The ARM Mac Pro: Small, Light, Cheap, Plausible?
What is a computer? The dual-core 1.2GHz A6 processor in a $649 iPhone 5 is more powerful than the 1.67GHz G4 in the 2005 PowerBook, which sold for $2,500. So, why not build an ARM Mac Pro? At least one Apple fan is asking just that.
Peter Zigich is a name familiar to Fairer Platform readers — he’s the design mind behind the modular, stackable ultimate Mac Pro featured here in October 2012. He’s now back with a fresh take on the concept and it’s all about Apple’s powerful A series mobile processors
“Some of you have seen my Modular Mac Pro design Concept post,” writes Zigich. “Now, let’s take a look how power-efficient CPU’s will change design of a MacPro.”
Whereas Apple’s ARM-based “A” series processor are small, cheap, highly efficient and powerful, especially if Apple packed a bunch of them (image below) into, for example, a modular Mac Pro chassis. It’s an intriguing concept and one that is, at least in the abstract, a plausible option for Apple.
The ARM Mac: This Is a Computer
Nevertheless, moving to an ARM-based desktop architecture would require Apple to rewrite huge swathes OS X and third-party devs would have to go through similar conniptions — so, it’s probably not going to happen any time soon. Yes, Apple has done it before (i.e. 68K > PPC, Mac OS > OS X, PPC > Intel x86), but I don’t think we have reached the point of necessity and perhaps never will.
Still, who wouldn’t like a radically smaller, more efficient and greener workstation? Perhaps we’ll all be working on ARM Macs someday…
What’s your take?