M1 Everywhere: Apple accelerates custom chip transition

Bob O'Donnell

Posts: 19   +1
Staff member
Highly anticipated: It’s tough to keep a secret in the tech industry these days. Just ask Apple. After years of “didn’t see that coming” (or, at least, the hope of “One More Thing…”), it’s becoming increasingly rare for Apple to be able to pull off a genuine surprise at their big launch events, especially on the product side.

Yesterday’s Spring Loaded event was no exception, with the debut of a widely anticipated new iPad Pro, AirTags location finders, Podcast service, and the svelte new iMacs. But while there may not have been any serious product surprises, there was a little bit of uncertainty about the direction and speed of its technical transition to Arm-powered devices.

Those questions were completely put to rest, however, with the new iMac and iPad Pro announcements and the inclusion of the company’s self-designed M1 chip into both products.

It’s now clear that Apple is not only committed to making the M1, and its subsequent Arm-powered processors, the core of all its major computing devices, but that it’s moving at an even faster pace than many initially anticipated to achieve that changeover.

In fact, if there was any surprise from the event it was the degree of emphasis that Apple put on the M1—it was arguably the star of the show (except, of course, for Tim Cook’s guest spin as an M1 stealing super thief -- watch below). Apple clearly highlighted the critical role that the power efficient M1 had in enabling the extremely thin new iMac design, as well as the additional performance capabilities it brings to both the iMac and the iPad Pro.

In the process, the company cleverly succeeded in delivering multiple important messages to different audiences. First, to consumers, they made it clear that they should want any and all of their future Apple computing device purchases to be powered by the M1 or its successors.

In a sense, Apple is developing CPU branding. They’ve had such strong initial success and positive response to the first M1 Macs that they’re taking advantage of that and kicking up the volume on their outgoing messaging. In fact, given that they chose to transition the iPad Pro from an A series processor to an M series and then touted the huge performance gains that occurred from doing so, it may even start to raise questions about other iPads that don’t have an M1. (And might we even see requests for an M1-powered iPhone? I wouldn’t be surprised….)

In a sense, Apple is developing CPU branding.

Second, to developers, the M1 emphasis served as a shot over the bow that if they haven’t taken their development efforts for Arm-native apps seriously, they better start doing so, and quick. Yes, many of the biggest developers have been vocal about their support of M1, but for major transitions to be really successful, Apple has to rally the long tail of smaller developers who make up an incredibly important (but often overlooked) role in any ecosystem. My guess is that there have been a lot of conversations over the last day or so at these smaller organizations about how they can accelerate their M1 native efforts.

Finally, to the tech industry at large, Apple pushed forward with its message about the criticality of custom silicon. Many tech companies look to Apple for a sense of direction—some more obviously than others—and the fact that the company used their custom chips as a linchpin in the story they told around these new products speaks volumes about the priorities that Apple now has. In the process, they also laid down a gauntlet, challenging others to try and match what they’ve been able to build with the M1 (as well as all their other custom silicon efforts).

Of course, the appeal of Apple’s latest products wasn’t all about tech—though the Liquid Retina XDR display on the new iPad Pro certainly sounds impressive, and the automatic calibration of the new 4K Apple TV is very slick for home theater junkies. Still, there was that thing about color.

(Apple) also laid down a gauntlet, challenging others to try and match what they’ve been able to build with the M1

As silly or unimportant as some may believe that to be, adding new colors to a computer does offer a degree of personalization that some people—particularly younger buyers who are often drawn to Apple products anyway—find incredibly important. Of course, it’s also a bit nostalgic for older Apple fans who distinctly recall the early colored plastic and CRT-equipped iMacs.

What’s interesting is that, thanks in part to the super thin, slick new design of these iMacs, color feels entirely fresh and new again. Ask me in two years and I may not feel the same way, but many tech products have clearly succumbed to the whims of fashion trends—particularly as they become so embedded into our lives. And just as in fashion, things like color come and go. Yet, in an era where we could all use a little more color and simple joy, colored iMacs feel strangely right, especially given what a nice job Apple has done in extending that color through all the peripherals.

Ultimately, what Apple managed to do in the action-packed hour of their Spring launch event is demonstrate once again that they still have a strong sense of where tech-focused consumers are headed and that they still know how to produce some pretty slick hardware. It’s a difficult path to continue forging, but it’s nice to see that they still know how to get it done.

Bob O’Donnell is the founder and chief analyst of TECHnalysis Research, LLC a technology consulting firm that provides strategic consulting and market research services to the technology industry and professional financial community. You can follow him on Twitter .

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Dimitriid

Posts: 709   +1,255
All the people complaining about Apple making an all-in-one SOC the center of a PC this year will be raving about it in a year or two when Intel and AMD do the same thing.

I only complained about the chin and the white bezels. And the ipad pro being still stuck with a tablet os and tablet apps when it clearly has desktop-grade parts in it already (So having the *option* of Bigsur when docked would be nice, but you know how Apple feels about user options)

The fact that they're getting a lot done already with a SoC chip and that they're successfully clawing back market share from x86 and at a relatively rapid pace too hasn't escaped me: I think that Apple will popularize these types of devices again until some big names on the "PC" side (Or maybe even the Android side) will probably deliver on the areas where some power users and developers will feel Apple is lacking quite a bit and will always lack as part of their "ecosystem" strategy: less limits to what you can do with the devices.

So to your point yes: the future probably will be either really expensive workstations for professional or this type of "good enough" SoC systems for every day users with some cloud computing for some of the heavier and more demanding tasks. Most people on places like this site really push back when I say the typical PC and typical laptop don't have a bright future but they don't understand what Apple is trying to accomplish here which is mass market adoption: not just sell computers to computer saavy people, gamers and devs who use em on a daily basis and love technology, but basically sell laptops and computers to your uncle, your grandpa, people that otherwise barely would use a phone or a tablet: Just a really accessible-to-all device that's standardized and really optimized and it's as simple to use as you can manage.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 709   +1,255
This a very sad thing. Companies should be plotting their own course not playing monkey-see-monkey-do...

It is sad, but it happens for good reason: Apple is the most valuable company in the world, not just in tech but I think overall.

Now you might have nice, innovative ideas and the tech to back them up into nice products. But what you probably don't have is billions upon billions of dollars to make sure your marketing and advertising literally sets standards.

All these companies that "copy" Apple probably could have tried to introduce some of the ideas themselves (And in many cases did try, unsuccessfully) but the reason it ends up looking like only Apple innovates it's because they're incomprehensibly big and far reaching.

So if Apple decides on something, most companies will have to follow just because of the overwhelming amount of people that now know and demand the features because of Apple. This inertia is so big it's why I believe companies like Samsung end up doing stupid stuff like removing the 3.5 mm jack or the charger from their phones too: copying Apple, even when blatantly so (But different enough to win lawsuits against them) pays off, literally: you probably make more money that way than creating your own stuff unless you become something of a giant yourself and even then, there's literally not enough money in the world to compete with Apple on their own scale at this point.
 

Crinkles

Posts: 116   +112
The fact that they're getting a lot done already with a SoC chip and that they're successfully clawing back market share from x86 and at a relatively rapid pace

Orly?
Computer sales (PC's) for the past two years Lol.

So to your point yes: the future probably will be either really expensive workstations for professional or this type of "good enough" SoC systems for every day users with some cloud computing for some of the heavier and more demanding tasks.

Stap! "Cloud" is someone else's cheap DISK DRIVE, and/or time slices on a remote CPU.

This term "cloud" has been used to sell people something they don't understand, it lead's to thinking in phrases like "it just works" when it doesn't work at all, and "it's good enough" for things that are not good. It's tiring and people aren't accounting for the recovery others are doing to RE-cover from ill-advised, tragic "deployments" to crappy hardware and cloud products that fail to live up to their hype.

"Just good enough" is NEVER good enough.

"don't understand what Apple is trying to accomplish here which is mass market adoption...sell laptops and computers to your uncle, your grandpa"

Wtf, I know no one who's 'scared' of Apple. They sell ****, and I'm not taking care of **** computers / tech products my people buy. Fortunately they do not buy Apple.

Back to the pretty colors?
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 709   +1,255
Wtf, I know no one who's 'scared' of Apple. They sell ****, and I'm not taking care of **** computers / tech products my people buy. Fortunately they do not buy Apple.

Back to the pretty colors?

Yeah I guess they've become the most valuable company on the planet just with pretty colors and not just overwhelming marketing that reaches everyday people with a decisive formula to do so.

But if you think you can narrow it down to "pretty colors" by all means.
 

Crinkles

Posts: 116   +112
Yeah I guess they've become the most valuable company on the planet just with pretty colors and not just overwhelming marketing that reaches everyday people with a decisive formula to do so.

But if you think you can narrow it down to "pretty colors" by all means.

Oh.

That's right. Apple drew an Atom chip. If they color it pink are you going to promote that too? Cause you're ALL IN for Apples marketing, all I've seen from several here is a relentless trumpeting for Apples marketing machine, yelling #goconsumers - those Apple ties are constricting. I work for freedom, not Apple.
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 2,508   +3,778
Apple uses same chip on tablet, laptop and PC.

Imagine AMD or Intel using same CPU for all of those :joy:
EExcept they dont. We already know there are variations of the M1: E G there is one with 8 GPU cores and one with 7, and another with 32 CPU cores.

Unless you are really going to try to convince me that the same APU that's larger then a 4700u, and has an active fan in a macbook, and pulls 25+ watts, is going to be used in an iPad.
 

Watzupken

Posts: 246   +227
I only complained about the chin and the white bezels. And the ipad pro being still stuck with a tablet os and tablet apps when it clearly has desktop-grade parts in it already (So having the *option* of Bigsur when docked would be nice, but you know how Apple feels about user options)

The fact that they're getting a lot done already with a SoC chip and that they're successfully clawing back market share from x86 and at a relatively rapid pace too hasn't escaped me: I think that Apple will popularize these types of devices again until some big names on the "PC" side (Or maybe even the Android side) will probably deliver on the areas where some power users and developers will feel Apple is lacking quite a bit and will always lack as part of their "ecosystem" strategy: less limits to what you can do with the devices.

So to your point yes: the future probably will be either really expensive workstations for professional or this type of "good enough" SoC systems for every day users with some cloud computing for some of the heavier and more demanding tasks. Most people on places like this site really push back when I say the typical PC and typical laptop don't have a bright future but they don't understand what Apple is trying to accomplish here which is mass market adoption: not just sell computers to computer saavy people, gamers and devs who use em on a daily basis and love technology, but basically sell laptops and computers to your uncle, your grandpa, people that otherwise barely would use a phone or a tablet: Just a really accessible-to-all device that's standardized and really optimized and it's as simple to use as you can manage.
I think there are articles out there that explains why the chin on the Mac with images of what is in there. As to iPad still running a mobile OS, I feel that is deliberate. In short, what Apple is trying to tell you is that if you want a touch screen device, go get the iPad. Otherwise, if you type a lot, then get the MacBook. That's why till now, you don't see a touch screen MacBook.
 

Watzupken

Posts: 246   +227
EExcept they dont. We already know there are variations of the M1: E G there is one with 8 GPU cores and one with 7, and another with 32 CPU cores.

Unless you are really going to try to convince me that the same APU that's larger then a 4700u, and has an active fan in a macbook, and pulls 25+ watts, is going to be used in an iPad.

8 or 7 GPU cores don't matter. The fact is that the same M1 chip is being used in their Mac, MacBook and iPad now even with a disabled GPU core. The difference probably boils down to the power limit on the SOC for the iPad which will help manage thermals and battery life. But considering that the MacBook Air M1 runs perfectly fine with a small block of aluminum as passive cooler, I am not surprised that the iPad Pro can manage the same.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 709   +1,255
I think there are articles out there that explains why the chin on the Mac with images of what is in there. As to iPad still running a mobile OS, I feel that is deliberate. In short, what Apple is trying to tell you is that if you want a touch screen device, go get the iPad. Otherwise, if you type a lot, then get the MacBook. That's why till now, you don't see a touch screen MacBook.

I know it is deliberate but their problem isn't even competition from other companies, it's just their own product line: Almost any "professional" will probably get a macbook air instead, if tablet form factor is an absolute must then the latest ipad air on the other hand, has more than enough processing power for the kind of apps Apple is allowing you to use on ipad os anyway: this M1 ipad pro just makes no sense at all without macos.

It's also why they made such a big deal out of selling the screen: they know most of the people who might end up getting one will be people who just want the cheapest mini led, high quality or "semi-pro" display they can get in a portable device. So for the very specific niche of drawers or photo editors that need a really accurate and really portable mini-led screen it's going to be ideal.

For everybody else? Yeah: just get a macbook air and one of the cheaper (Or older) tablets if you really need a tablet too.
 

Dimitrios

Posts: 832   +634
It is sad, but it happens for good reason: Apple is the most valuable company in the world, not just in tech but I think overall.

Now you might have nice, innovative ideas and the tech to back them up into nice products. But what you probably don't have is billions upon billions of dollars to make sure your marketing and advertising literally sets standards.

All these companies that "copy" Apple probably could have tried to introduce some of the ideas themselves (And in many cases did try, unsuccessfully) but the reason it ends up looking like only Apple innovates it's because they're incomprehensibly big and far reaching.

So if Apple decides on something, most companies will have to follow just because of the overwhelming amount of people that now know and demand the features because of Apple. This inertia is so big it's why I believe companies like Samsung end up doing stupid stuff like removing the 3.5 mm jack or the charger from their phones too: copying Apple, even when blatantly so (But different enough to win lawsuits against them) pays off, literally: you probably make more money that way than creating your own stuff unless you become something of a giant yourself and even then, there's literally not enough money in the world to compete with Apple on their own scale at this point.

Well said, let APPLE test the waters first. They can afford it.
 

HardReset

Posts: 1,133   +730
EExcept they dont. We already know there are variations of the M1: E G there is one with 8 GPU cores and one with 7, and another with 32 CPU cores.

Unless you are really going to try to convince me that the same APU that's larger then a 4700u, and has an active fan in a macbook, and pulls 25+ watts, is going to be used in an iPad.
I didn't see any information about different amount of CPU cores. If there are some GPU cores disabled, that doesn't change anything about CPU.

Again, it's very laughable if Apple really uses same CPU (doesn't matter if there are bit less GPU power) for tablet, desktop and laptop. It just tells M1 is bad choice for either tablet, desktop or laptop. Or for some of those. Or for all of those.
 

CommonSenseTech

Posts: 103   +94
Again, it's very laughable if Apple really uses same CPU (doesn't matter if there are bit less GPU power) for tablet, desktop and laptop. It just tells M1 is bad choice for either tablet, desktop or laptop. Or for some of those. Or for all of those.
Not really. It just means that Apple’s chip architecture is built for modern, seamless computing while competing architectures are divided between legacy CISC X86 dating back to the 70s and legacy embedded dating back to the 1990s.

Computing today is very different than the legacy approaches that built those two old models; everyone else is going to go where Apple is trying to go as well.
 

CommonSenseTech

Posts: 103   +94
I only complained about the chin and the white bezels. And the ipad pro being still stuck with a tablet os and tablet apps when it clearly has desktop-grade parts in it already (So having the *option* of Bigsur when docked would be nice, but you know how Apple feels about user options)
If there was demand for a PC OS on a tablet, the various Windows Surface tablets and other Wintel tablets would have been best-sellers. Instead, they're all dead, and the "Surface Pro" has been largely supplanted by a Surface laptop.

Plus, the touch interface for a WIMP-style OS like Windows or Mac OS isn't a good experience. In fact, it's downright terrible; that's why Microsoft tried to reboot Windows with Metro back in the Windows 8/Phone era and largely failed. Nobody wanted a "hybrid" OS or device. (I tried it out and, while I liked its promise, like most Microsoft consumer PC products it was poorly launched and orphaned very quickly. Once burnt, twice shy.)

Finally, Apple's about user experience first and foremost. The userbase for Apple products would generally not be pleased if Apple delivered a poor-quality experience in the name of "choice," simply because it could.
 

Crinkles

Posts: 116   +112
Not really. It just means that Apple’s chip architecture is built for modern, seamless computing while competing architectures are divided between legacy CISC X86 dating back to the 70s and legacy embedded dating back to the 1990s.

Almost partly right - see GIRLS aka Pick OS. For much of the world, Apple is still the newbie on the block.
Computing today is very different than the legacy approaches that built those two old models; everyone else is going to go where Apple is trying to go as well.
Or they're "not" https://groups.google.com/g/mvdbms
Google/Facebook/Twitlit are SOO sexy and worth $$$$$$$$ that everyone wants to work there. The only ones who want to get were Apple Corp is are the applemaniacs. Let's do RISC-V next.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 709   +1,255
If there was demand for a PC OS on a tablet, the various Windows Surface tablets and other Wintel tablets would have been best-sellers. Instead, they're all dead, and the "Surface Pro" has been largely supplanted by a Surface laptop.

Plus, the touch interface for a WIMP-style OS like Windows or Mac OS isn't a good experience. In fact, it's downright terrible; that's why Microsoft tried to reboot Windows with Metro back in the Windows 8/Phone era and largely failed. Nobody wanted a "hybrid" OS or device. (I tried it out and, while I liked its promise, like most Microsoft consumer PC products it was poorly launched and orphaned very quickly. Once burnt, twice shy.)

Finally, Apple's about user experience first and foremost. The userbase for Apple products would generally not be pleased if Apple delivered a poor-quality experience in the name of "choice," simply because it could.

I'm not contesting any of those points: 2 in 1 tablet/laptop devices are fairly niche you've got a good point there.

What's baffling to me is Apple spending a not insignificant chunk of change (Even for Apple) to develop and release an M1 ipad pro: even when it comes to tablets in general who was really competing with the ipad pro?

If anything, the idle curiosity of people wanting to use it as a laptop was likely born out of Apple constantly hyping up it's processing power but at this point the M1 ipad pro is basically just planned obsolescence: There's literally nothing wrong with the previous ipad pro or even the ipad air: all they had to ad was the mini led screen and it would have been a worthy update to most people using an ipad pro already.

But this feels like someone taking away your V8 car you use to go to the store 2 blocks away everyday and switching it for a Lamborgini: sure it's way better than just a V8 you had, but you're still just using it to go to the neighborhood store you're never gonna stretch either one's power, why keep going?
 
I'm not contesting any of those points: 2 in 1 tablet/laptop devices are fairly niche you've got a good point there.

What's baffling to me is Apple spending a not insignificant chunk of change (Even for Apple) to develop and release an M1 ipad pro: even when it comes to tablets in general who was really competing with the ipad pro?

If anything, the idle curiosity of people wanting to use it as a laptop was likely born out of Apple constantly hyping up it's processing power but at this point the M1 ipad pro is basically just planned obsolescence: There's literally nothing wrong with the previous ipad pro or even the ipad air: all they had to ad was the mini led screen and it would have been a worthy update to most people using an ipad pro already.

But this feels like someone taking away your V8 car you use to go to the store 2 blocks away everyday and switching it for a Lamborgini: sure it's way better than just a V8 you had, but you're still just using it to go to the neighborhood store you're never gonna stretch either one's power, why keep going?

I think they are just betting that on the work taken by developers to transfer their apps from x86 Intel Macs to ARM Macs they might just take a look at the iPad, see very similar processing power and take the jump and also launch an version of their app for iPadOS WITHOUT it being a gimped version. At the same time Apple is continuing improving iPadOS for real needs on touch device instead of crapping it with MacOS.

Since their CPU cores are identical through their line, their iPad Air and Mini instantly get more value and it comes down to Apple to release a more potent 399$ iPad which may be worth with their scale.

That way you go from some limited tablet which is compared to Chromebook to a very capable device.
 

Watzupken

Posts: 246   +227
I didn't see any information about different amount of CPU cores. If there are some GPU cores disabled, that doesn't change anything about CPU.

Again, it's very laughable if Apple really uses same CPU (doesn't matter if there are bit less GPU power) for tablet, desktop and laptop. It just tells M1 is bad choice for either tablet, desktop or laptop. Or for some of those. Or for all of those.
I have a different school of thought here though. In fact, I feel Apple is filling in where Microsoft/ PC have failed. The fact that you can have the same CPU running in a tablet, laptop and desktop means you can easily allow applications to work across devices. While you may not have the same experience say on a MacBook Air vs iPad due to missing touch screen, but it still works. As an added bonus, all these devices are sipping power while providing users with smooth performance.

Flicking across to Microsoft, they tried to unify their OS for mobile and PC earlier and they failed bitterly. The attempt to switch to x64 ARM chips is also on life support system. There are too many parties involved in order to make this software and hardware integration in the PC space, and therefore, its hard to get it to work.
 

Watzupken

Posts: 246   +227
I'm not contesting any of those points: 2 in 1 tablet/laptop devices are fairly niche you've got a good point there.

What's baffling to me is Apple spending a not insignificant chunk of change (Even for Apple) to develop and release an M1 ipad pro: even when it comes to tablets in general who was really competing with the ipad pro?

If anything, the idle curiosity of people wanting to use it as a laptop was likely born out of Apple constantly hyping up it's processing power but at this point the M1 ipad pro is basically just planned obsolescence: There's literally nothing wrong with the previous ipad pro or even the ipad air: all they had to ad was the mini led screen and it would have been a worthy update to most people using an ipad pro already.

But this feels like someone taking away your V8 car you use to go to the store 2 blocks away everyday and switching it for a Lamborgini: sure it's way better than just a V8 you had, but you're still just using it to go to the neighborhood store you're never gonna stretch either one's power, why keep going?
From my observation, Apple's marketing to push iPad Pro as a productivity tablet is actually working. At least from what I see in some work places, iPads and iPad Pros are becoming the on the go workstation, instead of a laptop, especially when one needs a touchscreen display. I don't see a problem with having the M1 chip in the iPad Pro since it did not significantly increase price as compared to previous gen. Most of the cost increase if I am not mistaken should be due to the Mini LED display for the 12.9 inch version. In fact the A14 uses the same Firestorm and Icestorm cores, but instead of 4 by 4, its 2 by 4 at a lower clockspeed and less GPU cores and memory bandwidth. So the M1 is a heathy step up that makes sense to go into the iPad Pro which historically uses a spruced up A series SOC.

Apple's strength here is also its weakness, which is they tend to ignore what others are doing and improving based on what they think is best. So to your point on the point of making the iPad Pro so powerful while competition is still lagging far behind, I think that pretty much explains.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 709   +1,255
From my observation, Apple's marketing to push iPad Pro as a productivity tablet is actually working. At least from what I see in some work places, iPads and iPad Pros are becoming the on the go workstation, instead of a laptop, especially when one needs a touchscreen display. I don't see a problem with having the M1 chip in the iPad Pro since it did not significantly increase price as compared to previous gen. Most of the cost increase if I am not mistaken should be due to the Mini LED display for the 12.9 inch version. In fact the A14 uses the same Firestorm and Icestorm cores, but instead of 4 by 4, its 2 by 4 at a lower clockspeed and less GPU cores and memory bandwidth. So the M1 is a heathy step up that makes sense to go into the iPad Pro which historically uses a spruced up A series SOC.

Apple's strength here is also its weakness, which is they tend to ignore what others are doing and improving based on what they think is best. So to your point on the point of making the iPad Pro so powerful while competition is still lagging far behind, I think that pretty much explains.

You raise some interesting points I failed to consider: It might be more cost effective (Or a negligible difference) for Apple to just use M1 chip runs for everything they can reasonably fit them in instead of maintaining several chip SKU lines for each line of products. We might even see the rest of the ipad line up eventually transition to M1 as well (Not before the pro is on a fancy new upgrade so M2 or M3 or so forth)
 

HardReset

Posts: 1,133   +730
Not really. It just means that Apple’s chip architecture is built for modern, seamless computing while competing architectures are divided between legacy CISC X86 dating back to the 70s and legacy embedded dating back to the 1990s.

Computing today is very different than the legacy approaches that built those two old models; everyone else is going to go where Apple is trying to go as well.
Point is that you simply cannot use efficiently same chip on tablets, laptops and desktop. Because usage scenarios are so different.

Even Apple isn't trying to use same chip on phones and all above. That pretty much proves my point.
I have a different school of thought here though. In fact, I feel Apple is filling in where Microsoft/ PC have failed. The fact that you can have the same CPU running in a tablet, laptop and desktop means you can easily allow applications to work across devices. While you may not have the same experience say on a MacBook Air vs iPad due to missing touch screen, but it still works. As an added bonus, all these devices are sipping power while providing users with smooth performance.

Flicking across to Microsoft, they tried to unify their OS for mobile and PC earlier and they failed bitterly. The attempt to switch to x64 ARM chips is also on life support system. There are too many parties involved in order to make this software and hardware integration in the PC space, and therefore, its hard to get it to work.
Why it has to be Same CPU? Having same CPU instruction set is more than enough to allow applications work across devices. Also if power requirements are different, chips are working differently and will not offer same performance/experience. That means Apple should have used different chip to get optimum experience.

Microsoft failed because they have very poor reputation. Microsoft has screwed developers so many times nobody wanted to work with them and choose Google instead. Sadly because Microsoft's update policy was much better than Android ones.

I see no real reason to switch ARM on PC side. ARM has no very clear advantages against x86 tbh. When it comes to M1, it's quite easy to develop high performance chip when there is no need to care about backwards compatibility. x86 chips would be quite lot more power efficient if they would abandon almost everything regarding backwards compatibility (no support for 32-bit instructions, no MMX support, no x87 support etc etc).