A report by Bloomberg suggests that Apple is planning an eventual conversion of its home computing devices to a new processor. Future iterations of iMacs and MacBooks may no longer run on Intel chips, as Apple believes its own, ARM-based mobile processors may prove to be a viable option in the near future.
Intel has been providing chips for Macs since 2005, but Apple's growing confidence that mobile processors “will one day be powerful enough to run its desktops and laptops,” may put an end to this relationship.
The growing similarities in the architecture of smartphones and home computers does seem to support this theory, and the rise of tablet computing has further blurred the distinction between the phone and the laptop.
Bloomberg credited sources “familiar with the relationship,” who asserted that Intel’s inability to provide lower-power chips that can integrate into thinner, lighter products is a particular sticking point for Apple. One source spoke of a series of meetings between Apple and Intel executives, which left the former party unconvinced that its current CPU supplier can best service its ongoing design strategy.
If Apple do go through with the processor switch, it would mean that all of its devices will be running on the same chip platform. This will result in a greater unification of devices, according to the Cupertino-based firm's senior vice president of software engineering, Craig Federghi, as the shared architecture will provide a “more integrated experience”across Apple’s range of disparate devices.
Intel will be hoping that this rumour remains unsubstantiated, as the loss of such a high profile client may instigate a domino effect.
“Apple is a trendsetter, and once they did their own chip many others may pursue a similar path,” said Gartner analyst Sergis Mushell to Bloomberg.