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Don't be duped by performance, Apple's M1 silicon is all about platform control – Android Authority

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Close up Apple logo on iPhoneClose up Apple logo on iPhone

With the dust settling on Apple’s first Arm-based Macs and new M1 chip announcements, it’s time to take stock of what this means for one of the industry’s biggest computing ecosystems. The transition to Arm CPUs is a major shift that will be felt across the industry in the coming years. The energy efficiency benefits for consumers are obviously great, but the change is likely to be a headache for software developers who need to go back and rebuild their apps.

While Apple looks to have produced some very powerful silicon based on initial reviews and testing from the tech-sphere, the need for emulation means we should take its performance claims with a pinch of salt. After all, software emulation takes a toll on both performance and power consumption. We’ll be putting the chip and one of Apple’s new laptops through their paces very soon to find out for sure.

However, what we can say is that this transition is already proving to be a pretext for greater ecosystem control.

Read more: What’s the difference between Arm and x86 CPUs?

Increasing dependency on the App Store

Switching the CPU architecture that powers your app ecosystem is no small feat. To assist developers with the changeover, Apple launched a new Xcode 12 developer toolset. To quote Apple, Xcode produces one binary “slice” for Apple Silicon and one for Intel. It then wraps them together as a single app bundle to share or submit to the Mac App Store.

That’s pretty handy, as it means you can just hit install in the store without having to worry about downloading the right version. However, there’s a clear nudge for developers to publish their recompiled apps to Apple’s store. Especially for older apps that may not have contemplated store deployment several years ago. Microsoft has a similar solution using Visual Studio to produce Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps for the Microsoft Store.

Everyone likes a good app store for simplicity’s sake. However, developers have to abide by more rules if they choose to publish on storefronts. Disagreements over T&Cs gave rise to the lawsuit between Apple and Epic games earlier in 2020. We shouldn’t forget that Apple also takes 30% of all sales on both mobile and Mac storefronts. Microsoft Office’s launch on the Mac App Store was delayed while the two companies figured out app bundling and subscription issues. Historically, Apple’s tight control over its store ecosystems works against the interests of app developers and users.

Apple takes 30% from both mobile and Mac app store sales.

That said, Arm versions of Adobe Photoshop and Blizzard’s World of Warcraft are still installed through their respective launchers. Big companies can certainly exist outside the store. Apple isn’t forcing developers to break with self-hosted app installs. At least not yet. However, the lure of store exposure may temp smaller developers to play by Apple’s rules.

In addition, Apple is looking to increase cross-compatibility between its MacOS and the far more closed off iOS ecosystems. Arm-based iOS applications already run natively on M1-powered Macs. The future goal is surely apps running seamlessly on both platforms. However, there’s no .dmg or .pkg for iOS, only the App Store, and Apple isn’t friendly to jailbreaking. Cross-platform devs targeting iOS and Mac OS will have no choice but to sign Apple’s T&Cs and pay the 30% tax.

Goodbye Boot Camp and Hackintosh

Windows on Arm laptopsWindows on Arm laptops

Apple’s latest hardware announcement also has implications for two niche use cases of its laptop platform Boot Camp and Hackintosh. Both are unlikely to continue working as Apple transitions away from x86.

Apple has confirmed that Boot Camp support isn’t coming to Arm-based Macs. Microsoft only licenses the Arm version of Windows 10 to PC manufacturers. Therefore there’s little prospect of running native Arm Windows on Apple hardware. Instead, those looking to work with both operating systems on a single device will be limited to virtualization. However, it appears that popular virtualization software won’t work with Apple’s Rosetta 2 emulation, so it will have to be completely rebuilt.

Apple has confirmed that Boot Camp support isn’t coming to Arm-based Macs.

The transition has similar implications for users looking to run Mac OS on non-Apple hardware. Mac OS continues to support x86 for now, so Hackintosh builders are safe in the medium-term. But the far-out picture points towards Arm-only support before the turn of the decade. Securing compatible hardware is set to become much more difficult if/when Apple phases out Intel support. Of course, we may have many more Arm-based PC platforms by then. However, off-the-shelf part support will depend on how deeply the company eventually integrates critical Mac OS functionality with its bespoke hardware.

Moving to Arm certainly wasn’t designed to kill off Boot Camp and Hackintosh. It’s merely a side effect that also happens to further limit consumer options for interacting with Apple’s ecosystem.

Cutting ties with Intel means killing apps

Intel 10th Gen Ice LakeIntel 10th Gen Ice Lake

Apple’s desire to end its dependency on Intel is no secret. Rumors suggest the company hasn’t been happy with Intel’s chip progress for years, and Apple is footing the cost. It makes economic sense for the Cupertino company to leverage its mobile silicon team for laptops. But moving away from x86 relies on emulating old applications built for that architecture. Apple’s solution is Rosetta 2. However, it’s highly unlikely that the company intends to keep emulation around for very long. Rather, it’s a tool to ease the transition period away from Intel and onto its own silicon.

Some sort of deadline, even a non-official one, encourages developers to actually compile native Arm apps rather than relying on emulation for years. However, older applications at the end of support roadmaps may never be recompiled. Likewise, Rosetta also can’t interpret a number of Intel CPU extensions, meaning that some high-performance apps may not even work on Arm Macs.

Using in-house processors, rather than Intel, will boost Apple’s bottom line.

Either way, the clock is ticking for x86 applications on Mac OS. Apple has form for killing off emulators in just a few years. The original Rosetta, released with OS X Tiger for PowerPC emulation during the switch to Intel, was discontinued by OS X Lion. Apple considered the transition complete after just three OS generations, although emulation support ended up spanning six years.

At some point in the not too distant future, old x86 applications will cease to run on Macs too. This will be a headache for developers in the medium term. Yet, Apple stands to gain with both a firmer grip on hardware and software, as well as a healthier bottom line from in-house chip sales.

Are there any benefits to platform control?

16 inch MacBook Pro top cover apple logo16 inch MacBook Pro top cover apple logo

Apple gave up on PowerPC in 2006 due to a combination of lower clock speeds, sluggish innovation, and the expense of IBM’s processors. Today, similar pricing and innovation issues have reared their head with Intel. Although for consumers, the improved performance per watt from moving to Arm is the key benefit.

However, that marginal improvement hardly seems worth upsetting the entire Mac OS developer and consumer software ecosystem. Intel Macbooks have decent battery life and great performance after all. It’s also odd that the company didn’t seem to consider the increasingly potent chip portfolio over at AMD.

The move to Arm silicon is as much about platform control as it is about driving innovation.

What Cupertino really wants more control. First over the development roadmap and inner working of its silicon. With in-house processors, Apple can drive integrated imaging, machine learning, and security features in the direction it wants. Deeper hardware and software integration seems inevitable. At the same time, switching to the Arm architecture gives Apple greater leverage in the software space. Tighter integration with its security APIs, app verification, biometrics, credit cards and payment info are all possible with new silicon and software APIs. As a result, developers are not so gently nudged into its app store to ensure product compatibility and make use of cross-platform support with iOS.

We’re still some years away from the complete transition to Arm. However, Apple’s end-game is a tightly controlled, unified hardware and software ecosystem across wearables, mobile, and PC. Whether this is in the best interest of consumers remains to be seen.

Up next: Does Google have a reply for Apple’s all-in-one ecosystem?

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Tips on how to find the Playstation 5 and XBox Series X, the hottest items this Christmas – CTV News Ottawa

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OTTAWA —
One of the hottest items on many Christmas wish lists this holiday season is the Playstation 5 and Microsoft Xbox Series X consoles.

With so many people at home looking for something to do during the COVID-19 pandemic, demand is high for the latest generation gaming consolesGetting your hands on one seems to be a game all on its own.

Salim Saikley is one of the lucky few able to purchase a new console this holiday season.

“It really feels like you’re part of an elite club,” said Saikley.

After weeks of trying to buy a Sony PS5 gaming console, he finally found one at an online store, “I was able to pick one up as of 6:30 a.m.” He ‘picked it’ online, and hopes to have it delivered next week.

The new PS5’s are reselling on sites like Kijiji for nearly double the retail price. Saikley does not think that is something he would have done.

“Really hard to justify a gaming console for over a thousand dollars,” said Saikley.

Even though he doesn’t consider himself a ‘gamer‘, he’s looking for something else to do at home during the pandemic.

“COVID for sure is a massive factor; another thing to do in the home besides projects and cooking, building projects – we’re a little tired of that,” said Saikley.

At retailers like The Source, which is owned by CTV News Ottawa’s parent company Bell, the pandemic is helping to drive sales.

Gaming gives us a really good opportunity to play interactively; to play with other families, and to make sure that we’re keeping that social connection alive,” says Andaleeb Dobson, vice-president of Merchandising and Supply Chain at The Source. Gaming is through the roof, it’s been seven years since we’ve had new XBox or Playstation consoles.”

The hottest game consoles have been on the market for about a monthDobson says launch day was very busy on their website, “We sold lots of consoles in less than half an hour.”

Best Buy Canada says pre-orders sold out quickly, and a company spokesperson told CTV News Ottawa, “We expect that demand to last well into the new year as inventory becomes available.”

Hamse Deira managed to buy three on pre-order months ago.

“Honestly, it’s amazing,” said Deira, who sold one and surprised his older brother with the other new console“He was still sleeping, so I put it on his on his bed, and I just tapped him and he woke up and was freaking out; he almost knocked it off the bed!”

How to get one now?

Ray runs the website and twitter feed GameDealsCanada.com.

CTV News Ottawa asked Ray for tips to find the Playstation 5 and Microsoft Xbox Series X consoles this holiday season.

“Turning on notifications for Twitter helps get the latest alerts for surprise drops, but for scheduled ones like the ones Walmart and EB Games just did, it takes speed and a lot of luck,” said Ray in a Twitter message to CTV News Ottawa.

He says you’ll need that luck and suggests you follow all of the retailers’ social media accountsRetailers often post when they will be releasing more consoles.

He offers other tips on his website too, including creating an account at the online store ahead of time and making sure it works. Ensure your billing address and shipping address are correct, and add a valid credit card number ahead of time.

Ray also suggests trying stores’ online app; while many are trying to log onto the website, you may have luck with your phone.

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15th Give a Little Life Day raises over $590000 for new NICU – paNOW

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(Victoria Hospital Foundation)

By Jeff D’Andrea

Generous Donations

Dec 4, 2020 6:37 PM

It had a different, virtual, and socially distanced feel to it, but the 15th Annual Give A Little Life Day Radiothon still raised one of its best totals ever.

A grand total of $592,563 was raised to furnish and equip the new neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for babies born early or are born with health problems.

“There’s no way we could do any of this without the support of our community, so thank you,” said Sherry Buckler, CEO of the Victoria Hospital Foundation (VHF).

All the donations will go directly to the new NICU, which provides much-needed upgrades with the biggest one being a lot more space.

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Outbreak declared at London shawarma restaurant – BlackburnNews.com

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Outbreak declared at London shawarma restaurant

Photo of the Middlesex-London Health Unit from healthunit.com


The local health unit has declared an outbreak at a London shawarma restaurant after six employees tested positive for COVID-19.

The Middlesex-London Health Unit announced on Friday that the outbreak had been declared at The Shish Shawarma & Grill restaurant located at 1401 Ernest Ave.

The first case was brought to the health unit’s attention on Tuesday, and the health unit made the decision to close the business after another two cases emerged on Wednesday. The next three cases were reported to the health unit on Thursday.

At this time, the health unit said there was a low-risk to customers who visited the restaurant, however, health officials are still investigating whether or not the staff members were infectious.

“Any interactions between restaurant employees and patrons would have been brief and staff who interacted with customers were wearing masks, which would have reduced the possibility for COVID-19 transmission,” said Dr. Alex Summers, the associate medical officer of health with the health unit, in a news release. “We will continue our investigation and work with these six people directly, determine who their close contacts are and provide the support they need to help navigate this situation.”

Anyone who attended the restaurant between November 22 to December 2 is asked to monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19.

The health unit reported 25 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday. Since the start of the pandemic, the region has recorded a total of 1,759 COVID-19 cases and 75 deaths.

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