“If Apple Inc. really dumps Intel Corp. as its provider of chips for the Macintosh family of computers, the move could be a harbinger of things to come for the PC industry and bad news for the semiconductor giant,” Therese Poletti reports for MarketWatch. “To make the switch Apple would develop its own custom designs based on ARM Holdings Inc. technology and have a contract manufacturer like Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. make them. If Apple starts to design its own chips for the Mac, others could follow. Intel’s shares were hit by the news.”

Poletti reports, “Such a move by Apple would be a huge undertaking, since switching a core processor as the heart of hardware is not merely an instance of popping one semiconductor out for a replacement chip, or a supply chain switch for Apple. The company would also have to rewrite its Mac operating system to run with the ARM architecture, as it did when it moved from the PowerPC chip family to Intel. Apple’s recent management shakeup and the discussion of more collaboration between hardware and software units, has also fueled some of this speculation.”

Poletti reports, “Sergis Mushell, an analyst with Gartner Inc., does not believe that Apple would convert the entire Macintosh line to an ARM-based design. ‘I don’t see a world where they would discontinue a product line just to produce their own chip,’ Mushell said. ‘They would do it where and when it makes sense.’”

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