“Often overlooked by Apple bears is the fact that Apple has become one of the largest semiconductor makers in the world,” Mark Hibben writes for Seeking Alpha. “Apple’s custom systems on chip (SOCs) power all its iOS devices and represent a $6 billion business on its own.”

“More importantly, Apple has created a technical discriminator that devices with commodity ARM processors have had difficulty matching,” Hibben writes. “The future of Apple’s semiconductor business is bright, as it forges SOCs to rival Intel’s best.”

“Apple’s ability to build lower-cost ARM SOCs with equal or better performance than Intel makes the economic imperative clear: Apple will be able to build Mac OS devices at lower cost and better performance with its own SOCs inside. These ARM-based Macs will also be lower retail cost higher margins: a win-win for Apple and consumers,” Hibben writes. “Up until now, I’ve been cautious about this issue, saying that I don’t think Apple has made a decision yet. I believed that the key milestone would be successful production of the next Apple SOC series at 14 nm. That production has almost certainly begun, based on Samsung’s impending release of the Galaxy S6, which uses its 14 nm Exynos SOC. With the passing of this critical gate, Apple’s decision to move on from Intel is straightforward, even obvious. I expect the first ARM-based Macs to appear in 2016.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: iOS devices and OS X Macs inevitably are going to grow closer over time, not just in hardware, but in software, too:

Think code convergence (more so than today) with UI modifications per device. A unified underlying codebase for Intel, Apple A-series, and, in Apple’s labs, likely other chips, too (just in case). This would allow for a single App Store for Mac, iPhone, and iPad users that features a mix of apps: Some that are touch-only, some that are Mac-only, and some that are universal (can run on both traditional notebooks and desktops as well as on multi-touch computers like iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and – pretty please, Apple – Apple TV). Don’t be surprised to see Apple A-series-powered Macs, either.MacDailyNews Take, January 9, 2014

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