Apple's iPad Pro & powerful A9X CPU pose threat to Intel, Cowen says

Posted:
in AAPL Investors edited November 2015
Investment firm Cowen and Company has a bullish outlook for Apple's new iPad Pro, citing performance benchmarks that show the device is capable of replacing many mainstream laptops running an Intel processor.




In a note to investors on Thursday, a copy of which was provided to AppleInsider, analyst Timothy Arcuri noted that new iPad Pro's A9X chip offers performance that surpasses the Intel Core M processor used in the new 12-inch MacBook. The CPU also compares favorably to the Core i5 processor used in the baseline Macbook Air, although it is still far behind that of higher-end Macbook Pro laptops which use Core i5 and i7 processors.

A look at the GPU shows a similar story: The A9X outperformed all Apple laptops that use integrated Intel graphics, registering a three-to-four-times improvement in frame rate of the 12-inch MacBook with Retina display. The iPad Pro processor also posted an improvement of as much as 40 percent over the Intel Iris 5200 integrated graphics featured on the 15-inch MacBook Pro.

Despite the bullish prognostications based on these numbers, Arcuri was quick to point out that software developers will ultimately determine how much the iPad Pro can replace a PC for mainstream consumers. In particular, it remains to be seen whether or not developers can create experiences for the iPad that compare favorably to the same software on a desktop or notebook.

If they can, Arcuri believes Intel's mobile CPU business might be most at risk, despite the potential for cannibalization within Apple's own line of higher-end Mac products.

"While the iPad Pro is not a PC replacement yet, AAPL and ARM are coming and the hardware is certainly a threat to INTC mobile CPU business once the software developers catch up," Arcuri said.

Cowen and Company also believes that the move to three cores for an anticipated "A10" chip would be a positive for existing Apple supply giants Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and Applied Materials, as well as other semiconductor outfits like KLA-Tencor and ASML Holding.

The firm has maintained a neutral "market perform" rating for shares of AAPL with a price target of $135.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 155
    "Cowen and Company also believes that the move to three cores for an anticipated "A10" chip would be a positive for existing Apple supply giants"

    In what way?
  • Reply 2 of 155
    irelandireland Posts: 17,422member
    Does anyone think the next MacBooks may switch to Apple processors? And if they did how much of a cost savings could Apple transfer to potential buyers over the current MacBook 1 model? And if there is an in-house OS X ARM variant (very likely given past history) how much battery life could an ARM MacBook 1 get? Anyone?
  • Reply 3 of 155
    The confluence of touch and desktop paradigms is underway. Developers determine whether an iPad Pro can replace a laptop, but as far as I'm concerned, they're hamstrung until Apple's OS is as good as its hardware.
  • Reply 4 of 155
    torusoft wrote: »
    The confluence of touch and desktop paradigms is underway. Developers determine whether an iPad Pro can replace a laptop, but as far as I'm concerned, they're hamstrung until Apple's OS is as good as its hardware.

    People don't want a converged OS. Did the utter failure of Windows 8 teach people nothing?

    And the A10 will be a dual core, same with A10X. Just simpler that way.
  • Reply 5 of 155
    but but but - iPad is a toy and hindered by iOS so people can't do real work on it!

    ireland wrote: »
    Does anyone think the next MacBooks may switch to Apple processors? And if they did how much of a cost savings could Apple transfer to potential buyers over the current MacBook 1 model? And if there is an in-house OS X ARM variant (very likely given past history) how much battery life could an ARM MacBook 1 get? Anyone?

    sorry, dont work for apple engineering and thus no idea.
  • Reply 6 of 155
    irelandireland Posts: 17,422member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by torusoft View Post



    The confluence of touch and desktop paradigms is underway. Developers determine whether an iPad Pro can replace a laptop, but as far as I'm concerned, they're hamstrung until Apple's OS is as good as its hardware.



    These things take a few years to mature. I like what Apple's doing with iOS, they are proceeding cautiously but they are certainly proceeding. Frankly I'd like to see even more polish on iOS before they add more features to the OS. If Adobe released a touch variant of the full version of PS on iPad that would move the needle considerably and that's without Apple lifting a finger.

  • Reply 7 of 155
    maxitmaxit Posts: 196member

    It would have been interesting to see a MacBook with a A9XX SoC inside .... Surely better than the actual Core M configuration

  • Reply 8 of 155
    Gruber pointed out what I think is the iPad Pro's biggest fault - and it's the fault of iOS, not the iPad Pro itself. The lack of keyboard functionality and bugs surrounding keyboard input in general will undermine iPad Pro adoption for productivity users until thoroughly addressed.
  • Reply 9 of 155
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TheWhiteFalcon View Post





    People don't want a converged OS. Did the utter failure of Windows 8 teach people nothing?



    And the A10 will be a dual core, same with A10X. Just simpler that way.

    and yet the A8X is a tri-core CPU set up.

  • Reply 10 of 155
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by CanukStorm View Post

     

    and yet the A8X is a tri-core CPU set up.




    And the A9X is not. Anandtech thinks, and I agree, that the tri-core setup was done as a compromise, not because Apple really wanted to.

  • Reply 11 of 155
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

     

    These things take a few years to mature. I like what Apple's doing with iOS, they are proceeding cautiously but they are certainly proceeding. Frankly I'd like to see even more polish on iOS before they add more features to the OS. If Adobe released a touch variant of the full version of PS on iPad that would move the needle considerably and that's without Apple lifting a finger.


    Could be the next big thing we'll see is the smart connector first being made available in other iDevices, which could open the door for more desktop functionality (e.g. connectivity to external displays or touchpads, like tvOS supports, keyboards, power, etc.). I agree, though, that these things take time, but I'll bet they've got a good roadmap that brings iOS and associated devices closer in line with what users do "at a desktop." Seems the chips are largely there, now it's just the OS and Apps that need to catch up.

  • Reply 12 of 155
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post



    Does anyone think the next MacBooks may switch to Apple processors?

     

    Apple would need to give developers a heads up, unless it would be seamless transition somehow.

     

    Quote:


      And if they did how much of a cost savings could Apple transfer to potential buyers over the current MacBook 1 model?


     

    Probably not much.  They would use the savings to pad their margins.

  • Reply 13 of 155
    sricesrice Posts: 113member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by CanukStorm View Post



    "Cowen and Company also believes that the move to three cores for an anticipated "A10" chip would be a positive for existing Apple supply giants"



    In what way?



     50% more demand for cores = more $revenue for them,,,

  • Reply 14 of 155
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by torusoft View Post



    Gruber pointed out what I think is the iPad Pro's biggest fault - and it's the fault of iOS, not the iPad Pro itself. The lack of keyboard functionality and bugs surrounding keyboard input in general will undermine iPad Pro adoption for productivity users until thoroughly addressed.

     

    If that were as big an issue as you paint it -- the iPad would not be still selling 50 million devices a year.....  Gruber is an idiot IMHO.... he is stuck in a single paradigm and unable to see anything outside of a very narrow viewpoint.  Keyboards are about as unnatural a device for interacting with something as you can get.... I mean even it's very foundations were .... lets design it to slow down the user to as slow as possible (QWERTY keyboard design reasoning).

  • Reply 15 of 155
    torusoft wrote: »
    Gruber pointed out what I think is the iPad Pro's biggest fault - and it's the fault of iOS, not the iPad Pro itself. The lack of keyboard functionality and bugs surrounding keyboard input in general will undermine iPad Pro adoption for productivity users until thoroughly addressed.

    yeah i think Gruber nailed it, again. which is ironic considering the trolls who accuse him of being a suck-up who never says anything bad about apple stuff.

    hopefully apple leadership will take those crits seriously and fix it up. I'm sure they will; some of the issues just sound like bugs (ex: safari spacebar-page-down moving too far down and skipping lines)
  • Reply 16 of 155
    Could be the next big thing we'll see is the smart connector first being made available in other iDevices, which could open the door for more desktop functionality (e.g. connectivity to external displays or touchpads, like tvOS supports, keyboards, power, etc.). I agree, though, that these things take time, but I'll bet they've got a good roadmap that brings iOS and associated devices closer in line with what users do "at a desktop." Seems the chips are largely there, now it's just the OS and Apps that need to catch up.

    note that iOS already supports external displays -- i use it every time i plug my iPhone in my Pioneer AppRadio head unit in the car. external display + tap events.
  • Reply 17 of 155
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by the cool gut View Post

     

    Apple would need to give developers a heads up, unless it would be seamless transition somehow.

     


    Rosetta déjà vu all over again.

  • Reply 18 of 155
    Probably not much.  They would use the savings to pad their margins.

    except when they drop their prices, which they do.
  • Reply 19 of 155
    bkkcanuck wrote: »
    If that were as big an issue as you paint it -- the iPad would not be still selling 50 million devices a year.....  Gruber is an idiot IMHO.... he is stuck in a single paradigm and unable to see anything outside of a very narrow viewpoint.  Keyboards are about as unnatural a device for interacting with something as you can get.... I mean even it's very foundations were .... lets design it to slow down the user to as slow as possible (QWERTY keyboard design reasoning).

    if you truly believe one of the best apple analysts is an idiot and keyboards are unnatural and unneeded, how about you go a month without a keyboard, or self-ban?
  • Reply 20 of 155
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mstone View Post

     

    Rosetta déjà vu all over again.


    NO, the foundations are already being laid so that applications / app store is seamless whether it is ARM based on Intel based.  There will be no need for Rosetta.  The difference is the whole development environment was moved to work on top of LLVM and the compilers generate a portable "binary code / assembly code" which then is made runnable on an ARM or Intel.   What Apple does not want to do is confuse users using Macs like Microsoft did with Windows RT.  Once all the pieces are in place the user will not have to be aware or care if they are running intel or arm.  Developers will submit their applications to the app store in bitcode (LLVM transportable) and then the user buys the application and installs it and it is "compiled/assembled down" to Intel or ARM native executables.... all nice and slim.  

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