhone and iPad. Last year it was A10 Fusion. This year it’s A11 Bionic.
That latest chip is an Apple in-house design and in benchmarks it performs better than many of Intel’s latest, including those in the MacBook and mid-level MacBook Pro. Indeed, the A-series CPUs help to differentiate Apple’s iPhones, iPads, Watch, and Apple TV from competitors. Apple is able to match the CPU’s capabilities to software in ways that Microsoft and Google could never do with Windows or Android OS.
Apple does not manufacture the A-series CPUs, leaving that to various semiconductor companies including Taiwan Semiconductor, Samsung, and others. Apple has custom chips in AirPods, Apple Watch, iPhone and iPad, and for Touch ID in the premium MacBook Pro models.
What about an ARM-based Apple A-series CPU in the Mac?
There is little doubt that Apple has the capability to put an A11 Bionic CPU or something from the future into a Mac. Intel seems to have hit something of a wall in performance gains while Apple has forged ahead of competitors– including Intel– in a few short years.
I have two schools of thought regarding the Mac. The first is the most scary.
The Mac is not important. After all, iPhone is the cash cow, Services is the second largest revenue stream, Mac, iPad, Watch, and Apple TV follow in descending order but the future is obvious. Mobile Apple devices. That means the Mac is something of a relic, relatively speaking, but there are some requirements that only a Mac can deliver and such capabilities are years away from iOS, if they ever make it all (screen real estate rules). Try zipping up a folder of files in the Tgz format on an iPhone or iPad.
The second thought makes some sense. Put an Apple-designed, ARM-based CPU in an entry-level Mac priced below $1,000, running macOS Half Moon Bay or whatever comes in the future. No Intel Inside. That also means no Windows inside. That Mac would be powerful enough for most Mac users, but priced low enough to attract more traditional PC users to the Mac fold.
With iPhone’s new TrueDepth camera and sensor system powering Face ID facial recognition you can see where the future is going. Face ID will show up on future iPads and it makes sense to have it on the Mac, too, because it offers greater security and differentiation.
An Apple CPU in an Apple Mac. That makes sense to me.