Ap­ple re­leases source ker­nels

You can now take a (lim­ited) peek in­side iOS

Mac Format - - APPLE CORE -

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.

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