Is Apple planning to dump Intel in 2020?
A new report from Bloomberg suggests that Apple is looking to step away from Intel for chips in its Mac computers, and the transition may begin as soon as 2020. Unlike in 2005 when Apple moved from IBM to Intel, the beneficiary this time around would be Apple itself, which would pick up production duties in-house.
The advantages for such a strategy are pretty clear: not only would Apple no longer be reliant on a third party for parts of its hardware, but a shared architecture between devices would make cross-compatibility between devices that bit more seamless. If your iPad apps work automatically on your MacBook, then it’s far easier to lock customers into the ecosystem.
This may seem like a tall order for the company to begin manufacturing its own chips, but it’s not like it’s without experience in the area. The iPhone, for example, doesn’t use Qualcomm processors like nearly every other smartphone on the planet, using its own A-series of chips, and a customised GPU. The Apple Watch has its own Apple-developed chips too, as does its Bluetooth headphones.
A Mac processor is undoubtedly a taller order, obviously, and it’s likely that the transition would be a slow burn, until performance can get up to a speed where it wouldn’t alienate the power users of the Mac Pro or Mac Pro. So while high-end machines would likely continue to use Intel – at least in the short term – it’s possible the entry-level MacBook, or possible future MacBook Airs might be the first to get the All-Apple treatment.
Making processors for Apple is responsible for a not insignificant 5% of Intel’s annual revenue, so this would not be great news for the chip manufacturer – and the market knows it. On publication of Bloomberg’s report, Intel shares dropped around 8%.