It looks increasingly likely that Apple has finally opted to flex its muscles and develop its own custom ARM core, not unlike Qualcomm.
Doing so will initially allow Apple to differentiate its future products more easily compared to rivals such as Samsung, Nvidia or TI, by delivering delicately balanced system-on-chip solutions for its own products, rather than using off-the-shelf technology as was the case for the first three generations of iPhone.
But there’s more to the move than just the iPhone and the iPad. Apple’s move almost certainly carries a much bigger vision, one where the Cupertino-based company controls everything: the hardware, software and the ecosystem - either through patents, or by being the single biggest customer of any of its partners (as it is the case for Samsung Semiconductors).
And Apple’s audacity and boldness means that Intel is likely to be booted out entirely of Apple’s product line in the medium term, with Nvidia and AMD following.
Apple already has a significant stake in Imagination Technologies, the British company that develops PowerVR - which equips Apple’s iDevices. Although they are not as powerful as their desktop counterparts yet, things could change in a near future.
Even more worrying for Intel is the spectre of seeing others following Apple, developing their own system on chip solutions and using them extensively in their own products.
Apple could be the trigger and the catalyst for a move towards ARM at the expense of x86, a trend that could fuel the rise of standalone chip makers like TSMC or Global Foundries.
Samsung is very well placed to do that, ditto for Panasonic, which has an ARM License, Toshiba, Sony and a few others. As for other traditional Intel partners, Dell and HP have already announced that they will bring ARM-based servers to the market and given the choice between a WinARM partnership versus an Inteldroid pairing, we suspect that many would opt for the former.