Another day another pay – we’re in level 3 but hopefully level 3 doesn’t last too long and we can get back to normal soon but not too soon because one doesn’t want to see what happened in 1918 when cities relaxed their restrictions believing that the worst of it was over only to find that a second wave ends up coming along that does a lot more damage than the first wave. I am pretty confident that those making the decisions are going to make the correct decisions because so far they’ve done a pretty good job – clear communication without sugar coating, implementing support mechanisms to help businesses and employees and more. The interesting part will be the budget that’ll focus on kick starting the economy again – whether the much talked about ‘helicopter money’ will be part of the equation – I could imagine maybe a cash injection then followed by large public works projects to provide employment and an asset to show for any debt accumulated.
The rumours regarding ARM based Mac’s are picking up steam – one thing to remember is that there is no inherent ISA limitation that would stop ARM from matching or beating Intel based processors. For example, Fujitsu has their own super computer CPU is designed around the ARM ISA (link) and other organisations have also demonstrated it particularly for cloud computing (reminds me very much of the Sun Microsystems T1 chips which took simple SPARC II design then put a tonne of them into SoC which a massive front side bus so that the pipe line to the processor was always full and no CPU stalling waiting for data).
My prediction is that Apple is going to probably move to ARM next year, start off with MacBook then they’ll probably keep AMD around for discrete GPU design for their workstations (both desktop and mobile) along with the iMac as well. Am I worried about software availability? No, because unlike the last time – programmers are already using Xcode and LLVM/Clang where as with the PPC to x86 it not only involved moving from PPC to x86 in terms of dealing with any hand code optimisations it also involved moving compilers and dealing with the quirks of the GNU compiler too chain and moving from CodeWarrior to Xcode. The situation these days is a lot different so I’d say if there is going to be a move you’ll see more developers embrace macOS given that a lot of software share a similar core and if it means targeting two platforms and not having to deal with platform peculiarities then it’ll be a winner for all concerned.
I think the interesting part is the development of the macOS kernel now that they’re on their way to closing off the kernel to third party extensions – do Apple have something major planned? Hopefully it’ll mean that they’re can develop their hardware and software in tandem with the Mac piggybacking on the economies of scales that iOS/iPadOS/watchOS/HomeOS and tvOS bring to the party.
Side note: Interesting how there are now rumours that the first crop of iPhone 12’s might not include mmWave support – hardly surprising what a giant mess it is; all hype and very little delivery unless you’re outside in direct line of sight. Outside of the US the focus on 5G have been on the sub-6GHz frequencies that have the best balance between coverage and capacity. I can’t help but feel as though the whole mmWave hype is going to end up like 3D televisions where those who have invested a lot are left with a rather expensive trophy (aka “I was first”) rather than having something that justifies it’s original price.