Wintel as we know it is not long for this world. As we wrote last week, “Apple wouldn’t be making the move to Apple silicon-powered Macs if they could not make Macs that are demonstrably better than with Intel chips.”
In an historic day for the Mac, Apple in June announced the transition of the Mac to world-class Apple custom silicon in order to deliver industry-leading performance and powerful new technologies. Developers can now get started updating their apps to take advantage of the advanced capabilities of Apple silicon in the Mac. This transition will also establish a common architecture across all Apple products, making it far easier for developers to write and optimize their apps for the entire ecosystem.
Not only will Apple Silicon make better Macs, it will force Microsoft to polish its Windows on ARM act, both hardware and software. In turn, this will cause PC OEMs to reconsider their allegiance to x86 silicon…and that will have serious consequences for the old Wintel partnership…
What to expect from Apple Silicon in future Macs: Significantly lower TDP [Thermal Design Power] without losing processing power… Given what we see with today’s A12Z, one can’t imagine tomorrow’s Apple Silicon Macs providing less than a 25% throughput advantage against corresponding x86 PCs. Admittedly, these are speculative, broad strokes assumption for Apple Silicon Macs — think faster, svelter laptops actually lasting 10 hours on a battery charge…
What are Dell, HP, Asus, and others going to do if Apple offers materially better laptops and desktops and Microsoft continues to improve Windows on ARM Surface devices? In order to compete, PC manufacturers will have to follow suit, they’ll “go ARM” because, all defensive rhetoric aside, Apple and Microsoft will have made the x86 architecture feel like what it actually is: old.
This leaves Intel with one path: if you can’t beat them, join them. Intel will re-take an ARM license (it sold its ARM-based XScale business to Marvell in 2006) and come up with a competitive ARM SoC offering for PC OEMs. Margins will inevitably suffer as the ARM-based SoC field is filled with sharp competitors such as Qualcomm and Nvidia, sure to be joined by arch-enemy AMD and others, all ushering in a new era of PCs.
MacDailyNews Take: So, in effect, the unholy alliance – Wintel – based on multiple companies cobbling together upside-down and backwards Macs will continue – just under another, superior architecture (ARM) and, yet again, Apple will drag the moribund PC industry kicking and screaming into the future, as always.