Apple silicon-powered Macs could revive the PC chip wars – analysts

Apple on Tuesday is expected to unveil new Apple silicon-powered Macs that replace Intel CPUs, a move that could reignite a race to control the market for personal computer chips.

The transition to Apple silicon in the Mac will create a common architecture across all Apple products, making it far easier for developers to write and optimize software for the entire Apple ecosystem.
The transition to Apple silicon in the Mac will create a common architecture across all Apple products, making it far easier for developers to write and optimize software for the entire Apple ecosystem.

Stephen Nellis for Reuters:

The market has been dominated by Intel Corp and Advanced Micro Devices Inc since 2006, when Apple joined most other major computer makers in using chips based on Intel’s ‘x86’ computing architecture.

On Tuesday Apple is expected to start a two-year process of ending its nearly 15-year relationship with Intel by introducing Mac computers with Apple-designed chips based on computing architecture technology from Arm Ltd…

Apple’s forthcoming machines already have competition from Qualcomm, which since 2016 has worked with Microsoft Corp to adapt the Windows operating system to Qualcomm’s Arm-based processors… Those devices are niche sellers today, but Apple’s entry into the market is likely to grab consumer attention around the emerging technology shift, especially if Apple begins to develop chips that rival Intel’s performance.

“Apple diving headstrong into Arm will speed this up,” said Patrick Moorhead, founder of Moor Insights & Strategy… Ben Bajarin, principal analyst for consumer market intelligence at Creative Strategies, said the critical test for Arm-based computers will be whether developers rewrite software used by big businesses, which are still the largest purchasers of machines.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple silicon-powered Macs won’t just “rival” Intel CPUs they will soundly beat Intel CPUs.

See also: Apple’s A14X Bionic benchmarks allegedly leaked – November 5, 2020

17 Comments

  1. While “Apple silicon-powered Macs won’t just “rival” Intel CPUs they will soundly beat Intel CPUs”, the new silicon-powered Macs have the same problem as the old Intel Macs or PowerPC Macs and that was a decision brought about by Steve Jobs – No Games. And by that, I mean a niche game that is supported by smaller developers add-ons to enhance the immersion, since the developers are small, they go to where the crowd is and where the money is and that ain’t Apple. And while X-Plane 11 software works on Mac, PC, Linux. Prepar3d Flight Sim and Microsoft Flight Sim 2020 does not. And enhancement add-on software and some hardware add-ons are only for PC. Which I wish weren’t the case, seeing how PC flight simmers grumble out the sides of their mouths in frustration sometimes because they have to deal with using Microsoft OS. But in order to get to where I am going, my next two computers won’t be Apple Silicon products or even Apple Intel products, but my next main high end PC will be powered by AMD and a lower budget Intel powered PC will be networked to it. So, Steve’s decision just cost Apple over $5,000. One of possibly many sales, in which users wished they had choices, but alas. Thanks Steve. But as a Mac only devotee since 1995, when I replace my 2016 MBP in the next few years, I’ll be interested to see what those Apple Silicons can do!

    1. While I don’t disagree with your point, I would say that the problem isn’t just in the hardware. I remember when the first Xeon “cheese cutter” Macs came out with replaceable graphics cards, everyone hoped for a Mac gaming resurgence. The machines were quite capable, but the resurgence never occurred. Game companies simply took the position that there weren’t enough Mac gamers (and never would be) for them to bother porting to the Mac OS.

      I think this is still true. No DirectX compatibility being the biggest problem. I think truly amazing hardware would still be ignored by gamers and game companies.

    2. In what year are you living?

      Yes, back before Steve Jobs quit Apple in the 80s he was a very strong, and very vocal, proponent of “no games on the Mac”. He was afraid the small Mac (even the Mac Plus) would be viewed as a toy and a “gaming machine”. He wanted it to be viewed as a productivity tool.

      When Steve Jobs came back he had mellowed considerably on the idea of games for the Mac. He had personnel and money specifically devoted to supporting game development. Yes, that support was not as strong as it was for the rest of the developer community, but to say that Apple after Steve Jobs return tried to keep out games is just plain false.

      More recently Apple’s Metal interfaces are as much centered around what game developers need as around video and photography and other productivity tools.

      So your complaints should be directed toward game developers as toward Apple.

      While Apple at its peak had sales of Ma The reasons for that rooted in Apple overall market sharesenior management decisions back in the 1990 – 1995 era. There’s no going back and undoing that.cs and Apple // units reached as high as 19.2%,(Yes, the era where Steve Jobs was gone from Apple.) Apple’s Mac line likely will never do that again.

      We can all get into the “If only…” game.
      “If only Sculley had not licensed the Mac System source code to Microsoft, then Microsoft Windows would have had a 2 – 4 year greater lag behi and maybe even beyondd the Mac and would have cemented the Mac as the undeniably best OS for the 80s and early 90s.”
      “If only Apple, which hds Pink running in rudimentary form in 1990, had finished it and shipped it by 1994 rather than abanoining it, then Apple would have been the king of desktop operating systems and not Microsoft.”
      But… There’s no going back and undoing those things.

      If game developers think that Apple’s sub 10% market share is too small to engage them, then that is* thei*r decision.

      If your overriding concern above and beyond everything else is what games you can play on your desktop and laptop, then you should make your decisions based upon what concerns you most. Fortunately for the rest of us, the reasons for choosing Macs (or something else) is much, much more diverse.

  2. Gaming machines are very much a niche, but sizable niche market. I’m sure that Apple’s immediate focus is on the high to mid price portable market and all in one or entry level desktop. So an MBA, MBP, iMac and Mini equivalents that meet the needs for the basic consumer computer needs.
    Gamers are an important market but something Apple could not address with the 1st generation Apple Silicon machine.
    I, for one, am very excited to see what Apple is going to in its first release. Since Apple started buying up chip designer groups and evolving ARM into its own processors, I have been hoping Apple would at some point be able to support both its mobile and PC business with its own CPUs. Now that time is here and I think it will revolutionize PCs (yet again!)

  3. There’s more to a Mac than gaming. It means a lot to some, but means nothing to me. All the applications I use should run well on Apple silicon and I look forward to being an early adopter.

  4. Gaming on the Mac? I’m thinking the Apple gaming platforms are the iPhone, iPad and Apple TV hardware. But that’s just me.

    GPUs are SO capable that TOO MUCH performance data is about GAMING on the PC, this is the ONLY way the NVIDA and AMD (graphics) can make any money. However when you want to get something DONE on a computer, gaming benchmarks don’t mean a thing.

    I suspect that with the release of the new generation of gaming boxes- PC gaming will further be reduced.

  5. I’m so excited for this! Computers have been “boring” since Apple ditched PowerPC and went x86. I’m not saying it wasn’t the right decision, in fact, it was absolutely the correct course to go Intel at the time. It’s just that this is going to bring some of the spice back to the computer world. Apple computers are going to be very different again, making the whole market more interesting.

  6. I would love to see the entire Wintel laptop market upset just to get a few good laughs. It would be amusing to see laptop manufacturers rushing to change their entire strategy by moving from X86 processors to ARM processors. If Apple sells plenty of those AS Macbooks, laptop manufacturers would have to immediately follow Apple. Intel Celeron processors would be dead in the water. There would almost be no point of having Chromebooks because they would be too under-powered when put up against Apple Silicon MacBooks. Of course, if a person doesn’t want to spend much money just to do some browsing or Facebook stuff, I suppose a $250 Chromebook would suffice.

    The thing is, if the laptop manufacturers follow Apple’s lead, they wouldn’t have an immediate software strategy. They may have to start using Android software unless X86 software manufacturers are willing to port all their applications to ARM. It’s going to be a mess for X86 and I’m willing to bet the computer industry pundits are still going to claim Apple doesn’t innovate. That’s so freaking annoying to hear from idiots all the time.

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