Apple releases source kernels
You can now take a (limited) peek inside iOS
Apple is well known for its habit of secrecy, but in an unusual move the company has made some of its macOS and iOS source kernels available to
the public. This is the first time source kernels have been made public for iOS, underscoring the unusual nature of the release.
Of course, sensitive proprietary elements such as apps and frameworks have not been included, but anyone interested can still poke around in some of the operating systems’ architecture.
In a further twist, the kernels are ARM-compatible, sparking rumours that Apple may be looking to move away from Intel-based processors in its Macs and towards ARM chips.
However, the ARM compatibility doesn’t necessarily mean a change is imminent or even planned. Apple already uses an ARM-based chip (the T1) in the MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar, and the company has made its code compatible with alternative architectures in the past – it’s what made the transition to Intel processors in 2006 so smooth in the first place.
But with Apple taking on more chip design itself – such as the GPU in the iPhone X and iPhone 8 – time will tell if we’ll see a shift to ARM-based Macs in the future.
The iPhone X features an entirely Apple-designed GPU chip.