Apple looking to develop custom ARM chips for future Macs, cutting out Intel - report

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Apple is not only interested in chip production for the iPhone and iPad, but developing its own CPU for laptops, modems for the iPhone, and its own touchscreen processing system, a new report claims.




In a report published on Friday by the Nikkei Asian Review two industry sources claim that Apple is trying to cut back on dependence on Intel in regards to the MacBook or MacBook Pro. The account claims that Apple is looking to leverage ARM processors, such as the A-series of chips currently found in the iPad and iPhone for future models.

"Notebooks are becoming thinner, while consumers are demanding better mobility and longer battery life," an unnamed chip industry executive told the Nikkei Asian Review. "That gives ARM's architecture, which is known for its power efficiency, a very good opportunity."

No specific details beyond industry chatter were shared by the report regarding the shift to ARM. There is no current evidence suggesting that Apple is working on an ARM version of macOS -- but it does seem like an obvious move.

Apple's purchase of NeXT in 1997 brought along NeXTStep, a precursor to Rhapsody, which ultimately became OS X. At the time of the deal, NeXTStep had an Intel processor-compatible version. But, Apple's 2006 shift to Intel was still a relative surprise, with little forewarning and few rumors prior suggesting that the move was imminent.

The same report suggests that Apple has "invested in research and development for baseband modem chips," with the possibility of a future dumping of both Qualcomm and Intel technologies in the iPhone. This development is thought to be at least two years away, however, with Apple needing "a minimum one thousand engineers to work on such a project."

Apple's poaching of employees from AU Optronics, plus personnel from Taiwan's primary display driver chip manufacturer Novatek is evidence that Apple is looking to control touch screen technologies as well, according to the Nikkei Asian Review.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 159
    smalmsmalm Posts: 636member
    Apple replacing Intel with ARM? Must be the first time ever we hear about that  :p
    schlackrandominternetpersonasdasdThe_Martini_CatMisterKittdknoxtjwolfRacerhomieXalexismacplusplus
  • Reply 2 of 159
    Does this mean going back to the days of most programs being incompatible with Mac like with the Power PC? No bootcamp anymore? 
    baconstang
  • Reply 3 of 159
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 1,902administrator
    Does this mean going back to the days of most programs being incompatible with Mac like with the Power PC? No bootcamp anymore? 
    It would probably mean no BootCamp, yes. 

    At first glance it feels more like the 680x0 to PPC migration given Apple's control of Xcode now, more than the PPC to Intel one with the wide array of compilers and whatnot then, but we'll see, I guess. 
    randominternetpersonwatto_cobrarepressthis
  • Reply 4 of 159
    sog35 said:
    Here. We. Go.

    I think we will be seeing an iOS desktop very soon..

    Hopefully in 5 years Apple is almost 100% vertically integraded and does not have to rely on any vendor to provide parts.
    Welcome to seeing reports of all the hundreds (if not more) of patent lawsuits filed against Apple the day that this is announced especially in the Radio space where there are literally thousdands of applicable patents. Buying from Broadcom takes a lot of that pain away.
    This could tie Apple up in legal knots for years and years. Sometimes it is cheaper and easier just to pay Broadcom.

    I'd also expect real estate prices in East Texas (close to the courthouse) will rise significantly if Apple does this.
    baconstang
  • Reply 5 of 159
    MacProMacPro Posts: 16,938member
    Does this mean going back to the days of most programs being incompatible with Mac like with the Power PC? No bootcamp anymore? 
    My guess would be there will be two types of Macs for a few years, with and without Intel.
    hmurchisonbigpicsasdasdRacerhomieXwelshdogAvieshekrepressthis
  • Reply 6 of 159
    jdgazjdgaz Posts: 220member
    sog35 said:
    Here. We. Go.

    I think we will be seeing an iOS desktop very soon..

    Hopefully in 5 years Apple is almost 100% vertically integraded and does not have to rely on any vendor to provide parts.
    Maybe not rely on a vendor for designs. Still need reliable manufacturers who are shrinking the topology.
    bigpicsRacerhomieX
  • Reply 7 of 159
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 3,150member
    sog35 said:
    Does this mean going back to the days of most programs being incompatible with Mac like with the Power PC? No bootcamp anymore? 
    who cares about Window's programs? Very few.

    If Apple releases an A-chip desktop for $199-$299 they will sell a boat load of them.  And devs will be forced to bring over their Apps to A-chip desktop platform.
    What, in Apple’s history, makes you think they’re going to release a Desktop Netbook?
    asdasdbaconstangrepressthis80s_Apple_Guy
  • Reply 8 of 159
    Many of us old beards on AI have been saying this for years. ARM Marklar makes sense.  I don’t see Intel based Macs going away but I see them being primarily used for the high end. 
    baconstangwelshdog
  • Reply 9 of 159
    maybe will run OS + Apple Apps on ARM for reduced power draw initially while having an intel chip for other apps. Companies will eventually WANT to optimize their code for the ARM chip because it will offer power and performance advantages over the Intel chip after the first couple generations (the performance ramp for the A chips is much greater than the Intel chips).
  • Reply 10 of 159
    sog35 said:
    Here. We. Go.

    I think we will be seeing an iOS desktop very soon..

    Hopefully in 5 years Apple is almost 100% vertically integraded and does not have to rely on any vendor to provide parts.
    Welcome to seeing reports of all the hundreds (if not more) of patent lawsuits filed against Apple the day that this is announced especially in the Radio space where there are literally thousdands of applicable patents. Buying from Broadcom takes a lot of that pain away.
    This could tie Apple up in legal knots for years and years. Sometimes it is cheaper and easier just to pay Broadcom.

    I'd also expect real estate prices in East Texas (close to the courthouse) will rise significantly if Apple does this.
    The “venue shopping” type of lawsuits commonly filed in Texas are going to disappear. Apparently you missed this huge development.

    http://fortune.com/2017/05/22/texas-patent-supreme-court/
    hmurchisonRayz2016mwhitetdknoxmacplusplusrepressthis
  • Reply 11 of 159
    smalm said:
    Apple replacing Intel with ARM? Must be the first time ever we hear about that  :p
    What you missing here is stats on how Apple A-chips started to perform recently. Combining that with the fact that Intel is kind of stagnant and Apple doing its own R&D on their own A-chips, I think they will get there eventually. They are not happy with the fact that some company have their IP in Apple's products which they can sell to other companies too. 
    leealmightyrepressthis
  • Reply 12 of 159
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 3,150member
    sog35 said:
    Here. We. Go.

    I think we will be seeing an iOS desktop very soon..

    Hopefully in 5 years Apple is almost 100% vertically integraded and does not have to rely on any vendor to provide parts.
    Welcome to seeing reports of all the hundreds (if not more) of patent lawsuits filed against Apple the day that this is announced especially in the Radio space where there are literally thousdands of applicable patents. Buying from Broadcom takes a lot of that pain away.
    This could tie Apple up in legal knots for years and years. Sometimes it is cheaper and easier just to pay Broadcom.

    I'd also expect real estate prices in East Texas (close to the courthouse) will rise significantly if Apple does this.
    The “venue shopping” type of lawsuits commonly filed in Texas are going to disappear. Apparently you missed this huge development.

    http://fortune.com/2017/05/22/texas-patent-supreme-court/
    Wow. 

    A step forward by the looks of it. 
  • Reply 13 of 159
    sog35 said:
    Imagine a desktop running on A-chips?

    They would be amazing. And amazingly cheap.

    Throw a A11 and 128GB in a small package.  You basically have a PC replacement for $199.

    **Come on TIMMY. CHANGE THE GAME.**

    A cheap $199-$299 Apple A-class desktop would DOMINATE the home/office PC market. 
    How would this happen? The cheapest iPad is $329.

    You can't be an aspirational brand with bargain basement pricing.

    Don't confuse dominating a market with dominating that market's profits.
    mike1calibigpicsasdasdlostkiwilarryabaconstangwatto_cobrarepressthis80s_Apple_Guy
  • Reply 14 of 159
    Rayz2016 said:
    sog35 said:
    Does this mean going back to the days of most programs being incompatible with Mac like with the Power PC? No bootcamp anymore? 
    who cares about Window's programs? Very few.

    If Apple releases an A-chip desktop for $199-$299 they will sell a boat load of them.  And devs will be forced to bring over their Apps to A-chip desktop platform.
    What, in Apple’s history, makes you think they’re going to release a Desktop Netbook?
    To me, nothing. And if they do, I'd start to worry about Apple.
  • Reply 15 of 159
    sog35 said:
    Does this mean going back to the days of most programs being incompatible with Mac like with the Power PC? No bootcamp anymore? 
    who cares about Window's programs? Very few.

    If Apple releases an A-chip desktop for $199-$299 they will sell a boat load of them.  And devs will be forced to bring over their Apps to A-chip desktop platform.
    I have to agree with you here.  I wonder what percentage of Mac purchases EVER run a Windows program.  2% maybe?  Lower?
  • Reply 16 of 159
    Many of us old beards on AI have been saying this for years. ARM Marklar makes sense.  I don’t see Intel based Macs going away but I see them being primarily used for the high end. 
    Agree.

    macOS + Intel => High-end computing
    iOS + ARM => mainstream computing.

    In other words, I see Apple positioning the iPad Pro as the "ARM-based Mac".
    RacerhomieXGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 17 of 159
    sog35 said:
    Does this mean going back to the days of most programs being incompatible with Mac like with the Power PC? No bootcamp anymore? 
    who cares about Window's programs? Very few.

    If Apple releases an A-chip desktop for $199-$299 they will sell a boat load of them.  And devs will be forced to bring over their Apps to A-chip desktop platform.

    They're going to release a full desktop for less than their cheapest iPad?  Your math is off.
    asdasdcornchipwatto_cobrarepressthis
  • Reply 18 of 159
    sog35 said:
    Here. We. Go.

    I think we will be seeing an iOS desktop very soon..

    Hopefully in 5 years Apple is almost 100% vertically integraded and does not have to rely on any vendor to provide parts.
    Welcome to seeing reports of all the hundreds (if not more) of patent lawsuits filed against Apple the day that this is announced especially in the Radio space where there are literally thousdands of applicable patents. Buying from Broadcom takes a lot of that pain away.
    This could tie Apple up in legal knots for years and years. Sometimes it is cheaper and easier just to pay Broadcom.

    I'd also expect real estate prices in East Texas (close to the courthouse) will rise significantly if Apple does this.
    The “venue shopping” type of lawsuits commonly filed in Texas are going to disappear. Apparently you missed this huge development.

    http://fortune.com/2017/05/22/texas-patent-supreme-court/
    Unfortunately, I believe you're misinterpreting that ruling.  Apple has a legal presence in Texas, so they are fair game to be sued there.  If Apple were some mom-and-pop company without stores and employees in Texas, it would be a different story.
    baconstang
  • Reply 19 of 159
    bsimpsen said:
    sog35 said:
    Imagine a desktop running on A-chips?

    They would be amazing. And amazingly cheap.

    Throw a A11 and 128GB in a small package.  You basically have a PC replacement for $199.

    **Come on TIMMY. CHANGE THE GAME.**

    A cheap $199-$299 Apple A-class desktop would DOMINATE the home/office PC market. 
    How would this happen? The cheapest iPad is $329.

    You can't be an aspirational brand with bargain basement pricing.

    Don't confuse dominating a market with dominating that market's profits.
    I'm not betting on this happening, but the price estimates aren't outrageous.  An Apple TV is $200 and it's essentially a ARM-powered PC.  Could Apple sell a $300 desktop in 5 years (without monitor, keyboard, etc.)?  No doubt.
  • Reply 20 of 159
    brucemcbrucemc Posts: 1,315member
    sog35 said:
    Here. We. Go.

    I think we will be seeing an iOS desktop very soon..

    Hopefully in 5 years Apple is almost 100% vertically integraded and does not have to rely on any vendor to provide parts.
    Welcome to seeing reports of all the hundreds (if not more) of patent lawsuits filed against Apple the day that this is announced especially in the Radio space where there are literally thousdands of applicable patents. Buying from Broadcom takes a lot of that pain away.
    This could tie Apple up in legal knots for years and years. Sometimes it is cheaper and easier just to pay Broadcom.

    I'd also expect real estate prices in East Texas (close to the courthouse) will rise significantly if Apple does this.
    Yeah...Apple is pretty clueless about product development, so they probably have no idea what to do here, and will just blindly leap into it...
    StrangeDayswatto_cobrarepressthis
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