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  • How Apple silicon might hurt Windows

    Home Forums AskWoody blog How Apple silicon might hurt Windows

    • This topic has 25 replies, 10 voices, and was last updated 3 months ago by anonymous.
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      • #2319355
        Tracey Capen
        AskWoody MVP

        APPLE NEWS By Will Fastie With the introduction of its M1 chip on Macs, Apple might well have triggered one of the greatest disruptions in the PC indu
        [See the full post at: How Apple silicon might hurt Windows]

        2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2319561
        readmorebeaverton
        AskWoody Plus

        Thank you, Will, for that illuminating article. It was clear and provides the kind of perspective that I, as perhaps one of your less technical readers, was missing from the broader M1 discussion. Your article was a tremendous service to all of us.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2319595
        AlexEiffel
        AskWoody_MVP

        Will, this is such a great article, thank you for this in-depth treatment of the subject.

        I remember when people talked about how running a VM with Windows would not be great when Apple announced the new silicon. Funny how we might jump to conclusions too fast.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2319623
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        Very good article. Windows already run on several brands of ARM computers, besides MS own Surface. One important point in this respect, made also in the article, is that Windows runs faster on M1 Macs. So I would imagine that users that play computer games where speed is important, or those who use them in tasks heavy on number crunching: engineering, scientific data analysis, etc., might be inclined, if the price is right and the right software they need is available, to use Macs and macOS in preference to Windows, even if they could also run Windows in those Macs, perhaps on a VM, perhaps on bare metal. But those who use computers for less demanding tasks and are familiar with Windows and, or consider Macs too expensive for them are likely to stay with it, would be my guess. So the M1 Macs today and the M2, M3 … Macs yet to come might hurt Windows’ market share mostly by gradually taking away some of its high-end users, but might leave behind the more numerous less demanding ones and the end result might not be that bad for Windows. Probably worse for Windows could be an MS policy of moving away from it to what may look as greener pastures in the Cloud, AI, quantum computing … with the final outcome for Windows being up to MS.

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS Mojave + Linux (Mint)

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2319629
        Will Fastie
        AskWoody_MVP

        …but might leave behind the more numerous less demanding ones and the end result might not be that bad for Windows.

        I think it might be the other way around. Apple abandoned its enterprise ambitions years ago, dumped its server products, and emphasized its consumer business. Meanwhile, Microsoft worked hard to lock in the high end. On the consumer side, Xbox is the last thing standing.

        In the article I mentioned that I was somewhat locked in to Windows due to the nature of my work. That’s true for now, but because Microsoft itself has made so much of its product line available on other platforms, migration might not be as big a deal as I imagine. Already more than half the stuff I depend upon is available on Mac.

         

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2319668
          OscarCP
          AskWoody Plus

          Will Fastie: My own story runs the other way from yours: I started using Windows in 1998 for a number of excellent reasons, and three years ago, considering the way I could see Windows was going and figuring out that was nowhere it suited me to go too, I decamped to macOS and my current workhorse Mac, where I am able to do the things I could do in my Windows PC and then some. As you could guess from my Woody profile, that involves some pretty heavy number crunching. In practice, I am my own boss and have been that for many years now, so I am free to choose anything that meshes well with what other people that I work with use. Years ago someone like me pretty much had the choice of Windows, or Windows. These days, not so much.

          So Windows has still a good chunk of is the Enterprise users; however even this is not all that solid, at least going by my own experience at NASA, where many people use Macs and also Linux PCs, not just Windows. In any case, whatever changes take place in the coming years, I expect it to be fairly gradual. Unless those in charge of MS decide to do something that really speeds things up …

          For my part, if I were a very selfish and horrible person, I think would be quite happy with Windows having a much bigger share of the OS market than macOS, because this way it would be also a bigger and more attractive target to all those shady characters out there that profit by spreading malware, at present mostly designed to infect Windows. But I am not like that at all! Oh, no! And, even if I were, oh well … times change.

          Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS Mojave + Linux (Mint)

      • #2319677
        Will Fastie
        AskWoody_MVP

        I decamped to macOS and my current workhorse Mac, where I am able to do the things I could do in my Windows PC and then some.

        I don’t doubt that at all.

        My point here is only that Apple now finds itself in a position it has not enjoyed for decades. Believe me, I’m as surprised as anyone about it.

        But don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that Windows is dead. I’m only saying that Apple seems poised to chew into the Wintel hegemony, at least to some degree. That has never been true before.

        • #2319689
          OscarCP
          AskWoody Plus

          Will Fastie: Your point is well taken, even if it means that the small macOS vs. big Windows situation I am quite comfortable with might not last for ever.

          I find what you wrote in your comment at the start of this thread worth thinking about. Who knows what is to come? But thoughtful observations clearly made can help us guess how best to make ready for it. Thank you.

          Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS Mojave + Linux (Mint)

          1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2319739
        radosuaf
        AskWoody Lounger

        For many, it’s all about hardware and software choice. Windows rules this territory and it won’t change quickly. I myself cannot imagine buying a pre-built PC with no upgrade options.

        MSI H110 PC MATE * Intel Core i7-6700 * 2 x 8 GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 2133 MHz * Aorus Radeon RX 570 4GB * Samsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD * SanDisk Ultra 3D 1TB SSD * Western Digital Blue 1TB HDD * DVD RW Lite-ON iHAS 124 * Creative X-Fi XtremeGamer PCI * Windows 10 Pro 20H2 64-bit
      • #2319800
        prawlings1
        AskWoody Lounger

        Thank you for the informative well written article. I view this as good news and bad news. The good news is the new processor “appears” to be a big jump in processor evolution and it will put pressure on Intel and AMD to meet the challenge. The bad news is this will allow Apple to advance their strategy of closed hardware and software systems. The closed systems that Apple has long promoted and desires drives prices through the roof and reduces the choices of  suppliers for both hardware and software. Apple and IBM both started with this same mindset. Because IBM did not manufacture the processors, did not own the operating system and failed to maintain control of the BIOS clones were born. This reduced prices and the PC boom began. Apple went from being a big player in the PC market to a marginal one. I hope that they will either change their strategy or that other processor manufacturers will step up to meet the challenge. Otherwise were could eventually see Apple with a virtual monopoly on both hardware and software.

      • #2319831
        bbearren
        AskWoody MVP

        There are a few hundred million computer users who don’t want to pay the “Apple Tax”, and will continue to replace their old, outdated Windows PC’s with new, easily upgraded Windows PC’s.

        How does one upgrade an iPhone?  Buy a newer one.  How does one upgrade a PC?  Where do you want to start?  Apple is turning their computer/laptop business model into their iPhone business model.

        Create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates, in case you need to start over!
        "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns
        "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware

      • #2319836
        Will Fastie
        AskWoody_MVP

        I myself cannot imagine buying a pre-built PC with no upgrade options.

        I probably still think that way, too. But most of us buy phones that way and I think the makers depend on us buying all over again every two or three years. Lack of expandability didn’t hurt tablets, either.

        Ignoring that, though, both the Apple Mac and Microsoft Surface model is that expansion takes place via Thunderbolt or some other high-speed external connection. That means the only upfront decision that really matters is storage, both RAM and SDD.

      • #2319839
        Will Fastie
        AskWoody_MVP

        Otherwise were could eventually see Apple with a virtual monopoly on both hardware and software.

        I certainly come from a place that values me controlling my own computing destiny. But the mass market only cares about having a capable, reliable, and reasonably flexible appliance.

        It’s like cars. Manufacturers will do their marketing best to attract you to their models, while the mass market mostly wants something that gets them from point A to point B without putting them in the poorhouse for repairs.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2319844
        Will Fastie
        AskWoody_MVP

        Apple is turning their computer/laptop business model into their iPhone business model.

        I agree, except that if Apple configures the SoC well, that two-year window could (and probably will be) longer.

        There are a few hundred million computer users who don’t want to pay the “Apple Tax”, and will continue to replace their old, outdated Windows PC’s with new, easily upgraded Windows PC’s.

        And I’m saying that Apple Silicon provides the means by which the company can eat into that majority share. It doesn’t have to take it completely over; if it could grab just 10% of that market share it would double the Mac business.

        But if Apple somehow manages to get itself into a leading position because it’s silicon is a market beater, and if it configures the systems in a “future proof” manner, it could do even better.

        • #2319860
          bbearren
          AskWoody MVP

          bbearren wrote: Apple is turning their computer/laptop business model into their iPhone business model.

          I agree, except that if Apple configures the SoC well, that two-year window could (and probably will be) longer.

          Only for those willing to pay the “Apple Tax”, and give up the ability to easily upgrade a Windows PC.

          bbearren wrote: There are a few hundred million computer users who don’t want to pay the “Apple Tax”, and will continue to replace their old, outdated Windows PC’s with new, easily upgraded Windows PC’s.

          And I’m saying that Apple Silicon provides the means by which the company can eat into that majority share. It doesn’t have to take it completely over; if it could grab just 10% of that market share it would double the Mac business.

          Only for those willing to pay the “Apple Tax”.

           

          Create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates, in case you need to start over!
          "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns
          "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware

      • #2319847
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        How does one upgrade a PC?

        How does one upgrade Microsoft’s Surface tablets/laptops with reparability of 1/10 ?

        • #2319870
          bbearren
          AskWoody MVP

          How does one upgrade Microsoft’s Surface tablets/laptops with reparability of 1/10 ?

          Surface tablets/laptops are not PCs, and have more in common with Apple than with other OEM’s selling Windows PC’s.  The Surface Studio has a 5/10 repareability, still kinda in Apple’s ballpark.

          The only thing I own from Microsoft are retail Windows licenses, which I can move to a new build when I get ready.  My 9-year-old DIY PC (upgraded over the years with SSD’s) still does video rendering and audio rendering fast enough to suit my needs, so I’m in no rush.

          Create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates, in case you need to start over!
          "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns
          "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware

      • #2319850
        Will Fastie
        AskWoody_MVP

        But thoughtful observations clearly made can help us guess how best to make ready for it.

        Here’s another observation, hot off the presses, from Microsoft:

        Universal app support for Macs with M1 is here

         

      • #2319872
        Will Fastie
        AskWoody_MVP

        I’m in no rush

        Nor I.

        This isn’t happening next week; it will take a couple of years. On the other hand, it only took a month for Microsoft to announce the Universal version of its Office 365 suite.

        • #2319895
          bbearren
          AskWoody MVP

          On the other hand, it only took a month for Microsoft to announce the Universal version of its Office 365 suite.

          From your link, “Over the past months, we have redesigned the experiences in our flagship apps for Mac with a focus on simplicity to improve ease of use.”

          As for porting to ARM, my Microsoft Lumia 950 on Windows 10 Version 1709 (OS Build 10.0.15254.603) has been running Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote for several years on an ARM-licensed Qualcomm 808 SoC.

          Create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates, in case you need to start over!
          "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns
          "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware

          1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2319897
        anonymous
        Guest

        Apple’s move to Apple Silicon and the ARM ISA is just great news for that non x86 market that’s really on billions of more devices than the x86 ISA. And x86 is a rather legacy bloated ISA with decades of baggage there from long ago whereas the ARM 32/64 bit ISA is rather less legacy bloated and is a RISC ISA with less instructions and that results in a simpler instruction decoder complexity and is one of the reasons that the A14 Firestorm Cores used on the M1 SOC can have 8 instruction decoders on the core’s front end to get that very high IPC(Instructions Per clock Metric) that’s matches the Power8(RISC ISA) processors decoder width that’s 8 decoders wide as well.

        So Apple’s Big Firestorm performance cores, and even its Icestorm efficiency cores, are rather more powerful but still more efficient than the x86 CISC ISA based processors when in comes to the all important power/performance  metric. And even if the modern x86 based processors are backed up by a more RISC like execution engine that does not diminish the fact that most of the ARM RISC ISA instructions decode into a single micro-op while most of the x86 ISA instructions decode into multiple micro-ops and the extra transistors needed to  implement an x86 ISA decoder take up more die area and use more power relative to a RISC based processor.

        So really the Business end of a CPU core, the execution ports that lead to the logic and math units and other units, is actually where the performance comes from and Apple’s A14 Firestorm core can get 8 instructions decoded per clock and sent on to the scheduler to be set to those execution ports to get the work done. So both Intel’s and AMD’s x86 processors have only 5 and 4 instruction decoders on the front end respectively but also support SMT but that’s still only 5(Intel) and 4(AMD) x86 instructions decoded per clock and that’s done via some rather Larger/Power Hungry instruction decoders as well.

        What Apple does have on its ARM based SOCs that’s not included on the current x86 based SOCs/APUs is Apple’s other specialized processing blocks and that’s the Bionic Series core’s(Apple A11/Later SOC designs) that include the NPU and Tensor Cores for running trained AIs and in addition to that the DSP/Other specialized processor IP and Apple’s in-house GPU cores that are very performant. But Apple gets more power saved via offloading from its ARM CPU cores what can be done many times more efficiently on that specialized processing hardware that’s included on every A series Bionic Core and the M1 SOC used in the Macbooks and Mac Mini is really something to behold in that unified design that’s allowing more performance and even less power used that any CPU only focused design that has at most  been designed to run things on CPU cores and integrated GPU cores but lacks any NPU/Tensor cores and the other specialized processing IP that Smartphones and ARM based tablets have been using for years.

        Apple silicon comes with Apple’s MacOS and the other Apple Tablet/Phone OSs that can run natively on the M1/A14 silicon and Apple’s Rosetta-2 does a fair bit better translating x86 32/64 bit to ARM 64 bit instructions and Apple’s designed the M1 with some extra features in the hardware to make that even more efficient. So with Apple’s M1 silicon one gets the Polished OS/API and software ecosystem that’s all been created vertically integrated under Apple’s roof and SDKs and APIs/Translation layers to assist Application Developers almost single click with getting their x86 apps/applications ported over to native Apple Silicon. And that’s where the real money has been invested by Apple and at a cost that’s very likely more than double what the hardware cost to develop. And those videos of the M1 running x86 Native binaries via that Rosetta-2 translation subsystem are extremely impressive just as much as the M1’s custom Apple silicon is.

        The Windows Hardware/OS and software ecosystem partners are spread out all in different interests with MS developing the OS/APIs and SDKs for Windows but AMD and Intel, and Qualcomm for ARM,  being separate interests with differing OEM clients that have custom software solutions and no one way to tightly coordinate and  integrate top to bottom like Apple can.  So MS is still just beginning to release 64 bit application support for the Windows on ARM market and Apple’s so far ahead with its own OS and the rest under one roof that any of the other ARM Hardware makers will have trouble catching up to what Apple already has in a very polished and mature state relative to the others.

        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2321129
          OscarCP
          AskWoody Plus

          Anonymous #2319897 writes:

          So with Apple’s M1 silicon one gets the Polished OS/API and software ecosystem that’s all been created vertically integrated under Apple’s roof and SDKs and APIs/Translation layers to assist Application Developers almost single click with getting their x86 apps/applications ported over to native Apple Silicon. And that’s where the real money has been invested by Apple and at a cost that’s very likely more than double what the hardware cost to develop. And those videos of the M1 running x86 Native binaries via that Rosetta-2 translation subsystem are extremely impressive just as much as the M1’s custom Apple silicon is.

          That is just one more example of how things have been done at Apple from the start: being both a software and a hardware maker, both things have been developed in-house, with those working in one having the others’ work seriously in mind, and all of them being top-flight software or hardware engineers, or working for such top-flight engineers.

          MS, on the other hand, has for a long time been mostly a software company that develops an OS for installation in the computers that others make. This is because the way MS started was with Bill Gates becoming a partner with IBM for the development of the operating system for IBM computers and, by natural extension, for all of the independent makers of the IBM clones that for nearly a decade dominated the personal computers’ market.

          Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS Mojave + Linux (Mint)

      • #2321096
        Susan Bradley
        Manager

        Very cool article, thank you!

        Susan Bradley Patch Lady

      • #2321554
        radosuaf
        AskWoody Lounger

        I myself cannot imagine buying a pre-built PC with no upgrade options.

        I probably still think that way, too. But most of us buy phones that way and I think the makers depend on us buying all over again every two or three years. Lack of expandability didn’t hurt tablets, either.

        Ignoring that, though, both the Apple Mac and Microsoft Surface model is that expansion takes place via Thunderbolt or some other high-speed external connection. That means the only upfront decision that really matters is storage, both RAM and SDD.

        I personally treat phones, tablets & etc. as “toys” still. OK for basic task, not for serious job. Hence completely different requirements. I look more at the quality of in-built camera and dimensions of the phone than at its raw processing power etc.

        MSI H110 PC MATE * Intel Core i7-6700 * 2 x 8 GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 2133 MHz * Aorus Radeon RX 570 4GB * Samsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD * SanDisk Ultra 3D 1TB SSD * Western Digital Blue 1TB HDD * DVD RW Lite-ON iHAS 124 * Creative X-Fi XtremeGamer PCI * Windows 10 Pro 20H2 64-bit
      • #2321559
        Will Fastie
        AskWoody_MVP

        I personally treat phones, tablets & etc. as “toys” still. OK for basic task, not for serious job.

        But that’s a moving target. Today my wife does 95% of her computer-related tasks on her phone. Five years ago it was perhaps 30%. Five years before that, 0%. 95% might be the limit, as she does some photographic work and likes the larger form factor of her laptop for such work, as well as intensive online research (i.e., shopping).

        The “serious jobs” could be done on small devices, but not productively.

      • #2341502
        anonymous
        Guest

        I remember when Apple used Power PC chips, the move to Intel was purely on the fact Power PC chips were not advancing fast enough for Apple. Now we see a similar move to Apple silicon because will lead you to believe Intel is having the same issues as the Power PC chips back then. But in reality, I think the move to Apple silicon is more about control for Apple. making the Mac more inclusive and closed off. Having more control has always been Apple’s obsession. This is great if your all in with Apple’s ecosystem or a loyal third party developer. But questions remain if this will help Mac’s or hurt Mac sales if users discover that some things may not support or even work with Apple silicon Mac’s. Intel really can’t be too concerned because Mac’s did not have that much market share anyway. Both Intel and AMD have managed to retain a very big Windows base which isn’t going away. I see many limitations to what Apple is doing just as much as some see the benefits. It’s not all positives moving to a rather closed off hardware system.

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