WSJ: Apple considering the use of Intel chips in Macs

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
So I had on NPR's Morning Edition this morning and it was mentioned in brief that Apple and Intel execs had met to discuss a possible collaberation. There is some coverage of it on engadget

Quote:

From Engadget:

Okay, so given that this rumour flies around every once in a while and comes to naught. This time, though, apparently the speculation is based on some actual fact ? that executives from Apple and Intel have actually met to discuss the possibility of Apple using Intel chips in their product lines. Of course, there are no details on whether this might mean a complete shift away from IBM?s chips, some sort of gradual phasing-in and dual usage or perhaps adoption for use in some new, as yet unseen product line (like, say, an Apple tablet ? please?). Also not surprising ? no one at either company will confirm or deny the rumours. It could also be just another spin ?round the rumour mill once again, but we?ll keep our ears to the ground, all the same.



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 129
    flounderflounder Posts: 2,674member
    I think this story originates from the wall street journal.



    That's what macminute has anyways.
  • Reply 2 of 129
    AppleInsiderAppleInsider Posts: 41,629administrator
    Apple has been in talks with Intel over possibly using its chips in future Macintosh computers, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.



    The rumor revives memories of similar plans which took place back in 1992, when Apple allegedly ported its Mac OS 7 operating system to run on Intel hardware.



    The report cites two industry executives who claim knowledge of recent discussions between the companies. The sources said Apple was likely to use the Intel chips.



    Neither company would confirm the report and an Apple spokeswoman characterized the report as "rumor and speculation."



    It's currently unclear whether the purported move would mark a large-scale shift away from chips made by IBM. Instead, the Journal speculates that Apple could choose to add some Intel-based models to its product line or make a complete shift -- dealing a serious blow to IBM's microprocessor business.



    It's also speculated that a move to Intel would enable Apple to better compete with the likes of Dell in the pricing game. Apple has historically sold computers at a much higher price-point than its rivals, due mainly to its component costs.



    Of the estimated 200 million computers sold globally each year, Macs currently account for only about 3 million,
  • Reply 3 of 129
    eaieai Posts: 417member
    The Register has a good analysis (as always) of this news:
    Quote:

    More likely [...], this is another attempt on Apple's part to gain some leverage over IBM. Much as Dell occasionally lets slip it's talking to AMD - the better, it's believed, to encourage Intel to be more supportive - so Apple may seek to influence IBM by approaching other processor makers.



    Quote:

    There might have been a time when Apple could have gained some leverage by shipping Windows-based PCs alongside the Mac, but that time - if it ever existed at all - is long past. You need to be as big as Dell to make a good stab at it these days, hence the Compaq/HP and IBM/Lenovo mergers. That Apple is using cheap Mac hardware - the Mini - to attract Windows users rather than cool-looking Windows boxes, or a standalone version of Mac OS X for x86-based boxes is proof that it doesn't, for now, see a future in x86.



    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/05/23/apple_intel/
  • Reply 4 of 129
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,259member
    I doubt it would be for the desktop/portable line. Intel makes a lot more than just Pentium chips. Apple could be leveraging this for a new device in the future that is neither desktop nor portable. Intel is likely to have a microprocessor that meets this products needs.



    Of course I expect this thread to quickly de-evolve into discussion about Apple leaving IBM or "why didn't Apple choose the Athlon/Opteron series?"



    But I think it's quite obvious that IBM has a great roadmap ahead and that any Intel interest from Apple is for a product that doesn't run OS X.
  • Reply 5 of 129
    david_ocdavid_oc Posts: 90member
    Wasn't there a story a while back that Apple already use intel chips in the Xserve RAID?
  • Reply 6 of 129
    ajpriceajprice Posts: 320member
    Maybe its for a handheld/portable device (iPod video? iBook mini?), Intel make XScale processors for handhelds as well as Pentium chips. The OS on such a device might be a new OS, either iPod OS with fearures added, or OS X with features cut. I remember a thing a few months ago about a manufacturer making handheld/tablet size white box casings for apple, about 8" in size IIRC. Maybe this is it.
  • Reply 7 of 129
    phasorncphasornc Posts: 46member
    With Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo all working with IBM for their new gaming consoles, it seems that IBM will have critical mass to make it a long term CPU, player, it would seem like a very, very strange time for Apple to jump ship.
  • Reply 8 of 129
    splinemodelsplinemodel Posts: 7,311member
    Intel is a good company that's staffed by a lot of really smart people. There's a good chance that -- if this meeting was more than just a ruse -- Apple has no plans to use x86, but is learning about a next generation of Intel chips.



    Ultimately, I'd say that Intel is a better company than IBM. I don't imagine that Intel is just sitting around, twiddling it's corporate thumbs as IBM takes control of the console market and is positioning itself to take the desktop segment as well.
  • Reply 9 of 129
    aplnubaplnub Posts: 2,585member
    Any chance Intel could make a chip like the G5 so that software would not have to be redone giving Apple two choices?



    Even if Apple announced today that they were switching to intel, how often do you think we would see processor upgrades to the computer line? Maybe one extra update per update cyle but I can't imagine Apple upgrading processors every 3-6 months like Dell, gateway and the bunch. But I could be wrong of course.
  • Reply 10 of 129
    rickagrickag Posts: 1,626member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by aplnub

    Any chance Intel could make a chip like the G5 so that software would not have to be redone giving Apple two choices?



    That's the same question I have.



    Quote:

    Originally posted by aplnub Even if Apple announced today that they were switching to intel, how often do you think we would see processor upgrades to the computer line? Maybe one extra update per update cyle but I can't imagine Apple upgrading processors every 3-6 months like Dell, gateway and the bunch. But I could be wrong of course. [/B]



    If it's a drop in replacement, pin for pin compatible, why not?



    Though, I still would be shocked if Apple begins using Intel cpu's in their desktop line.
  • Reply 11 of 129
    I agree with the Register article, they hit the nail on the head. I would see a shift to AMD alot more plausible for Apple than a jump to Intel. Either way, recoding OS X for x86 and then having to rewrite all the apps for x86 seems way too far a stretch for me. Maybe Apple is looking to jump back into the PDA market and is looking at the Intel ARM chips for that. Steve Jobs was always fan of the Newton and the old Palm Pilots and said as much when he rejoined Apple.



    The only thing that makes that hard to believe is PDAs are somewhat a losing market nowadays, and I don't see Steve Jobs jumping into that market so late. Maybe an Apple Smart phone with iTunes support...



    Or maybe they're just trying to leverage IBM into not forgetting them in the midst of Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo jumping on the PowerPC bandwangon (finally)
  • Reply 12 of 129
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,259member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by phasornc

    With Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo all working with IBM for their new gaming consoles, it seems that IBM will have critical mass to make it a long term CPU, player, it would seem like a very, very strange time for Apple to jump ship.



    Or perhaps you should be thinking the "ship" is a new one.



    Quote:

    Ultimately, I'd say that Intel is a better company than IBM.



    Yes but IBM has better tech. I'm not paying more for a Mac because the outside is better. Apple better attempt to be as unique as they can be if they wish to justify their premium pricing. I want IBM technology or something better than the standard Intel far.



    But then again here we go talking about desktops when conventional wisdom has it that this is not a desktop/portable.



    Quote:

    Any chance Intel could make a chip like the G5 so that software would not have to be redone giving Apple two choices?



    No and why would Intel do that for Apple's piddly marketshare?



    The leverage theory is interesting and plausible given that once you pretty much depend on a single source you're at their mercy and whim as far as pricing goes. We'll see how this plays out but I don't think IBM is going to fall for the "we're moving to Intel" stuff. They know that Apple would lose likely %30 of their apps. That would be devastating.
  • Reply 13 of 129
    nowayout11nowayout11 Posts: 325member
    It may simply be like the Dell/AMD rumors that crop up once a month or so. Apple could have leaked this info so that they'd have more bargaining power with IBM.



    But if it makes sense to switch, then I say switch. Asus already makes great PC motherboards, and Intel makes good chips, usually. Apple could be faster and more nimble by removing special hardware engineering needs and focusing on their software.



    A x86 transition isn't as complicated as some seem to believe. At least Jobs doesn't think so, anytime he's asked at an earnings report, etc.
  • Reply 14 of 129
    9secondko9secondko Posts: 929member
    Itanium technology.



    This would be killer. Forget the Pentium stuff. IT is laughable compare the Athlon 64 and G5 right now. Apple likes the high end CPU deals.



    Designed from the ground up to be a 64 bit monster.



    Almost no software support nearly killed it.



    If Apple were to use it, performance would be very good. Along the lines of high end IBM tech.



    Other than that, please stay away from Intel. What a backwards step that would be. A deal with AMD would be better.



    I just hope they stay with IBM and IBM delivers 3ghz+ CPUs before years end.
  • Reply 15 of 129
    masonmcdmasonmcd Posts: 43member
    This is sillyness. The endian-ness of the Power line and Intel's chips are opposite. There is no direct corollary of Altivec, tens of thousands of apps wouldn't be binary compatible, etc. etc.



    There are only two scenarios I see:



    1. Apple and Intel are in talks for chips other than desktop (maybe iPod, maybe TiVO-like device), with future cooperation on desktop compatibility. This also helps Intel crawl out from under MS's thumb, so it's in their interest as well.



    2. Apple is rethinking Cocoa (Yellowbox) cross-platform compatibility. Throwing everything and the kitchen sink into carbon (and all of that is installed with either a quicktime for windows or iTunes for windows install), and licensing cocoa for x86 would solve most compatibility issues if using the more modern apps, and Intel chips.



    I give it a few more years until everyone is using either cocoa or a jam-packed carbon, with fat binaries that are compiled for either IBM Power or Intel.



    The sticking point is Altivec code and endian-ness.
  • Reply 16 of 129
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,259member
    Quote:

    But if it makes sense to switch, then I say switch. Asus already makes great PC motherboards, and Intel makes good chips, usually. Apple could be faster and more nimble by removing special hardware engineering needs and focusing on their software.



    Then we'd see no Mac mini or round motherboards like in the iMac G4. Apple becomes a commodity ATX case maker and dies. Why should I pay more for an Apple when it has the same motherboard and microprocessor? Doesn't make sense.



    Quote:

    A x86 transition isn't as complicated as some seem to believe. At least Jobs doesn't think so, anytime he's asked at an earnings report, etc.



    It took years before a majority of applications where PPC 601 native. Do you want to go through yet "another" change that would take years to complete. The OS X transition has been hard enough and Apple doesn't have the resources to do both PPC and X86 development.



    Transition to X86 makes less sense than it did a couple of years ago. Most peoples reason for wanting Marklar where



    1. "I want a cheaper mac"



    solution Mac mini



    2. "I want faster hardware"



    solution PowerPC G5



    3. "I want to build my computer"



    no solution.



    Moving to X86 isn't going to accomplish any of the goals that people want. It makes no sense.
  • Reply 17 of 129
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Splinemodel

    Intel is a good company that's staffed by a lot of really smart people. There's a good chance that -- if this meeting was more than just a ruse -- Apple has no plans to use x86, but is learning about a next generation of Intel chips.



    Ultimately, I'd say that Intel is a better company than IBM. I don't imagine that Intel is just sitting around, twiddling it's corporate thumbs as IBM takes control of the console market and is positioning itself to take the desktop segment as well.




    Exactly right. IBM having high-level meetings about the 970 family of CPUs years before the design was ever a rumor on the web.



    This is what you do in industry. You court potential partners amongst the competent players in the relevant sectors. Put out feelers, find out what people want, would like, and what they don't...



    Then three, four, five years down the line...
  • Reply 18 of 129
    playmakerplaymaker Posts: 511member
    I have to wonder weather or not Sony and Microsoft getting their gaming console chips from IBM is going to put Apple on the backburner and thus Apple would need to entertain other options. Lets face it IBM hasnt exactly been right on schedule with its updates or even with its supply. It's an interesting story none the less.
  • Reply 19 of 129
    outsideroutsider Posts: 6,008member
    I'm also thinking it might be for a PDA, Intel makes some impressive portable CPU's.
  • Reply 20 of 129
    shawkshawk Posts: 116member
    Intel builds ARM processors under license.

    The iPod uses an ARM processor.

    ARM announced a new design with extra DSP functions.

    Intel calls it the Xscale.

    Maybe Apple would like more DSP power in an iPod.
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