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Apple’s ARM Mac roadmap leak teases supercharged iPhone chips

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Apple’s ARM-based Macs are coming in 2021, a new report claims, with the company intending to use a version of its homegrown iPhone and iPad processors to squeeze out Intel. The shift could be the biggest upheaval to Mac since the company migrated away from PowerPC to Intel x86 in 2006, though the ongoing coronavirus pandemic could force some massaging of the roadmap.

Rumors of an ARM-based Mac have circulated for several years, in tandem with Apple’s efforts designing its own SoCs for iOS devices. The company brought iPhone and iPad chip design in-house and promptly made it a cornerstone of iOS’ competitive advantage, with Apple engineers able to tightly balance hardware and software.

The strategy also paid off in terms of controlling the supply chain. Apple undoubtedly would not have been able to produce the new iPhone SE, for example – a $399 handset that uses the same flagship processor as its most expensive current iPhone – had it been forced to source the SoC from a third-party supplier. That leverage has long been expected to transition over to the company’s laptops and desktops.

Now, more details in that roadmap are emerging. Although there had been some reports that the first ARM-based Mac could arrive this year, the debut model is now not expected to launch until 2021, Bloomberg‘s sources suggest. It’ll use one of at least three SoCs that Apple is apparently working on, based on the same Apple A14 chipset that is earmarked for the next iPhone.

The trio of chips fall under the internal codename of Kalamata, people familiar with Apple’s plans say. They’ll be built by TSMC, which Apple also uses for its iPhone and iPad SoCs, and based on 5nm production lines. Apple, Intel, and TSMC declined to comment on Bloomberg’s report.

Although similar in many ways, the change in form-factor from smartphone and tablet to something larger would allow for significant differentiation in Kalamata chips to the processors we’ve seen to-date. They’ll be much faster, for a start, the sources suggest; that’s probably in part down to Apple being able to install bigger batteries and more cooling, two factors which can limit how much a smartphone chip can be pushed.

Like in its phone chips, Apple is apparently using a combination of performance and efficiency cores. The SoC will be able to switch between them, using the more potent “Firestorm” cores for maximum processing grunt, and the more frugal “Icestorm” cores for prolonging battery life. The first chips could use eight Firestorm and at least four Icestorm cores, it’s claimed.

Even so, the performance is not expected to match the high-end Intel CPUs that Apple currently uses in its flagship MacBook Pro, iMac, and Mac Pro models, at least for the moment. What seems more likely is a return of something akin to the 12-inch MacBook, the discontinued fanless ultraportable that Apple offered in several generations between 2015 and 2019. That would position portability and efficiency as the primary appeal, rather than outright performance.

It’s a strategy we’ve seen others attempt, with mixed success. Qualcomm, for example – which is expected to provide the 5G modems that Apple will use for its upcoming 2020 flagship iPhone 12 announcement – now offers a number of SoCs for laptops, based on the same technology as its phone chips but intended for Windows 10 instead. They have the benefit of 20+ hours of battery life, along with always-on connectivity through an integrated cellular modem. The latter is something many Apple fans have long requested from the Cupertino firm’s notebooks, and which would presumably be easier to implement with an Ax-based ARM SoC.

On the software side, meanwhile, Apple has already set the wheels in motion. In parallel with Kalamata, work on which apparently began several years ago, Apple’s software engineers have been developing macOS tools that will allow iOS and iPadOS apps to run on Macs. Known as Catalyst, it’s been widely interpreted as a further push to bright what’s traditionally been siloed mobile and computing software closer together.

Any broad transition will undoubtedly take time, however, and it’s not the immediate end of Intel in Apple machines. The insiders caution that the roadmap could alter again, too, since the teams responsible have been disrupted by work-from-home orders during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nonetheless, when the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro get unveiled later this year, they’ll give us a glimmer of insight into the sort of technologies we could soon be experiencing in a new Mac come 2021.

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The First Tesla Semi Has Been Delivered After Lengthy Delays

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There had long been suggestion Pepsi would be one of Tesla’s biggest customers — with a subsidiary spotted installing charging stations at one of its plants and test driving the trucks earlier this year. Tesla also placed an order for 100 of the high tech trucks shortly after they were announced in 2017. In October, Musk confirmed the company’s first truck was almost ready for delivery, and it would be going to the soft drink manufacturer.

Today, Tesla finally made it official and delivered its first production semis to Pepsi. Speaking at the handover, which took place at a Tesla Gigafactory in Nevada, Musk described his motivation for designing the truck. The Tesla CEO claims that trucks make up less than 1% of vehicles in the United States, but are responsible for a large chunk of emissions. Musk said it will both help the environment and improve the health of individuals living near highways. At the end of the presentation, Musk thanked Pepsico and described them as a “great partner.” 

The trucks’ keycards were then handed over to Pepsi’s representatives, followed by several high fives. The trucks’ first cargo run involved “an enormous amount of Frito Lays” which were handed out to people in attendance. Pepsi’s Kirk Tanner then took the mic and said: “I want to thank the people who have spent countless hours to make this a reality.” before thanking Elon Musk and the other Tesla representatives. Other companies are also interested in Tesla’s electric semi. Budweiser, Walmart, and UPS are amongst those who have placed pre-orders — with Budweiser ordering at least 40 of the large electric vehicles.

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Kanye West Is No Longer Buying Twitter-Rival Parler

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It’s unclear whether West’s recent controversies have anything to do with the Parler deal falling apart. In a statement shared with CNBC, Parler’s owner notes that the “decision was made in the interest of both parties in mid-November.” Parler says it will be on the lookout for the growth opportunities, without clarifying if it was looking for investors to scale up, or full-fledged buyers. The latter seems unlikely to happen, given the current state of layoffs in the tech industry and the looming fears of a recession.

Parlement Technologies reportedly had high hopes from its acquisition deal with Kanye West. Soon after the agreement press release went out, Parler sent out an email to its “VIP” users, offering them perks like a gold badge for being valuable personalities on the platform. Politico reports that the email campaign inadvertently revealed the personal contact information of nearly a dozen lawmakers and some well-known conservative personalities.

Citing an insider source, Axios reports that West’s unstable financial situation following the cancellation of lucrative deals with the likes of Adidas played a role in his Parler plans falling apart. In the meanwhile, West has returned to Twitter, after his account was restricted for a few weeks ago over sharing anti-Semitic remarks. West currently has a huge follower base of over 18 million on Twitter, which dwarfs the total number of users on Parler, as of December 2021.

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Elon Musk Says Twitter’s Potential Removal From iOS App Store Was ‘Misunderstanding’

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Barely two days after Elon Musk feuded with Apple publicly, he met with Tim Cook to settle the differences. “We resolved the misunderstanding about Twitter potentially being removed from the App Store. Tim was clear that Apple never considered doing so,” Elon Musk tweeted last evening. This was a few hours after he shared a video of Apple’s HQ to disclose the location of the meeting.

However, Elon Musk didn’t reveal if Apple will continue advertising on Twitter. According to the Washington Post, Apple was the biggest ad spender on Twitter in Q1 2022. It spent an average of $4 million per week to run ads on Twitter between January to March this year — this added up to about 4% of Twitter’s revenue. However, Reuters reports that Apple reduced its weekly ad budget on Twitter to $131,600 a few weeks after Elon Musk bought the social media company. We also haven’t heard from Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, about the agenda of his meeting with Elon Musk. 

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