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Apple Dumping Intel For ARM Chips In Laptops?

On Friday, reports surfaced that Apple officials have decided to dump Intel processors for ARM-based solutions in its upcoming MacBooks and MacBook Pros-- and possibly even Mac desktops. The transition, stated as a "done deal" by unnamed insiders, won't take place immediately, but is expected to happen "as soon as possible"-- probably in mid-2013.

According to sources, Apple is waiting for ARM architecture to move beyond the 32-bit architecture, possibly holding off for the company's upcoming Cortex-A15 processor design which is expected to hit the market in late 2012 or later. Nvidia's own ARM-based Project Denver processor, which integrates the CPU and GPU onto one die, is expected to launch in the same timeframe and will also use a 64-bit instruction set. There's speculation that Apple's plan and Nvidia's release is not a coincidence.

For Apple, moving to ARM chips would mean it would have a consistent processor architecture across all of its products. Currently the company is using Intel chips in its desktops and laptops, but ARM-based solutions in the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad tablets. The move could also signify a possible attempt to follow Microsoft's footsteps and develop one operating system that can be used across different form factors-- to offer the same OS on the iPad, iPhone, MacBook and Mac desktop.

Then again, so far ARM chips have yet to prove themselves in the PC market, remaining the dominant solution only in the mobile sector. Yet research firm IDC recently stated that it expects ARM to own 13-percent of the PC processor market by 2015. That market shift is expected to be steered by Microsoft's modular Windows 8 which could be released as early as next year.

Speculation of Apple's move to ARM arrives just days after Intel revealed its Tri-Gate transistor design which will begin to appear in 22-nm "Ivy Bridge" chips later on this year, or in Q1 2012. The new 3D transistor structure will enable Intel to increase performance while decreasing the overall chip size, power consumption and leakage. These chips are expected to put Intel in a better position to aggressively compete with ARM in the mobile sector while retaining the x86 architecture.

  • AMD is dead. But Intel's x86 vs ARM based CPUs will certainly be something to drive the research up and prices down.
    Reply
  • Tomtompiper
    I love saying I told you so!
    Reply
  • fir_ser
    Anything is possible these days, and as it appears competition is just intensifying. I hope the biggest winner will be us the consumers.
    Reply
  • Well, I always used to chant, strongARM! and it looks like it is finally happening!
    Reply
  • falchard
    I think Apple switching to ARM processors is a clear sign that Apple no longer wishes to hide the fact their systems lack computational power.
    Reply
  • NightLight
    yeah, good luck with that
    Reply
  • tomasf
    earlier this week the news was that Intel was going to produce the chips for the Ipad.
    Reply
  • pelov
    NeuralSystemAMD is dead. But Intel's x86 vs ARM based CPUs will certainly be something to drive the research up and prices down.
    what? haha. how many years have people been saying AMD is dead? they've been recording decent profits lately, I'm sure they'd appreciate you informing them there's no reason to come in to work any longer.

    falchardI think Apple switching to ARM processors is a clear sign that Apple no longer wishes to hide the fact their systems lack computational power.

    ^^ this. I think apple wants to make a seamless transition between phone>tablet>notebook>desktop, and they don't mind losing programs and computational power to do so. Hell... they ran on RISC architecture w/o x86 before, why not now?
    Reply
  • PudgyChicken
    Wow. Who really cares. This is all speculation. All you're doing is giving some ignorant Apple fanboy a boner. Cause everybody knows x86 and x86_64> ARM. No matter which way you cut it. ARM can survive in two places- the mobile device sector, and the server sector, where low power consumption is necessary. I can't see ARM being big in the consumer PC market- there's not enough beef. And programs would have to be recompiled to run on the different architecture, giving devs everywhere a nice headache. Not really feasible.
    Reply
  • psychotek71
    Amd can't be dead as there jumping in to bed with arm to
    we will see though ....
    Reply