The more I think and hear from the voices (a lot smarter than I) talk about the rumoured Apple’s transition to its in-house chips for Macs, I realise this is going to be way tricker than I initially thought. There are too many variables I failed to think about initially.
The latest ATP episode covers few of them really well. I had to put down my thoughts to appreciate how big a deal this is.
- Transitioning the developers for the Mac is not going to be easy as-is. The lack of earnings from the macOS platform is already a cause of concern for the developers and Apple. Supporting a new chip architecture would be an overhead, irrespective of how easy Apple makes it.
- Macs are used for developing the software targeted at beyond the Apple platforms. A different chip design just adds another variable to the test-support cycle.
- It’s easier to say Apple will only move the non-pro macs to in-house chips (most probably based on ARM architecture) than to make an OS, already loaded with bugs, to simultaneously support two chip architectures.
- In a scenario (worst case) of Apple failing to keep up with competitors on performance, will they be ready for another transition? Or are they in this for a long haul, irrespective of what the competition delivers?
- There is a possibility of the chip design team running low on bandwidth if they are to support two platforms. This can, of course, mean that there won’t be deserved attention to the iOS platform — the money-earner, hence the more important platform for Apple. Eventually, Mac will get ignored (again!). Another possibility, of course, is Apple just doesn’t see two platforms existing simultaneously in its future. And hence the next point.
- I do not think it is just a coincidence that this rumour is going hand in hand with another rumour around Project Marzipan. I believe there is some close relationship between the two - either as a strategy or as an enabler.
Whatever the truth behind the rumours be, upcoming WWDC promises to be an exciting event. Even if they do not chalk out the whole strategy, would be interesting if we do see any early signs.