RUMOR: Apple’s next-gen Macs to get custom chipset architecture with little or no Intel inside

“A new generation of personal computers on the way from Apple Inc. may sport some of the most significant architectural changes since the Mac maker made the jump from PowerPC processors to those manufactured by Intel Corp.,” Kasper Jade reports for AppleInsider.

“As part of its move to Intel chips in early 2006, the Cupertino-based company largely abandoned its practice of using custom motherboard chipsets to support the primary CPU in its Macs. Instead, it began to rely on slightly tweaked versions of industry-standard chipsets offered by Intel to the broad range of PC manufacturers that develop Intel-powered systems,” Jade reports.

“However, with Apple striving to maintain Mac sales growth of more than two times the industry average, it’s again looking to differentiate the architecture of its personal computer systems through alternative technology that will afford it an advantage beyond the reach of its competition,” Jade reports.

“As such, people familiar with these plans say an upcoming generation of Macs, lead by a trio of redesigned notebooks, won’t adopt the Montevina chipset announced as part of Intel’s Centrino 2 mobile platform earlier this month. What’s more, those same people suggest the chipset employed by the new wave of Macs may have little or nothing to do with Intel at all,” Jade reports.

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: We are talking chipsets, not processors. Possibilities discussed in AppleInsider’s full article include Intel CPUs with Apple-designed proprietary chipsets and/or new relationship with AMD, NVidia or Via chipset makers.

Arnold Kim writes for MacRumors, “This does not mean that Apple will be moving away from Intel’s processors. The chipsets are simply the support chips required to interconnect the processor and the rest of the computer. Intel’s Montevina platform (now known as Centrino 2) consists of a Penryn processor, the Montevina chipset and wireless networking interface. Future laptops will continue to use Intel’s most recent Penryn processors which provide improved bus-speeds (1066MHz). To the customer, Apple’s decision to use 3rd party or custom chipsets is not of great significance, as all the chipsets should be functionally identical.”

Full article here.

“We are working to develop new products that contain technologies that our competition will not be able to match.” – Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer, July 21, 2008


  1. They MUST keep the ability, whether people use it or not, for one to dual boot. Otherwhise people will perceive it as a negative and shy away.

    of course I still say Apple should just build in Windows emulation right into the OS. They have the rights to some of the API’s from XP. If they wait too long MS will change it enough over time to where current Win software won’t work if Apple does decide to support the API.

  2. Is Apple afraid of success? This is not a wise maneuver. The Mac Pro’s and Core2Duo MacBook Pro’s have been great. By dumping Intel, Apple is jumping into murky waters just when more and more folks are warming to the product lines. I recall a few years ago when Jobs rolled out the timeline of Intel products saying how much power was there and how energy efficient the line would be. This may just be rumor. It does not make much sense to switch processors in mid-stream. I believe that using a mainstream processor company such as Intel had a great deal to do with folks switching. Why mess up a good thing?

  3. As a long-time Apple fan (pre-Mac), I for one was pretty excited by the move to Intel. For the first time, you could choose one hardware platform that would run practically any operating system along with Mac OS X. That level of flexibility is a HUGE advantage to buying Apple hardware if you’re the sort that needs or can use that capability, and has a lot to do with the adoption of OS X by the tech community. Many people can justify the additional cost of (admittedly superior) Apple hardware on that capability alone.

    Whatever Apple is up to, I hope they don’t compromise in the new hardware the awesome and powerful hardware/OS flexibility that exists today.

    Sounds like a weird rumor regardless.

  4. I remember how Steve Jobs criticized Apple before he came back, saying that they hadn’t made any strides on the internal architecture of the Mac. He said it was basically the same design. Apple has made a fair number of changes with regard to internal communication and RAM usage, but is this Steve trying to make another leap? Does he have something in mind? I can’t imagine him jumping off of one platform unless he feels confident about another. Remember that he ran OSX on intel for a long time before Apple made the switch.

  5. There is no arsh change to be done. People like the idea of having “familiar” Intel chips inside the Macs… But Apple will do better: There will be Intel – Apple designed chips and extra chips other PCs will never have! ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  6. @Bill (and everybody else)

    *sigh* People are so damn careless its amazing. No geniuses, they are not dumping intel. They are doing custom chipsets (and as many other components as they can) not custom cpus. That is why they bought PA Semi.
    For da luv of gawd people! *smacks forehead in disgust*

  7. Relax! Even if this rumor is true, it could be a good thing. I’m sure that in some way, Apple thinks it will give them an edge, either due to additional feature(s) or lower costs (making some of their own chips), thereby possibly reducing Mac prices. In any case, so long as they remain 100% Windows-compatible, it will be fine.

    Chances are, this would thwart future clone-makers too, if the chipsets are only available through, or to, Apple.

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