Apple TV+, the future of Apple Silicon and benchmarks.

Another busy week has come and gone. Last night I got into the Apple TV series called ‘Severance’ – did a bit of a binge last night and watched the whole of the first season. It is one of those shows you really need to have your full attention when watching it because otherwise you’ll miss subtle clues that help you understand what happens in future episodes. I’m looking forward to season 2 to come out but the release date is unknown but on the good side, the end of April the final episodes for the final season for Ozark will be coming out soon along with new series in the pipe line. It is interesting that in the past I used to be really into movies but these days I would sooner binge watch some of the great original content being put out there by Apple, Amazon, Netflix etc.

I’ve been checking out the recent Safari Technology Preview over the last few months and it is great that so much progress has been made. Part of that also getting educated about the ARM ISA and other associated technologies that Apple implement in their own silicon such as the Neon ISA (link). Although there is a lot of focus on SVE2 being part of the ARMv9 ISA there is still a lot of exciting improvements in ARMv8.5-A (which is what Apple’s latest SoCs are based upon) that really open my eyes to seeing why Apple has embraced ARM.

I was thinking about video from a few days ago regarding the benchmarks which compared the Intel 12th generation to the available Apple Silicon. When the power consumption was pegged at 45 watts for both then the result was similar performance but that isn’t the interesting part since most people use their computer in such a way that bursts performance are needed rather than long sustained number crunching since most of the time the processor is either idle or at the lowest clocked speed. That is where the power savings really kick in because of Apple Silicon’s ability to scale down really low and maintain that for long periods of time with the power consumption measured in low single digit watts (and sometimes even lower). The part about benchmarks (not this specific one but others) is the tendency to ignore power consumption – end of the day it is pretty easy to keep throwing power at a problem because given enough cooling and power it is pretty easy to make the CPU perform better but at what cost? Apple’s focus is about performance per watt – if you remove the wattage cap, double the power consumption but the performance difference is only slightly better then I think most customers would sooner benefit from the more efficient yet slightly slower SoC if it means a whole day worth of productivity time.