Translating an ARM iOS App to Intel macOS Using Bitcode →

May 18, 2019 · 12:22

Steven Troughton-Smith, on High Caffeine Content:

Of course, the specter of macOS on ARM has been in the public psyche for many years now, and many have pondered whether Bitcode will make this transition more straightforward. The commonly held belief is that Bitcode is not suited to massive architectural changes like moving between Intel and ARM.

I was unconvinced, so I decided to test the theory!

Of course he did. Since this is Steve, the results are predictable.

That was easy!

This means, in theory, that if Apple wanted every iOS app on the App Store to run on the Mac, today or in the future, they have a mechanism to do so transparently and without needing developers to update or recompile their apps.


MacOS: How to Enable Full Mitigation for Microarchitectural Data Sampling (MDS) Vulnerabilities →

May 17, 2019 · 12:39

Apple Support:

Intel has disclosed vulnerabilities called Microarchitectural Data Sampling (MDS) that apply to desktop and notebook computers with Intel CPUs, including all modern Mac computers.

Although there are no known exploits affecting customers at the time of this writing, customers who believe their computer is at heightened risk of attack can use the Terminal app to enable an additional CPU instruction and disable hyper-threading processing technology, which provides full protection from these security issues.

This option is available for macOS Mojave, High Sierra and Sierra and may have a significant impact on the performance of your computer […]

Testing conducted by Apple in May 2019 showed as much as a 40 percent reduction in performance […]

You probably don’t need to enable these mitigations unless you’re a secret agent but I’m pretty sure this is really helping push the transition from Intel to ARM inside Apple.


New 8th Gen Intel Core CPUs for MacBooks, the Rumoured MacBook Air and Perhaps Even an Updated MacBook Pro Escape →

August 29, 2018 · 09:34

Intel today announced additions to the 8th Gen Intel Core processor family: The U-series (formerly code-named Whiskey Lake) and Y-series (formerly code-named Amber Lake) are optimized for connectivity in thin, light laptops and 2 in 1s for the first time, while also providing ultimate mobile performance and long battery life.

Intel showed these parts, which are newer versions of what the 12-inch MacBook uses — this should suggest an update soon:

  • m3-8100Y | 1.1 GHz | 3.4 GHz Turbo Boost | 2 cores
  • i5-8200Y | 1.3 GHz | 3.9 GHz Turbo Boost | 2 cores
  • i7-8500Y | 1.5 GHz | 4.2 GHz Turbo Boost | 2 cores

There are also two possible candidates for the rumoured upcoming MacBook Air if it continues to use 15-watt CPUs:

  • i7-8565U | 1.8 GHz | 4.6 GHz Turbo Boost | 4 cores
  • i5-8265U | 1.6 GHz | 3.9 GHz Turbo Boost | 4 cores

The MacBook Pros with Touch Bar use 28-watt CPUs and they were updated in July 2018. The MacBook Pro Escape (the model without the Touch Bar) wasn’t — it uses 15-watt CPUs. The i5 and i7 listed above could easily make it into the Escape if Apple chooses to upgrade them.

If the MacBook Pro Escape gets an update, then I think the rumoured Retina MacBook Air will not get Thunderbolt ports at all, to differentiate it further (and keep the price down). If the Escape is left to die off (Apple really should stop this practice and just remove a model from sale as soon as possible), then there’s a chance that the new Air will get Thunderbolt, but my gut feeling says Apple is going to want to keep the price down and not include it either way. The 12-inch MacBook has not filled the gap left by the 13-inch MacBook Air and they’ll have a hard time keeping the 899-999 USD price-point with all these new fancy technologies. While the ”Air” moniker is well known, logically Apple should just release it as a 13-inch MacBook, but that would be troublesome if it were to be cheaper than the 12-inch model.

All the speculation on this subject just go to show how far Apple has strayed from the simplicity of their line-up.


Intel Says Not to Expect Mainstream 10 Nm Chips Until Q2 2019 →

July 30, 2018 · 10:21

Peter Bright, writing for Ars Technica:

While the company’s 14nm manufacturing process is working well, with multiple revisions to improve performance or reduce power consumption, Intel has struggled to develop an effective 10nm process. Originally mass production was planned for as far back as 2015. In April, the company revised that to some time in 2019. The latest announcement is the most specific yet: PC systems with 10nm processors will be in the holiday season, with Xeon parts for servers following soon after. This puts mainstream, mass production still a year away.

Looking at the problems Intel has been having with their CPUs, we should reasonably wait until their second generation 10 nm series, which will probably arrive late 2020 (2021 in Macs?).

I wonder if my late 2016 MacBook Pro will last that long. I shouldn’t have to worry about this, and I normally wouldn’t, but the current generation isn’t very reliable.


Apple Plans to Move Macs From Intel to ARM Chips →

April 4, 2018 · 12:12

Ian King, writing for Bloomberg:

Apple Inc. is planning to use its own chips in Mac computers beginning as early as 2020, replacing processors from Intel Corp., according to people familiar with the plans.

The initiative, code named Kalamata, is still in the early developmental stages, but comes as part of a larger strategy to make all of Apple’s devices — including Macs, iPhones, and iPads — work more similarly and seamlessly together, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private information. The project, which executives have approved, will likely result in a multi-step transition.

Tech pundits have been discussing this idea for years now, but the more I think about it, the more questions I find in need of answers. Will iOS move to notebook and desktop-type devices, and will it start adapting well-known macOS features at a faster pace? Will macOS remain largely unchanged? Does this signal some sort of merging of the two platforms? What would the scope of that be? How does Marzipan play into all of this and is it just a stop-gap before we get a new ‘AppleOS’?

This is one of the few times where I would love to learn exactly what Apple is planning beforehand, because there are so many different routes they can take.


Intel Spent More Than $10 Billion to Catch Up in Mobile and Gave Up →

May 3, 2016 · 10:06

Ina Fried:

After missing the early days of the smartphone revolution, Intel spent in excess of $10 billion over the last three years in an effort to get a foothold in mobile devices.

Now, having gained little ground in phones and with the tablet market shrinking, Intel is essentially throwing in the towel. The company quietly confirmed last week that it has axed several chips from its roadmap, including all of the smartphone processors in its current plans.

They’re not doing very well with their PC chips either, considering how behind they are on their own roadmap.