Apple is moving on from Intel because Intel isn’t moving anywhere

“A report from Bloomberg this week has made public something that should already have been apparent to tech industry observers: Apple is planning to replace Intel processors in Mac computers with its own chips starting sometime around 2020,” Vlad Savov writes for The Verge.

“The two California companies have enjoyed a long and fruitful partnership ever since Apple made the switch to Intel CPUs with the 2006 MacBook Pro and iMac, but recent trends have made the breakup between them inevitable,” Savov writes. “Intel’s chip improvements have stagnated at the same time as Apple’s have accelerated, and now iPhone systems-on-chip are outperforming laptop-class silicon from Intel’s Core line.”

“Even if Intel never cedes its performance crown, the future that Apple is building will invariably be better served by its own chip designs,” Savov writes. “Apple’s moving on because Intel’s standing still.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Yup.

SEE ALSO:
Losing Apple’s Macs will hurt, but won’t kill Intel – April 3, 2018
Apple plans on dumping Intel for its own chips in Macs as early as 2020 – April 2, 2018
Apple is working to unite iOS and macOS; will they standardize their chip platform next? – December 21, 2017
Why Apple would want to unify iOS and Mac apps in 2018 – December 20, 2017
Apple to provide tool for developers build cross-platform apps that run on iOS and macOS in 2018 – December 20, 2017
The once and future OS for Apple – December 8, 2017
Apple ships more microprocessors than Intel – October 2, 2017
Apple embarrasses Intel – June 14, 2017
Apple developing new chip for Macintosh in test of Intel independence – February 1, 2017
Apple’s A10 Fusion chip ‘blows away the competition,’ could easily power MacBook Air – Linley Group – October 21, 2016
Ming-Chi Kuo: Apple to unveil new 13-inch MacBook, 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pros at ‘hello again’ special event – October 22, 2016
What to expect from Apple’s ‘hello again’ special Mac event – October 21, 2016
What Apple’s new MacBook Pro might have learned from iPhones and iPads – October 21, 2016
It’s official: Apple sends invitations for ‘hello again’ event on October 27th – October 19, 2016
Get ready, Apple’s new Macs are finally set to arrive! – October 19, 2016
All-new MacBook Pro, refreshed MacBook Air and iMac, and more coming at Apple’s October 27th special event – October 19, 2016
Apple plans to launch new Macs at special event on October 27th – October 18, 2016
macOS Sierra code suggests Apple could dump Intel processors in Macs for Apple A-series chips – September 30, 2016
Apple’s A10 Fusion chip miracle – September 20, 2016
The iPhone’s new A10 Fusion chip should worry Intel – September 16, 2016
Apple’s remarkable new A10, S2, W1 chips alter the semiconductor landscape – September 15, 2016

35 Comments

  1. I think a Rosetta solution will be a LOT harder (not impossible, of course, just harder) to pull off elegantly so that it remains relatively fast. Sadly, I totally rely on being able to run Parallels (Windows) for work projects (I absolutely HATE it, but that’s life in the real world). I can’t even imagine how one would run Windows on ARM – it would be DOG slow (like it was on the PowerPC).

    And then there’s the expense- eventually we will have to re-buy ALL our Mac software so that it’s native for ARM (just like we did when we transitioned from PPC to Intel).

    The only possible upside to all this is that Apple should be able to reduce the price of its laptops since it won’t be paying high royalties to Intel. The operative word there was “should”. They could lower prices, or they could increase their profit. Time will tell…

      1. Apple doesn’t but resellers are heavily discounting Apple’s current lineup of unloved overpriced laptops.

        By the way, Apple is more than a generation behind on implementing Intel’s chips. Why is it Intel’s fault that the interns in Cupertino can’t keep up?

    1. Same here. Apple really, really wants us to use iPads for everything. That won’t cut it for me, and I suspect their proprietary direction will make cross-platform solutions difficult. Tim Sculley, er, *Cook*, really isn’t thinking this one through, IMHO. Also, a new professional Mac in 2019 would be DOA, who would shell out for that abandonware? I suppose we should all wait and see, but more and more the formerly false accusation that Apple makes toys, not serious equipment, becomes our reality.

      1. “new professional Mac in 2019 would be DOA”
        A new professional Mac NOW should be DOA, but there’s a lot of people out there, pining for Mini’s and Mac Pro’s, that will snap up whatever Apple makes. Eventually, Apple hopes they’ll move on.
        One thing is for certain. If Steve were still alive, we’d be WELL into the PostPC world as he envisioned it and there would be no one talking about waiting for a Mac Pro because he would have already made it clear that it’s not coming.

        1. In my observation, only web based companies and low requirement consumers can live with Macs exclusively. The vast majority of people and institutions have been cutting Macs out , using multiple debices, or using Parallels. Ipads are a nonstarter for too many reasons to list here. The millisecond Apple takes the Mac another inch closer to thin client sealed ipad functionality, we will part ways with Apple.

          It is incumbent on Apple to deliver solutions that work in high demand computing. ARM chips are not an advantage in these environments, and they won’t be for any point in the foreseeable future.

    2. I do not remember having to repurchase much software. Anyhow, 2018 is a different world- you can run Office 365 on anything.

      Instead of emulating Windows, set up a headless PC and use Remote Desktop.

      Hypevisors May still work. Apple had not said a thing and people are assuming it will be an ARM design. Apple could do a custom X86 compatible chipset and gain security advantages not possible on Intel or AMD.

      1. “Instead of emulating Windows, set up a headless PC and use Remote Desktop.”

        Lovely idea. Never works as smoothly as it should. With Macs and PC’s at work and Macs and a gaming PC at home, plus an iPad and iPhone I am constantly VNC-ing and Remote Desktop-ing hither and yon, every platform to every other, and let me tell you, NOTHING is as smooth or robust as Parallels emulating on Windows on your Mac if you need to use Windows for anything. Heck, SITTING at a PC isn’t as smooth, but I suppose I’m a little Mac-biased. 🙂

      2. Nope. While Office is infinitely better than what Apple offers, there are too many functions that Intel chips offer that ARM doesn’t. Starting with comprehensive local disc controls, data connections, and GPU expansion.

        Much as Cookie loves his subscription based iPad business model, the Mac has to remain a personal computer with compatibility to the working needs of serious computer users. I doubt Cook understands this, as he probably doesn’t own a Mac

  2. Yeah, but back in 2005 PPC mobile chip technology was effectively dead, despite IBM lies to the contrary (for years!), forcing the Intel change at Apple. Designing CPUs is a lot more complicated than rocket science these days. (Brain surgery still beats them all).

    Will ARM RISC tech hit similar physical limitation walls against CPU speed improvements?

    Anyway, for the moment, Moore’s Law is effectively dead. Intel can’t keep up the pace. It is clearly one of the factors that has hindered Apple Mac progress. But I must insistently point out that it is NOT the ONLY problem Apple has with Macs. Apple’s eyes-off-the-ball, oops-we-blew-it, Apple Blunders®™ have been plentiful over the past couple years regarding Macs to the point of professional Mac user uproar. Many of us here at MDN have been pointing out the blunders throughout this mess.

    IOW: While we wait for the maybe dumping of Intel by Apple, there is an overloaded dump truck FULL of Apple Blunders®™ to repair, new technology to adopt (Exm: Bluetooth 5) and new technology to develop. I hope Apple puts its eyes back on the Mac ball and gets back to work. Right now, I think of them as careless and lazy.

        1. Trepanation is the oldest known surgical procedure, going back thousands of years. They didn’t have rocket science back then, but they knew how to release evil spirits tormenting the brains of kith and kin.

    1. Apple doesn’t care about the Mac. Oh, they’ll make them for as long as a few lost souls (and developers of iOS apps) will buy them, but they’ve been on a PostPC path for awhile and that’s not ending anytime soon.

      1. Meanwhile, the Mac’s market share continues to rise and the Mac makes entirely relevant profits. There is no sane reason for Apple to neglect the Mac. IOW: Apple has lost perspective, sanity, respect for the cash cow that the Mac continues to be, despite all their marketing jive about going ‘PostPC’.

        Hey Apple!
        Wake up!

        1. Apple are neglecting their most worthy offspring, the Mac; throwing it a bone now and then, but lavishing attention on its mobile cousins. They have already shown that they regretted their neglect, but they are still far too star-struck with emerging market opportunities to bolster the wellspring of all of it — macOS.

          It was Steve Jobs himself who defined the post-PC era. Ever since, the whole industry has made painful adjustments to a new age of computing, sort of following his road map, but there have been many twists and turns! Jobs would have made course corrections as events unfolded, not blindly, not panicking, not afraid to shutter one unpromising iniative in favour of an ugly duckling, based on his superior reading of reality unblinkered by unattainable ideals or rank profit-mongering. But he’s dead and we have to deal with second-rate leadership devoid of inspiration. Fortunately my career path, largely aligned with Microsoft, prepared me to deal with such sinkholes of disappointment.

        2. You mean profit, not units. And Apple is thoroughly distracted by the prospect of selling iOS half assed portables to emerging countries who can’t afford real computers.

          Mac unit sales share is flat, not on the rise. Installed user base for Macs remains minuscule compared to the Windows. Another poorly thought out dumbing down of the Mac will kill it. Apple has had many chances to become the most trusted platform for business, research, education, and consumer computing. Instead Apple chases the consumer market alone with iOS and is losing its way with Mac stumble after stumble. Abandoning Intel compatibility may be the last stumble.

          1. Or as I put it, Apple Bungle®™ after Apple Bungle®™.

            I’ll dig through past data for recent Mac unit sales in order to have some numbers. Saying ‘it is my memory and impression that…’ isn’t very useful. Meanwhile, I can’t argue with your impressions. I was reading the article linked below this morning. It puts a finger on the problems going on with Apple in the Mac professional market. Apple is doing something about it, but clearly they’re making up for an awful lot of Mac bungling. I can’t imagine any Mac professional being pleased with a revised Mac Pro being put off for yet another year. 🙄

            Apple’s 2019 Mac Pro will be shaped by workflows
            Yes, Mac Pro is coming in 2019

          2. Here we go. These are the most recent public figures for Mac unit sales. First is Apple’s Q4 of 2017:

            Apple’s Mac Sales Up 25% Year-Over-Year in Q4 2017

            Apple sold 5.39 million Macs during the quarter, up from 4.89 million in the year-ago quarter, marking an 10 percent increase in shipments.

            Next is Q1 2018, aka the Christmas quarter:

            Apple Announces Q1 FY 2018 Earnings

            Mac sales fell 5% in both terms of units sold and revenue. Apple sold 5.1 million Macs this quarter, compared to 5.3 million a year ago.

            ∑ = mixed results.

            Going backwards into 2017:
            • Q3 Mac sales were flat year over year.
            • Q2 Mac sales were flat…
            • Q1 Mac sales were up 4.1% YOY

            (I’m not posting further source links as WordPress won’t like it, no idea why).

            The overall is an increase in Mac unit sales for 2017. Meanwhile, 2018 has so far seen an overall ~1% drop in sales compared to 2017. Kind of sad.

  3. There is so much crap out there. This story says Intel can’t keep up. Yet the next story below this one states Apple will be looking at Intel’s new i9 6-Core CPU for their upcoming laptops.

    1. Intel really can’t keep up. Two years ago, they were supposed to ship a mobile chip capable of using LPDDR4 memory up to 32 Gigs. They still haven’t produced it and WON’T be producing it this year.

      Thing is, it was Intel that said when they would do it, so they’re not even keeping up with themselves. Will Intel finally produce the chip next year? The next? At this point, I would wager that Apple would produce a mobile processor using 32 gigs LPDDR4 memory BEFORE Intel 🙂

  4. Apple is delusional. A chip that can outperform intel silicon at the iPad level is not a technology the you use for an expandable Pro-Model Mac. I will take a Mac Pro running an Intel KNL over any A-chip variant Apple may cook up.

      1. That’s quite irrelevant for certain types of development. Enterprise uses Intel for servers and such, development will be against those, since Apple gave up on servers years ago. If I can’t run virtual x86 and x64 systems on my Mac, my dev machine cannot be a Mac. No ifs ands or buts.

        And I will smack anyone who even suggests dog-slow emulation as an option.

        1. How about anyone who suggests moving to another platform? Many developers have done so successfully and now could not care LESS about whatever Apple’s doing.

          1. I’ll smack them too. You think I *want* to move to another platform? I *want* to continue using Macs for developing things that’ll run on Linux servers. I *don’t* want my next machine to have to be a Windows box.

  5. The Intel i9 processors have been out since the third quarter of 2017. Apple still doesn’t offer it. Dell offers it. HP offers it.

    Don’t tell me Intel can’t keep up. It’s the fat, lazy bastards at Apple who don’t keep up.

    1. The Intel mobile i9 processors that can use LPDDR4 memory are not out and won’t be out this year. Who knows when Intel will make them… their money is in servers, the mobile market is a side gig. Plus, the non macOS crowd is just using desktop chips in laptops, so of COURSE that’s good enough, right?

  6. Apple has said nothing and everyone is trying to read tea leaves. And assuming they will use ARM chips.

    Apple has bought enough chip talent to do their own x86 chips if they wanted to. Quite possible they could have licensed stuff from Intel and just want to customize it in the manner the A Series chips are custom ARM builds.

    I can see Intel licensing x86 to Apple as long as they do not sell the chips to other makers.

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