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Report: Apple Considering Switch Away from Intel CPUs

By - Source: Bloomberg | B 71 comments

Will Apple design its own chips for its Mac computers?

Apple is said to be considering a move that would see the company step away from Intel and towards its own solution for processors in its Mac computers. Bloomberg cites people familiar with the company’s research that say Apple is exploring ways to replace Intel processors with a version of the chip technology it uses in the iPhone and iPad.

Apple has been using Intel chips for the last seven years but its mobile devices have been powered by its own solutions for two and a half years. According to Bloomberg's sources, Apple engineers are confident that the chip will eventually be powerful enough to run its desktops and laptops. Though it's not going to happen in the immediate future, Bloomberg's sources believe it's only a matter of time.

Apple debuted it's first custom chip in the form of the Apple A4, which powered the original iPad and later the iPhone 4, in 2010. A year later, the company introduced the A5, which powered the iPad 2, the iPhone 4S, and the fifth generation iPhone touch. The third generation iPad is based on the A5X, while the fourth generation tablet, released just last month, is based on the A6X. The iPhone 5 runs on a regular A6 chip.

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Top Comments
  • 29 Hide
    samuelspark , November 6, 2012 1:44 PM
    I was hoping they'd be switching to AMD. They need the money.
  • 27 Hide
    digiex , November 6, 2012 1:51 PM
    Go Apple, do it, and it will seal the doom of the Mac.
  • 21 Hide
    Cryio , November 6, 2012 1:58 PM
    Yeah Apple. Be a good lad and go with AMD, and save the industry.

    ARM whatever won't even get near the same performance Intel or AMD can give you.
Other Comments
    Display all 71 comments.
  • 21 Hide
    yialanliu , November 6, 2012 1:41 PM
    Didn't they try that before and it failed?
  • 29 Hide
    samuelspark , November 6, 2012 1:44 PM
    I was hoping they'd be switching to AMD. They need the money.
  • 20 Hide
    zzz_b , November 6, 2012 1:50 PM
    Isn't an ARM core inside these chips? If yes, they are licesing it, not developing it.
  • 11 Hide
    steve360 , November 6, 2012 1:50 PM
    ARM finding new ways to get under Intel's skin?
  • 13 Hide
    eternalkp , November 6, 2012 1:51 PM
    what are they doing at apple?
  • 27 Hide
    digiex , November 6, 2012 1:51 PM
    Go Apple, do it, and it will seal the doom of the Mac.
  • 11 Hide
    ohim , November 6, 2012 1:51 PM
    So here comes another software incompatibility on MACs.. first from the move from Power PC to Intel CPU now this :) , ofc they will charge money again for the new software and god knows what for hardware.
  • 20 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , November 6, 2012 1:52 PM
    They wont be able to make x86 compatible hardware. Intel wont license that.
    They can make only ARM chips. Added advantage : OSX for ARM incompatible with x86 hardware. So people who want new OS, have to buy new hardware.
    EPIC WIN
  • 21 Hide
    Anonymous , November 6, 2012 1:53 PM
    Once upon a time the Motorola 68000 series compared very favorably to their 286/386/486 contemporaries, and the early IBM PowerPCs could beat the Pentiums clock for clock, but the architecture started to fall behind around the year 2000 and was so thoroughly obsolete by 2006 that Apple had no choice but to go x86.

    Today, however, Apple really doesn't care about performance. The new desktop with an iPad CPU in it would have a brushed aluminium case, a glowing LED Apple logo, and millions of people will happily shell out $3000 for it even if it takes half an hour to open a .jpg
  • 6 Hide
    Northwestern , November 6, 2012 1:54 PM
    Motorola 68xxx -> PowerPC -> x86 -> ?
  • 7 Hide
    xenol , November 6, 2012 1:56 PM
    Will whatever Apple makes be able to handle multi-media editing? If they're going the ARM route, I don't think its architecture has enough performance for real-time editing. Unless they make an APU.

    Just a thought.
  • 11 Hide
    tolham , November 6, 2012 1:56 PM
    buy AMD -> invest $10B in R&D -> dethrone intel.
  • 21 Hide
    Cryio , November 6, 2012 1:58 PM
    Yeah Apple. Be a good lad and go with AMD, and save the industry.

    ARM whatever won't even get near the same performance Intel or AMD can give you.
  • 6 Hide
    cscott_it , November 6, 2012 2:00 PM
    CryioYeah Apple. Be a good lad and go with AMD, and save the industry.ARM whatever won't even get near the same performance Intel or AMD can give you.


    This is true - the move from PPC to x86 was painless because of the huge increase in performance from their old architecture to x86. Unfortunately, it will be a very painful and poor performance path. If I know Apple, they may not even include an x86 emulator and tell users to learn to love it.
  • 11 Hide
    bigdragon , November 6, 2012 2:03 PM
    I saw this coming. I've posted about it on here before. Apple loves the idea of going vertical with their business. They want to control the supply chain in addition to the sales channels they currently operate with their digital and physical stores. I would not be surprised at all to see Apple move away from Intel in the next 5 years. They don't care so much about performance anymore. It's all about battery life and design these days.
  • 13 Hide
    blakbird24 , November 6, 2012 2:05 PM
    If Apple ditches x86, you can officially mark the event as the day Apple started it's journey away from world-class tech company back to niche tech company (what they once were). It'll be a nice tidy, uniform, pretty ecosystem, that will sell to a limited group of very loyal users.

    It's looking increasingly like Apple is destined to return to the company it was in the 90's, only with today's tech (mobile devices) as it's bread and butter.
  • 6 Hide
    Anonymous , November 6, 2012 2:09 PM
    Then I will continue with Windows machines as my current computer is super fast hackintosh at half price of mackintosh
  • -7 Hide
    audiophillia , November 6, 2012 2:11 PM
    Is ever single Apple article comment section on Tomshardware a circle jerk of Apple haters?
  • 6 Hide
    wemakeourfuture , November 6, 2012 2:11 PM
    zzz_bIsn't an ARM core inside these chips? If yes, they are licesing it, not developing it.


    They license like other vendors ARM's architecture but then make changes to it with their engineering team to make something slightly different.
  • -6 Hide
    teh_chem , November 6, 2012 2:11 PM
    x86 is no longer a push-point. With so many cloud-based services for satisfying most general uses, x86 programs are less and less relevant. Not entirely, of course, and not relevant to the enthusiast/niche users (graphical processing, rendering, etc.).

    Regardless, this is nothing more than a rumor. If Apple is migrating away from x86-based processors/systems, I expect it won't be for quite some time still.
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