Will Apple Move Away From Intel in the Future?
June 6th, 2005 — Apple announced that it would be transitioning away from the PowerPC processors in favor of Intel processors. The decision to go with Intel could be considered the most important move Apple has ever made in the grand scheme of things. For the first time in a long time, the Macintosh was competitive in the marketplace, at least in terms of both hardware and software.
Now, Apple is designing its own processors for its mobile line of products (iPhone/iPad) based on the ARM architecture. The latest Apple designed chip is the A5 the successor to the A4. Both chips are manufactured by Samsung. These are both great processors and there is plenty of room for evolution. However, they are already very fast, in fact, the iPad 2 is approximately only 4.5 times slower than a mid 2009 MacBook Pro. You can see for yourself here with the benchmarks (iPad 2, MacBook Pro). That’s impressive.
So the question now is, when will Apple start using these ARM-based processors in their Mac computers? Surely, they need to be a little faster first and it would most likely be a gradual transition. Perhaps start off with the MacBook or the Mac Mini and work up from there as these processors get faster. According to the WSJ, ARM is already planning to move into the desktop computing arena and they have high hopes they can compete with Intel as well.
Even Microsoft has announced that it will support ARM-based processors in its next version of Windows. Which means that these ARM-based chips could see the light of day in the PC market too. The train is rolling people. It just needs another big push to be going at full steam.
Additionally, now may be the time to invest in ARM Holdings, if they are successful in making headway in the desktop processor market it will be huge for them. It will also be huge for Apple who has invested a lot of money into the company.
The most interesting part to all of this is that I started this article March 13th (though I’m just getting around to finishing it) and just 2-3 days later the WSJ is coming out with these reports. So if this happens, I’ll be the first one to say I told you so.