System-on-chips based on Arm instruction set architecture now command a 14% market share, but they are poised to at least double their share in several years, reports Counterpoint Research. Analysts note two main advantages that Arm-powered SoCs have over their x86 counterparts for now: lower overall power consumption and customization enabling richer features and higher performance.
Arm-based SoCs will command a 15% notebook processor revenue share of this year, but their share could increase to 25% in 2027. Meanwhile, Intel's share will decrease from 68% this year to 60% in 2027, whereas AMD's share will drop from 16.7% to 14.4%.
Nowadays, the vast majority (90%) of Arm-based notebooks come from Apple, limiting their growth as Microsoft's Windows is the world's most popular operating system. However, Counterpoint believes that once Qualcomm develops competitive Arm SoCs compatible with Windows, Arm's market share in the PC world will increase.
Arm-based SoCs have several benefits over x86 CPUs, such as reduced power consumption and better thermal management. Designed with energy efficiency in mind, these SoCs can be tailored to specific power needs, making them perfect for mobile devices and laptops where battery life is vital. Also, Arm-based SoCs can integrate a larger number of high-performance CPU cores and tightly integrated memory, something that not all x86 CPUs can offer. In addition, custom cores in these SoCs provide advanced features that off-the-shelf x86 processor cores do not offer these days, leading to enhanced hardware and operating system integration, the analysts note.
Also, Counterpoint mentions the built-in AI capabilities of Apple's SoCs and believes that those capabilities can be used for such workloads as image and video encoding and compression, noise cancellation, image recognition and vocal enhancement.
Counterpoint Research believes large PC vendors can introduce custom Arm SoCs tailored to their needs and featuring differentiation. For example, lower-power Arm processors can be used to build tablet-notebook hybrids that are lighter and longer lasting compared to today's 2-in-1 and convertibles.
As more makers with knowledge of Arm SoCs enter the market (e.g., smartphone suppliers), they contribute their know-how in Arm-based hardware and software, further enhancing the appeal of Arm-based PCs. The growing availability of native Arm-based applications will also improve user comfort and familiarity with the platform. The shift towards Arm-based PCs is anticipated to persist, and their market share is projected to rise substantially in the upcoming years.
What is noteworthy is that for now, Counterpoint Research makes no predictions about Arm adoption by desktops. While Arm SoCs have an indisputable advantage for laptops, desktops have different requirements. For example, they take advantage of high performance, and power consumption is not always crucial for desktops. Therefore, whether Arm will gain a significant share of the desktop space remains to be seen.
Assuming every macOS user switches to Apple Silicon by 2027, you only need 8.1% of all Windows + ChromeOS + Linux laptops on Arm's ISA in 2027 to make this estimate true.
11 out of every 12 Windows + ChromeOS + Linux combined laptops will run x86 by 2027. That doesn't sound unreasonable at all. If macOS loses a few users due to the Arm ISA transition (doubt it), say 10 out of every 12.
Most people that own an ultra-thin laptop (the vast majority of all laptops sold) aren't running obscure, intensive, or ancient x86 software. Virtually everything Microsoft is already Arm native + the browser / Electron takes care of the rest.
1 out of 12 Windows+ChromeOS+Linux doesn't seem that hard in four years.
Just enthusiasts / mobile workstation / gamers are tied to AMD & Intel x86. Everyone else has options.
And not to mention: that's assuming Windows loses zero market share to macOS by 2027. That's very unlikely, unfortunately for Microsoft.
If Windows doesn't stop its slow decline, it might hold only ~63% global desktop + laptop usage share by 2027. Windows is already down to 55% in the US alone.
Global OS desktop + laptop usage:
United States OS desktop + laptop usage:
Same market research firm, making virtually the same prediction, just 2 months prior. So, what happened? Did they publish a slight update?
Reads like marketing copy. Mostly unfounded, as far as I'm aware. There's no reason x86 can't integrate memory like Apple has done. And what are these "advanced features" that x86 lacks? Intel has integrated AI acceleration for a few generations, already. AMD is joining them, in their upcoming Phoenix generation.
And what's this about "enhanced hardware and operating system integration"? Is that something about Apple, because they make both the hardware and software? If that was the thinking, then it's really a point about Apple and doesn't generalize much to ARM SoCs writ large. Otherwise, I think we need some explicit examples.
I was pretty accepting of the previous article, but now I'm starting to smell a rat. Just who is Counterpoint Research and can we be sure they weren't paid or otherwise incentivized to publish this report by ARM? There's an utter lack of journalistic skepticism, in this article.
Windows 11 has support for running x86-64 on ARM. Windows 10 was limited to 32-bit apps, but they finished 64-bit support about a year ago and decided to tie it to Win 11. I'd suggest looking for reviews of a Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 laptop, like Lenovo X13s, if you want to read impressions of how well it works.
They already have, with the lone exception of Mac Pro. That's set to be replaced by an ARM-based version, this year.
Also, I'm sure these are sales numbers, and don't include current installed base. So, it's no matter if a subset of Mac users are still clinging to their old x86 models, by then.
BTW, did you find a source for StatCounter's data? I haven't seen any, which makes me skeptical.
Not to mention there's barely any RISC-V penetration even in the phone market, as far as I'm aware. It'll take time for RISC-V to mature and grow into the laptop segment. It will probably happen, not least because of China, but it will probably take closer to a decade, before it can actually outpace ARM, in the global or western markets.
Non Sequitor Alert!
Note ikjadoon's observations (quoted below here) Windows has been in decline ever since XP. Something with a 15 year record of decline is hard to be placed in the "most popular" category.
Microsoft Windows is the world's most used operating system, and that is all there is. Linux/Chrome is slowly approaching double digits, Macintoshes are the clear undisputed winner here.