Apple switch to use ARM cpus, good or bad for Cubase?

Yup i think MacOS will go closed like IOS. Because that means that Apple can shaft every Mac owner for more iCloud subs as your primary ‘sharable’ storage. their cards have been on the table for a long long time now. Hope i’m wrong, but it also wouldn’t surprise me if they will also do their damnest to lock google cloud services out for those that dare want to be crossplatform.

This is why i can see Linux rising significantly in the coming years.

That’s definitely the way the wind is blowing. The end game is: apps only come from Apple, supplemented with some trivial curated utility apps from the app store. The switch to ARM will cull some 3rd party apps. Sandboxing and security requirements will cull some more. The race to the bottom for app prices as the distinction between MacOS and IOS is blurred will drive even more developers away.

Apple has been openly hostile to pro users for some time now and this is the next step in cutting that segment of the market loose. I believe they’ve made a strategic decision that they want to serve the 90% of users who aren’t very demanding. The other 10% can go elsewhere. That’s a reversal of the Jobs era where pro users were courted since they were seen as influencers. Now pro users are seen as annoyance.

So where do you put Cubase in this? Does it it belongs to the pro or the other, should we go elsewhere?


No one except Apple knows yet how well their chips scale for desktop use right now (I think it’s reasonable to expect: quite well), but for laptops this will be an unequivocal win. The transition period has its own difficulty, but it’s absolutely worth it long term, just like the switch from PPC was.

Intel has not managed to substantially improve their performance per watt and now they’re being flanked by both Apple and AMD. Intel really dropped the ball while having a near-monopoly for a while. Apparently they thought their win was so complete they could just half-ass their way into the future with some minor updates. Really can’t blame Apple for ditching Intel after the PR embarassments caused by Intel’s thermals for them.

And just overall I’m extremely happy to see we’re back to a more healthy market situation after Intel dominating for so many years (as a sidenote, I’m quite happy to have an AMD CPU again, finally, because it’s the best for me, not just because I want to encourage competition!)

That’s not the question being asked here though, it’s what Apple uses as their focus for evaluating a successful chip/performance development with their OS that matters to us Audio peeps.

Yes, for 90% of users the move to ARM could be superb, low power, efficient. The Apple apps will be optimsed for the hardware as usual.

But for Audio users, we could see some very poor performance vs intels established architecture. Add third party DAWs like Cubase into that environment, and who knows what to expect, and even if we ‘matter’ enough for Apple anymore to be a prime considering for their hardware/os combos.

For example, There’s instruction sets such as AVX that a few plugins require now, i’m guessing ARM is going to support these off the bat? Or will that run through an emulation layer? That’s just one example outside of performance to consider.

On the flipside of all this, Apple could be taking computing down a far more streamlined and efficient route which will yield far greater results than us relying on Intel to keep squeezing and bolting more and more out of their existing architectures. And as a result, Audio users will benefit greatly.

It is depending on if it compiler generated instructions or handwritten assembly code. But it is a lot harder for a Risc CPU to do it than a compiler generated optimization.

The whole design of ARM means that you don’t have a ton of specific instruction sets, so I really don’t understand this question. Of course you won’t have any implementation of AVX there in any shape or form. The amount of performance estimation about an eventual ARM Cubase you can draw from this is exactly zero.

If you’re referring to the fact that Rosetta 2 doesn’t support AVX, well, I sure hope no one is going to run any DAWs through that!

My point is how viable it will be to port across existing applications and plugins, or how well existing software we run on Rosetta 2. And yes, people will be try to run a DAW across that, you can guarantee it.

For those apps currently utllising AVX there will need to be equivalents in software to emulate or translate them to run on ARM CPUs during the short/mid-term. This is why i presume the support will be there off the bat with an ARM equipped Mac.

I guess it’s either going to fall on third party devs, Apple themselves, or creators of frameworks to put this into place. But that’s only a small example of other factors that may affect audio users.

I pulled AVX from the air as an example because it excluded some older Mac Pro users from using new plugins such as Massive X etc. Which was significant.

Vote for Cubase for Linux! :sunglasses:
Linux already runs on ARM too, as well as on almost every other CPU out there.

Change in CPU brings uncertainty

… unless you’re on Linux.

linux offers a cheaper, robust alternative

Exactly.

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Apple still has to consider Logic and Final Cut Pro.
Certainly some cross pollination there.
They can’t dismiss the pros. Especially considering FCP.

Why was this thread moved to HW? This is VERY VERY relevant for Cubase software.

Apple have already demonstrated FCP running with the Neural Engine on ARM CPUs, and the default MacOS apps all running natively (Including Logic).

But they’ve had a headstart, of course.

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@ skijumptoes,

Good point. But it does give me hope. Especially considering Logic probably still has remnant code left over from Emagic.
Fingers Crossed.
Or maybe I’ll be nursing this 2014 Macbook Pro until the last bolt falls off.
I’m getting pretty tired of Apple’s hyperbolic os “upgrades” over the past 6 or 7 years.

I agree +1

I agree too to the many people before me here. We all experienced the pain Rosetta 1 was.
For example my current project is supporting a Mackie C4. The C4 had a software called Commander Software, with which you could design and layout your encoders from the C4. This software for Mac was Rosetta software, that after Snow Leopard does not work anymore. This is a huge loss for every C4 owner with a Mac. I will not blame Apple alone for it, because Apple announced this more than a year before it happened, so there was enough time for developers to create a Intel version and it was a easy process with the provided tools that Apple offered at the time.
BUT there where countless programs that did not maked it into that process, especially on the music front.

And i think this will happen again with ARM and to answer the initial question, it will not be bad for Cubase in general, but for sure bad on the long run.
As there will be 3rd party stuff, that will not work anymore and probably/mostly never will again. And what is a DAW worth, if it loses many plugins that have worked before? I think the answer can everybody find on their own.

They said in the Keynote that Logic was up and ready for ARM. We’ll just have to see how it performs.

This is incredibly promising:-
https://www.macrumors.com/2020/11/11/m1-macbook-air-first-benchmark/?fbclid=IwAR39kOJ0huz4UJorGf9rMPAPtZrFswR_RFgggRVcLF_5sTwBQ95M_FIk_tM

I’m an amateur musician but a professional software developer. I’m not worried at all about about M1, I’m worried about Intel. Once Cubase and WaveLab get a taste of this hyper-efficient silicon, the Intel versions will not be able to keep up. Steinberg will be faced with a markedly better performer that they just cannot match on their Intel offerings.

The first cut will just be a recompiled version. But once they have that in the bag there is no way the engineering team doesn’t start taking advantage of the more efficient hardware. The M1 version will support more tracks, more instruments, more filters, etc., not to mention what ever cool new things they can figure out to do with machine learning cores. Intel’s blackholes of processing overhead will be embarrassing.

There will be awkward times ahead for Steinberg marketing team when their engineering team finally convinces them of this fact, and they will, they had better. LogicPro and the others are not going to wait.

Yamaha/Steinberg please do not hold the M1 implementation back for fear of offending the Intel crowd. You need to jump in now before Apple starts shipping big machines next year. Don’t offend us with a Rosetta version, use the native M1 instruction set.

MacBook Air (with no fan) is just what I need in a small recording studio. My big XEON based furnace has to be in the other room just so you don’t hear the jet engine cooling fans in the background.

Also, Yamaha/Steinberg, please do not wait any longer on Thunderbolt/USB4. We need affordable high channel count interfaces.

Have had mine M1 Air for some time now. It is a good as laptop. But it does not match stationary. For sure apple has silicons that have other objectives in the pipe. A good video about the new macs is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thaon3b6yEs. M1 has some really good benchmarks result. Maybe little too good to be true. Some parts are using hardware accelerators that are not available on compared devices. Im less worried now than before I got one. Apple has a good chance to at least compete with AMD’s threadrippers. But it seems to be problematic with drivers. To get RME drivers to work you need to use a security flaw in Big Sur recovery mode. With that you can get the thunderbolt audio cards to work. Unfortunately it is also needed for the USB drivers. So it will be a much more limited options for audio solutions in mac world.