What it is: ARM released a new processor that’s faster than any other ARM-based processor except for Apple’s A-series.
ARM makes processors for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Intel tried shoe horning their processors into the mobile market but their processors required too much power and weren’t powerful enough. ARM’s latest design, called the Cortex A76, will be the fastest ARM processor except for Apple’s A-series processors.
ARM is touting their latest design as offering better power efficiency and near desktop power performance. That means Apple’s A-series processors are already ahead of ARM’s latest designs and only getting more power efficient and more powerful. Essentially, the future of computing has shifted from Intel processors to ARM processors as the computing market shifts from desktop PCs to mobile devices.
The iPhone put a computer in your pocket. Now more people rely on smartphones than desktop or laptop computers to do common tasks like search the Internet or send email. The mobile computing market is the future just like PCs were once the future in the era of mainframe and minicomputers.
With ARM processors (and Apple’s A-series processors in particular) offering more power that rivals Intel chips, it’s only a matter of time before ARM processors will be both more energy efficient and more powerful than Intel processors. When that happens, the shift from desktop PCs to mobile computing will finally be complete.
If you think this can’t happen, remember that mainframe and minicomputer users once derided PCs as toys that could never rival their computer’s power. Then PCs got more powerful and exceeded the power of those ancient mainframe and minicomputers to the point where few companies rely on mainframe and minicomputers any more in favor of cheaper and more powerful PCs. That’s the fate that awaits PC processors.
Apple offers the fastest mobile processors in the world and reserves them solely for the iPhone and iPad. In comparison, other companies like Qualcomm must create general purpose ARM processors that aren’t as powerful or energy efficient as Apple’s processors, and the gap is only widening. From a user’s point of view, the processing power difference is still negligible, but eventually, that power difference will become obvious. If that happens, then there will be little reason to settle for a slower Android device unless price is your only concern.
The fact that Apple managed to create the best ARM processors in the world hints that Apple could also use their ARM processors for future Macintosh models. If the world shifts from Intel processors to ARM processors, an ARM-based Macintosh will be the future in the same way that Microsoft is trying to sell Windows on ARM processors for longer battery life on laptops.
The future is mobile and the future is ARM processors. The days of Intel processors are numbered.