The lines between tablets and PCs are blurring. With products like the samsung ativ smart pc 500t and Acer iconia w510, hard to differentiate. If windows tablets can run full windows, there is a major competitive advantage over iPads which only run iOS. If Apple wants to respond with a tablet running full MacOS, should it run on ARM or INTEL? I posted earlier that a lot of Mac users install Windows on their Macbook using bootcamp or some emulator program (parallels) so if Apple wants to keep that trend going they need to have to convert to tablets running Intel. By switching, there is also the advantage that they do not have to convert their MacOS to run on ARM. As well, all there won't be any compatibility issues for all current SW running on MacOS ala Windows RT. Finally, the Intel's chip is just heads and shoulders above ARM in terms of performance (power effiency matching soon with Broadwell).
BTW, check out the patent Apple has at the below link. MacPad is coming!
The iPad wouldn't consider going to an Intel processor until Bay Trail in 2014.
A MacPad is possible using Haswell in 2013 but that would require a touch-based Mac operating system. Then the 2013 Mac touch OS could go on the 2014 Bay Trail iPad. Also, does Apple support both a Mac touch OS and a Mac regular OS and do something more than Microsoft ? And then, the iPhone keeps the iOS and so that's three operating systems.
Then since that's three different operating systems, the iPad actually keeps the ARM processor but a MacPad with a Haswell processor is added.
The iPad is only concerned with being a coffee-shop touch-browser. If something more is wanted that's a MacPad. An iMacPad ?
In 2014 there will be an iPhone with an ARM processor, an iPad with an ARM processor, a MacPad with a Bay Trail processor, and a MacPad with a Hawell processor.
See, the stock market analysts confused a coffee-shop browser ramp-up with a longer PC replacement cycle. The coffee-shop browser ramp-up will top out and at about that same time a PC replacement cycle will begin. But one doesn't really drive the other.
I am long Intel and would like nothing more than MacPad announcement.
I am also an IT professional and know that porting iOS to x86 is a very doable task with well defined timeframe. What I am not sure about is what should be a strategy for supporting all existing ARM based applications.
Obviously, not supporting existing apps is not an option - no one will upgrade to a new iPad if it's incompatible with all existing Apps. Then what? and before anyone gives an example of Android port which supports most existing applications, 80% of Android apps run under Java VM and could care less about underlying instruction set.
With iOs applications are compiled to a native arm instruction set and Intel would have to emulate ARM to support them. Question is how much performance/power hit would this take?
Will translation happen one time upon installing an application? What other options are there?
Would love to hear intelligent discussion on this topic.
Binary translation for Android enables running of ARM code on x86, and is very fast, little or no difference from running natively on ARM. This is possible because ARM is a RISC based architecture, which by definition has a reduced instruction set.
X86 is complex instruction set, so it is able to do much more in a single clock cycle by comparison. The reverse is true if trying to emulate x86 on ARM, the CPU may need to use multiple clock cycles to perform the same instructions.
There is no reason why binary translation shouldn't work for iOS, and if things progress as expected for Atom at 14nm and beyond, the iOS applications will likely end up running MUCH better on x86 even though compiled for ARM.
Sentiment: Strong Buy
Read this article:
In the comments section, one knowledgeable commenter states:
"Do you not know that iOS is basically a fork of Mac OS X (which runs on x86), and that the "iPhone Simulator" which every iOS developer uses to write their apps is not a CPU emulator, but runs their iOS code directly against the x86 APIs? "
The author then replied:
"Yep, I'm well aware that iOS and OS X have basically the same kernel. Are you saying that iOS developers, when they test their apps, are building x86 executables? If so, that's pretty cool."
Remember ios apps are in a closed enviroment. They all have to be verified by Apple and are all on Apple's app store. It would be easy to convert all apps to run on x86.
Another interesting article to read by same author: