The rumor that Apple may ditch Inter in favor of using their own custom ARM processors in Macs is nothing new – but according to Bloomberg, Apple is once again seriously considering switching away from Intel processors in their Mac lines.
Apple Inc. is exploring ways to replace Intel Corp. processors in its Mac personal computers with a version of the chip technology it uses in the iPhone and iPad, according to people familiar with the company’s research.
Apple engineers have grown confident that the chip designs used for its mobile devices will one day be powerful enough to run its desktops and laptops, said three people with knowledge of the work, who asked to remain anonymous because the plans are confidential. Apple began using Intel chips for Macs in 2005.
[…] As handheld devices increasingly function like PCs, the engineers working on this project within Apple envision machines that use a common chip design. If Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook wants to offer the consumer of 2017 and beyond a seamless experience on laptops, phones, tablets and televisions, it will be easier to build if all the devices have a consistent underlying chip architecture, according to one of the people.
We’ve previously entertained the possibility that Apple could leave Intel, and bulk of the speculation has surrounded Apple possibly using ARM processors like the A5 in future Macs, which we’ve discussed at length. It has been rumored previously that Apple has experimented with running the MacBook Air on an A5 chip in their labs.
It would be difficult for Apple to transition the Mac to a new line of processors, as it would require most Mac software to be rewritten – although Apple has faced such concerns before with the transition from PowerPC to Intel, by creating Rosetta, which allowed PowerPC apps to run on Intel Macs. A similar move may be used to transition away from Intel.
Indeed, Apple has made a lot of progress in recent years on custom processors, and has acquired a number of engineers from AMD and other companies to improve those chips even further. The decision to put Bob Mansfield in charge of their new Technologies department may have something to do with this as well.
As always, the strength of this rumor is unclear – and even if Apple is discussing the matter, that doesn’t mean it will actually happen. Only time will tell. In the meantime, check out our previous detailed analysis on the implications this might have for future Macs!