Apple's 'Macroscalar' Trademark Application Sparks Speculation on Processor Architecture Advances

Patently Apple reports that Apple last week filed a curious new trademark application for the term "macroscalar". The company has typically quietly registered trademarks in countries such as Trinidad & Tobago, only to later apply for the marks in the United States and other major markets once the new products and features have been announced. While an application for "macroscalar" was indeed filed in Trinidad & Tobago last August, the new U.S. application and a similar one in Hong Kong are sparking speculation that Apple may have jumped the gun in announcing some new processor technology.

Apple's "Macroscalar" isn't just a new marketing line; it's a processor architecture that's been in the works at Apple since 2004. In fact, Apple owns at least four granted patents on the technology that has yet to come to light. We first covered it in 2009 and briefly twice last year.

macroscalar trademark application
ZDNet published more on Apple's macroscalar architecture last July following one of those patent disclosures, including an explanation of how the technique could be used to improve processor efficiencies by optimizing data-dependent loops.

The macroscalar processor addresses this problem in a new way: at compile-time it generates contingent secondary instructions so when a data-dependent loop completes the next set of instructions are ready to execute. In effect, it loads another pipeline for, say, completing a loop, so the pipeline remains full whether the loop continues or completes. It can also load a set of sequential instructions that run within or between loops, speeding execution as well.

From a user perspective, the technology could support faster performance and lower power consumption, something Apple would definitely be interested in pursing for its mobile devices.

Since Apple provides its own compilers as well as designing CPUs, it is uniquely positioned to offer a complete macroscalar solution to its large band of iOS developers, further widening the price/performance gap between it and the iPad wannabes.

Is it a breakthrough? It could be if the efficiencies it promises can be realized in practice. We’ll have to see just how good Apple’s compiler engineers are.

While no specifics on Apple's plans have been revealed, the public application for a trademark on the "macroscalar" term is a curious development for the company given that most of its trademarks relate to product and feature names and other promotional descriptions. As a result, speculation suggests that Apple could be preparing to make a significant announcement that will prominently feature the "Macroscalar" term in a similar way to how the company uses "Retina" to describe its high-resolution iPhone and iPod touch displays.

Top Rated Comments

d4rkc4sm Avatar
115 months ago

Apple don't design CPU's, they design SoC's


ipod socks?
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AidenShaw Avatar
115 months ago

Sounds like a prelude to some very, very big things - another shift. This is pretty exciting.


Wow. Just wow.

How excited do you get when something of substance is the thread topic?

This excited over an adjective?
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dasmb Avatar
115 months ago

ANOTHER processor change? If I have to go through this all over again a forth time I will stop programming and become a barista! :confused:


If you, as a programmer, still give two craps what chip your code is running on -- well, you suck. That would also explain why barista is an acceptable move, salary wise.

Abstract, brother, abstract. Use blocks, adapter objects, build lightweight APIs around your process intensive work and use the core APIs wherever possible -- and advances in chips becomes basically free. Stop ice skating uphill.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Dookieman Avatar
115 months ago
Can someone with a better understanding on the topic break this down into laymans terms?
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
pavelbure Avatar
115 months ago
for some reason it took me 2 min. to read that headline.:)
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cmChimera Avatar
115 months ago

It makes sense that Apple will eventually move away from Intel chipsets to their own. The benefits are in abundance;

- Apple nets more profit with each sale, since they won't have to hand Intel various licensing fees. Everyone in the pro community knows just how much the workstation class CPU's have gone up in price, and that has only inflated the Mac Pro's now ridiculous value. It only seems like 3-years ago that the Mac Pro was around £500 cheaper.

- They can control the release schedules and progress of their own technologies, rather than waiting on Intel to release their products.

- Their chipsets will work independently, and they won't have to compromise performance/features as has occurred between the Intel and Nvidia with their own disputes.

- It adds more control to Apple's products, and they market the chips to their hearts content with fancy names.

- Lastly of course, it means they can introduce new technologies now found in Intel chips or those from other rivals.

It all sounds good, but I can't imagine it'll happen for a while.


That doesn't sound good, nor is that likely to be what this is. The biggest problem from switching away from Intel would be the MASSIVE incompatibility problem that would occur.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

m1 chip macbook air pro

Kuo: Redesigned MacBooks With Apple Silicon to Launch in Second Half of 2021

Tuesday November 24, 2020 7:53 pm PST by
Apple plans to release additional MacBook models with Apple Silicon in the second half of 2021, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, as part of the company's two-year transition away from Intel processors across its Mac lineup. In a research note today, obtained by MacRumors, Kuo said that these MacBook models will feature a new design. Kuo did not specify which models these will be, but he...
Apple Watc black friday 20 sale feature

Apple Black Friday 2020: Best Apple Watch Deals [Updated]

Wednesday November 25, 2020 4:01 pm PST by
Black Friday sales have begun on a variety of products, including the Apple Watch. There are quite a few deals across the Apple Watch lineup this year, including one of the lowest price we've ever seen the Apple Watch Series 3. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the...
AirPods Pro black friday 20 sale feature 2

Black Friday 2020: AirPods Pro Reach Lowest Price Ever [Updated]

Wednesday November 25, 2020 3:22 pm PST by
Black Friday has kicked off this week, and one of the first major sales for the AirPods Pro is available right now on Walmart. You can find this deal below, along with a few other solid discounts on the regular AirPods. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site...
13 16 inch macbook pro air trio

Reliable Leaker Suggests Redesigned MacBooks in 2021 Will Include Both Apple Silicon and Intel Models

Wednesday November 25, 2020 9:15 am PST by
Reliable leaker known as "L0vetodream" has today suggested on Twitter that redesigned MacBooks coming in the second half of 2021 will include models with both Apple Silicon chips and Intel processors. The brief Tweet came in response to a MacRumors article from earlier today, which outlined a report from Ming-Chi Kuo claiming that Apple plans to release redesigned MacBook models with Apple ...
mac mini macbook pro macbook air

Apple M1 Hands-On Comparison: MacBook Air vs. MacBook Pro vs. Mac Mini

Monday November 23, 2020 3:40 pm PST by
Apple's M1 Macs are out in the wild now, but ahead of the holidays, you might still be trying to figure out which one to pick up, either for yourself or as a gift for someone else. We've got all three of the new Macs available, so we thought we'd give MacRumors readers a hands-on overview of each machine in our latest YouTube video. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. ...
app store christmas icon

Apple Shutting Down App Store Connect From December 23 to December 27

Monday November 23, 2020 10:14 am PST by
Apple shuts down App Store Connect for a week around the holidays each year in an effort to give App Store staff time off from work. This year, App Store Connect will be unavailable from December 23 to December 27. With App Store Connect unavailable, Apple will not accept new apps or app updates, so all pricing changes and new app submissions need to be locked in before those dates for...
iPads black friday 20 sale feature

Apple Black Friday 2020: Best iPad Deals [Updated]

Tuesday November 24, 2020 8:51 am PST by
Black Friday is underway, and we're tracking discounts across Apple's lineup of iPads, including the current-generation 10.2-inch iPad, iPad Air, and iPad Pro. We'll be keeping this post updated as new deals appear and current ones expire, so be sure to keep checking back for the latest. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a...
Target November Deals 1

Black Friday Spotlight: Target Begins Week-Long Sale With Deals on iPhone 12, Powerbeats Pro, and More

Monday November 23, 2020 8:07 am PST by
We've been tracking early Black Friday deals in our dedicated Black Friday Roundup, and in an effort to prepare our readers for the big shopping event we're highlighting sales store-by-store in the lead-up to November 27. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Target. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running....
new mac mini logicpro screen

M1 Macs Able to Run Up to Six External Displays Using DisplayLink

Tuesday November 24, 2020 6:53 am PST by
It is possible to run up to six external displays from the M1 Mac mini, and five external displays from the M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, with the aid of DisplayPort adapters, according to YouTuber Ruslan Tulupov. This far exceeds Apple's specified limits on external displays with the M1 Macs. Apple's host of new M1 Macs are not capable of supporting as many external displays as their...
2020 apple shopping event

Apple Offering Up to $150 Gift Card With Select Products on Black Friday Through Cyber Monday

Monday November 23, 2020 2:53 am PST by
Apple has announced its annual four-day shopping event, offering customers up to a $150 Apple Store gift card with the purchase of select products between Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the United States. The gift card values in the United States are as follows: $150 for 16-inch MacBook Pro $150 for 21.5-inch iMac $50 for 13-inch MacBook Pro $50 for MacBook Air $50 for iPhone SE,...