Intel also hearing rumors Apple testing MacBooks based on own A-series chip

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
An Intel executive said this week it would be foolish to ignore reports that Apple is considering switching some of its Macs away from Intel's mainstream processors and towards its own A-series of mobile chips because it's been hearing the same rumors.



Asked about ARM and Apple's potential use of its A series of ARM processors in future MacBooks, Greg Welch, director of Intel's Ultrabook group, told CNet News.com that the chip maker is taking the threat seriously, and hopes to continue to innovate its way into Apple's product portfolio.



"We hear the same rumors and it would be remiss of us to be dismissive," he said. "We endeavor to innovate so they'll continue to look to us as a supplier."



The comment, which came at the end of a Q&A session on Intel's fledgeling Ultrabook slim notebook initiative, appears to lend support to claims from a few months ago that Apple built a test Thunderbolt MacBook Air around the same A5 chip found in the iPad 2 and found that the system performed "better than expected."



For Apple, a move away from generally-available, off-the-shelf CPUs and towards its own breed of proprietary designs would not only afford it more control over product release schedules and its intellectual property, but it would also pave the way for the Mac maker to introduce new patent-protected features on its Mac line that rivals would have trouble reproducing for their own designs.



Similarly, the company wouldn't need to compete with competitors for its supply of processors and would have more flexibility to fine-tune battery and overall performance, delivering even more of the features to the Mac line that have seen its iOS devices top the ranks of consumer satisfaction surveys for years.







Through its acquisitions of Intrinsity and P.A. Semi, Apple last year introduced the its first ARM-based A-series chip -- the A4 -- inside its iPad and iPhone 4. It then rapidly followed up earlier this year with the iPad 2's A5-chip, which features dual-core graphics and processor cores. An A6 chip expected to power the iPad 3 in early 2012 has just entered trial production, though no details on its design have yet to surface.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 130
    No more BootCamp ?
  • Reply 2 of 130
    sda3sda3 Posts: 7member
    While this would undoubtably increase the efficiency of the macbook computers it would also alienate millions of us that still on a rare occasion have to run windows. I probably only spend about 10% of my time using windows but there are still things that I have to have it for. If apple went to a proprietary chip myself, and I am sure millions of others would be stuck going back to windows only PCs.
  • Reply 3 of 130
    zindakozindako Posts: 468member
    I'm worried about the implications this would cause for installing windows on a mac computer. I'm all for it though, Apple has some really talented people that can probably produce a laptop class processor with the power performances of a mobile processor.



    Not to mention, in my humble opinion, the iPad pc's are testament to Apple putting their design theories in the real world, the performance of the iPad computers are very good, and Apple will continue to scale and design them to be on par with desktop class chips. Why not use them to replace their chips found in macbooks.
  • Reply 4 of 130
    I hope Apple can succeed in creating their own chips, only if the performance of the machines are better than if they used chips from other manufacturers. Without better performance the Apple products will start to lag behind other manufacturers, which wouldn't be good for the future of Apple.



    I hope they decide to build their chips in the USA.
  • Reply 5 of 130
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,422member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleGreen View Post


    No more BootCamp ?



    He did say 'some of the Macs'. It would make sense for Apple to keep some Intel based Macs but the vast majority of users don't want Windows. Having said that I'd hope VMWare could come up with a VM for the new CPU for at the very least OS X itself as it has now on Intel (if not iOS in a VM ... might be fun - kind of like the iOS SDK).



    The extra control, tight integration and heck, profits, make this a no brainer for at least some Macs or 'other' Apple product yet to be revealed IMHO.
  • Reply 6 of 130
    sda3sda3 Posts: 7member
    It would be interesting to see this end up in the MacBook Air machines. I think that would be a great place for them.
  • Reply 7 of 130
    if apples decides to go away from the Intel chip set then it is time to dump the stock. It is of no surprise that soon after their adoption of Intel chip sets that their stock blew up. Because everyone can now run windows on their laptops no wonder.. duh. apple would just be shooting themselves in the foot. If Apple drops Intel , then you really should drop the stock.
  • Reply 8 of 130
    "I probably only spend about 10% of my time using windows"



    You should try of 0% as it is so nice to not have to look back.
  • Reply 9 of 130
    Apple is just killing it with their A series SoC.
  • Reply 10 of 130
    jexusjexus Posts: 373member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post


    I hope they decide to build their chips in the USA.



    Good joke
  • Reply 11 of 130
    What an incredibly dumb decision that would be.



    Better that Apple buy AMD and innovate the X86 architecture than to move to a wholly new platform.



    The whole idea of a Mac being able to run Windows is a key, if not the key selling point for purchasing a Mac over a Dell/HP machine, even if one rarely if ever boot into Windows via bootcamp or VM software. Its the idea that you lose nothing by buying into a Mac but you pay for the quality and flexibility.



    Apple needs to remember. Though the profits are low for the likes of Dell/HP/Lenovo, etc, the intel/windows machines outsell Macs by a wide margin. When Apple has a good quarter selling 5M macs, the Windows world will still sell 95M.
  • Reply 12 of 130
    copsecopse Posts: 64member
    Don't do it Apple!



    I really dont see the benefit for the end user.



    No more BootCamp, all software has to be re-coded to ARM arch. With Intel Core iX Sandy Bridge you have really nice speed and still OK batterytime.



    Did Apple forget the response they got when they moved from PPC to Intel x86?
  • Reply 13 of 130
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,746member
    This would be a concern for me. While I think OSX truly blows Windows out of the water, I use my MBA alongside Windows7 via VMWare at the office. I don't think folks using Windows on Macs is as rare as some folks think.



    I use Windows on my mac at least 8 hours a day. At home, I have it running on my late 09 iMac when having to work from home or use programs that have no OSX equivalent.



    So if Apple decides to go this route, I truly hope that they a migration path for those that have to use Windows. I think that was one of the best selling points of getting a Mac since it was really the only system that can run just about every x86 operating system out there.



    Windows emulation on the old PowerPC systems were horrible to say the least. I hope they don't go that route on the ARM side and are able to accommodate folks that have no choice but to use Windows on those occasions.
  • Reply 14 of 130
    zindakozindako Posts: 468member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by microtaint View Post


    if apples decides to go away from the Intel chip set then it is time to dump the stock. It is of no surprise that soon after their adoption of Intel chip sets that their stock blew up. Because everyone can now run windows on their laptops no wonder.. duh. apple would just be shooting themselves in the foot. If Apple drops Intel , then you really should drop the stock.



    I agree that Apple needs to support running windows on their computers, but maybe there will be a few computers limited to their A-series chips while supporting users with other systems to run windows.
  • Reply 15 of 130
    sda3sda3 Posts: 7member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by starwarrior View Post


    "I probably only spend about 10% of my time using windows"



    You should try of 0% as it is so nice to not have to look back.



    If only ESRI would release some OSX software then I could
  • Reply 16 of 130
    You know Windows 8 will have an ARM version. I know a lot of apps won't run at least to start off with but clearly if it takes off in the Windows world Apple must be ready as well. ARM chips might not be as fast but they are probably fast enough for browsing, writing documents, email, etc. They'll have the advantage of better battery life. So Apple cannot afford for MS laptops to have that kind of advantage over them.



    Also mean bootcamp can still hang around.
  • Reply 17 of 130
    This would kinda be shocking if it weren't for the fact that most people seem to forget that Windows 8 will run on ARM. Will you be able to run legacy software though? Probably not.



    Another thing is that the iPad 2 has 75% of the battery capacity of the 11" Air, but gets double the battery life. Considering what most people use their Mac for, there's no reason why the Air can't get 10 hrs for typical web browsing and e-mail. And most Mac App Store apps should be just a simple compile away from a Intel/ARM universal binary.
  • Reply 18 of 130
    zindakozindako Posts: 468member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Copse View Post


    Don't do it Apple!



    I really dont see the benefit for the end user.



    No more BootCamp, all software has to be re-coded to ARM arch. With Intel Core iX Sandy Bridge you have really nice speed and still OK batterytime.



    Did Apple forget the response they got when they moved from PPC to Intel x86?



    Yea, maybe their Macbook air's will be redesigned for the A-series chip, while keeping their macbook products intel based. I think that would be a viable setup, ultra power efficient macs, very light, ultra sleek, incredibly portable.
  • Reply 19 of 130
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Hey, Doom & Gloomers, remember MS has already stated Windows 8 will support ARM.
  • Reply 20 of 130
    zindakozindako Posts: 468member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dagamer34 View Post


    This would kinda be shocking if it weren't for the fact that most people seem to forget that Windows 8 will run on ARM. Will you be able to run legacy software though? Probably not. But you'll get some insane battery life though.



    Its true windows 8 will run on Arm chips, maybe this is coming full circle once windows 8 is widely adopted, shift Apple computers to run Arm-series chips.
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