Will Apple, as rumored, shift the MacBook line over to an ARM processor this year, starting with the MacBook Air? If you answered yes to that question, one analyst has some compelling reasons why you might just be huffing fumes.
Why? Well, for one thing, ARM’s not likely to match x86 performance for years to come: it’s not even 64-bit yet. Even when ARM does match x86 performance, there’s no reason to be sure it’ll boast better power efficiency than Intel’s chips. Then there’s the requirement to emulate x86 on ARM, at least initially, to maintain compatibility with software… a move Apple’s unlikely to want to make in the near future, given the years of divided attention they had to give to Power PC and Intel.
We already touched on these issues when we previously reported the rumors, but here’s one we hadn’t thought of: Thunderbolt. Apple and Intel got into bed together big time for Thunderbolt, and it’s not going to work on ARM for the foreseeable future.
So file the ARM-based Macbook rumors into the trash bin where they belong. We’re years away from seeing Apple computers running on ARM… if we ever do.