Apple wants to move Macs away from Intel chips - report

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Apple has reportedly "deliberated" moving its lineup of Mac computers away from Intel processors, though such a change apparently isn't "imminent."

The details come from a profile of Apple's current state under CEO Tim Cook published Wednesday by Bloomberg Businessweek. Citing two unnamed people familiar with Apple's discussions, the report indicated that Apple would like to move away from Intel's CPUs in its Macs.

"Such a shift would be difficult and isn't imminent, though it would allow Apple to further distinguish its laptops and desktops from competitors that run Intel's chips and Microsoft's Windows software," authors Brad Stone, Adam Satariano and Peter Burrows wrote.

Apple's interest in moving away from Intel is not new, but Wednesday's report is an indication that the desire still exists at the company. AppleInsider first reported in 2010 that Apple had discussions with Intel's chief competitor, AMD, about switching to its chips for future Macs.

Apple previously differentiated its Mac lineup from Windows PCs by utilizing PowerPC chips built by IBM. But in 2005, Apple announced it would switch to Intel microprocessors for all of its Mac hardware. The transition was complete by August of 2006, and starting with OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard in 2009, support for legacy PowerPC Macs no longer existed.

Intel


While Intel currently powers Apple's Mac lineup, the company is absent from Apple's more popular iOS devices, including the iPhone and iPad. Intel has instead pushed its own "Atom" processors for mobile devices, but tests have shown that Apple's latest A6 CPU found in the iPhone 5 outperforms Atom.

While AMD would be an option if Apple were to abandon Intel, Apple has made headway in designing its own custom silicon for the iPhone and iPad. Earlier this year, rumors suggested Apple was looking to use its own ARM processors in upcoming iterations of the MacBook, especially in power-critical applications like the thin-and-light MacBook Air.

Wednesday's report also revealed that late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs considered removing Google search from iOS. However, he and the company ultimately decided against that route, as they felt it would upset users too greatly.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 221
    ericblrericblr Posts: 172member
    not a good idea
  • Reply 2 of 221


    Mac Pro (Early 2013) will be run on two A6 chips. Clocked at a whopping 1.4GHz and utilizing a full 2GB of RAM, they'll be the powerhouse that no one wanted. But thin!


     


    Joking aside, I do like that Apple's getting into chip design themselves. Years ago, I imagined that doing that would be the final step in truly optimizing a hardware-software ecosystem. 

  • Reply 3 of 221
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    ... Intel has ... pushed its own "Atom" processors for mobile devices, but tests have shown that Apple's latest A6 CPU found in the iPhone 5 outperforms Atom. ...


     


    This should probably read:


     


    "... tests have shown that almost any ARM based chip, even non customised versions, are significantly faster and more efficient than any Atom chip yet made."


     


    would be closer to reality. 

  • Reply 4 of 221
    zandroszandros Posts: 537member
    gazoobee wrote: »
    This should probably read:

    "... tests have shown that almost any ARM based chip, even non customised versions, are significantly faster and more efficient than any Atom chip yet made."

    would be closer to reality. 

    That's not true, is it? From what I've seen, the Atom based smartphones are at the top of the Android heap performance-wise. Maybe not the fastest, but not terribly slow either.
  • Reply 5 of 221
    macrulezmacrulez Posts: 2,455member


    deleted

  • Reply 6 of 221
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member


    So what did Intel do to piss off Apple?

  • Reply 7 of 221
    My bet is ARM.
  • Reply 8 of 221
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,506member
    Poor reporting as a move to AMD is not a move away from i86 architecture. For some machines, like the Mini AMD could be seen as an improvement.

    However I see the whole article as bogus. Apples teaming with Intel has left them with significant advantages. It is almost as if somebody is pulling the reporters chain.
  • Reply 9 of 221
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,576member
    Defies logic for Apple to move out of Intel chips after dragging its customers through the pain of moving into Intel chips a few years ago. I also see no benefit and a major downside to chucking the ability to run Windows smoothly on a Mac.

    I say, as a well run company, Apple regularly goes through an exercise to see if it makes sense to drop Intel CPUs, and someone picked up on this and blew it way out of proportion.
  • Reply 10 of 221


    While a switch to another brand (AMD) would not hurt Apple, I would see the move away from an x86 / 64_x86 processor being a major step backwards.  One of the major causes of the resurgence of the Mac in Business is Bootcamp/Parallels/VMWare.  The abiility to "Fall back" to Windows is a major selling point to businesses and a lot of consumers.  Even if they never do it, just knowing that they can allows them to take the leap.  While Steve would typically ignore business, Tim at least listens to the needs of business. 


     


    Do I believe that they are looking into it?  Yes (you need to look no further that how they prepared for the switch to Intel for evidence of this)


     


    Do i believe that they will actually do it? No  (However if WinRT does take off and develops a strong library of applications, Apple MAY also release an ARM version of OSX to answer back.  This is the only remote scenario where I see Apple actually making an ARM OSX machine) 

  • Reply 11 of 221
    This would be a huge mistake as Mac Sales have gone up since the switch to Intel. Consumers wanted the option to load Windows natively if they choose so to be compatible with other computers.

    Right now, Microsoft still has a majority of the market share. Apple would have to have greater market share before making this drastic of a move. The need to run Windows in a virtual environment would need to be diminished before hand. Everyone knows what running emulation was like in the PowerPC days and it sucked.
  • Reply 12 of 221

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by tundraboy View Post



    I say, as a well run company, Apple regularly goes through an exercise to see if it makes sense to drop Intel CPUs, and someone picked up on this and blew it way out of proportion.


     


    Well said, though I would change it slightly to "makes sense to switch ANY supplier". Apple depends on suppliers delivering cutting edge tech reliably and in large quantity. Currently that means Intel for Macs.

  • Reply 13 of 221
    bdkennedy1bdkennedy1 Posts: 1,459member
    Apple moving to their own chips is a no-brainer. We have a phone that's faster than some laptops.
  • Reply 14 of 221
    mvigodmvigod Posts: 172member


    wow! This would be a horrific move for Apple.  The PowerPC was one of the biggest blunders Apple ever made.  Intel leads in chip design and performance but more importantly they have the best manufacturing capability.  You can't sell computers if you cannot get chips made.  The PowerPC era which many here may not remember was riddled with lack of R&D and huge supply constraints. Apple was held hostage by this.


     


    If they tried to move away from Intel they have to fight a losing chip speed battle and face supply issues.   Steve Jobs brought Intel back and that was a bold and smart move.  To unwind this now would be one of very few strategic moves that would force me to sell my long held Apple shares.  If they do this it clearly tells me they are on the wrong track and headed down the old PowerPC rabbit hole again.


     


    On laptops and desktops marketing and speeds matter.  Apple tried to always sell that the PowerPC with its slower clock speeds was faster than the Intel chips which had much much faster clock speeds.  The public does not get this.  Speed is speed to them.  4Ghz is faster than 3Ghz, period.  Benchmarks don't work with consumers.


     


    I hope this is just a rumor and Cook isn't about to make one of the biggest mistakes post Jobs era.

  • Reply 15 of 221
    Apple says this same thing every couple years as they re-negotiate terms with Intel. There's no way in hell they'd go with AMD, unless they decided to buy them outright and try to turn the company around, and while ARM is a possibility (what with the supposed ARM-based MacBook Air prototype talked about a year or so ago) I'd doubt it'll happen any time soon. Intel is (rightly) seen as a producer of a premium product, like Apple, and if Apple were to migrate to something else it would almost certainly be criticized.
  • Reply 16 of 221
    dr_lhadr_lha Posts: 236member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by willgonz View Post



    This would be a huge mistake as Mac Sales have gone up since the switch to Intel. Consumers wanted the option to load Windows natively if they choose so to be compatible with other computers.


    Do you have any evidence to back this up? Like for example, what percentage of Mac users actually utilize Boot Camp or a Virtualization solution like VMWare or Parallels? I'd be surprised if it were higher than 5%.

  • Reply 17 of 221

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mstone View Post


    So what did Intel do to piss off Apple?



     


    "Ultrabook, inspired by Intel" ?

  • Reply 18 of 221
    kevtkevt Posts: 195member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mstone View Post


    So what did Intel do to piss off Apple?



     


    Ooh, I don't know ... maybe 'doing a Samsung' on the MacBook Air with the Ultrabook.

  • Reply 19 of 221


    Of course Apple has "deliberated" over this. It would imprudent not to. But talking about something is very different from committing to doing it. They likely have discussed other ideas like acquiring ARM, using E-paper or AMOLED, etc. They might even have deliberated on flying to the moon ...

  • Reply 20 of 221
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,858member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mstone View Post


    So what did Intel do to piss off Apple?



    Ultrabooks 

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