It seems as though every few months we hear of a new report claiming that Apple is close to releasing Macs powered by its own homegrown ARM processors. The rumor frequently pops up because the popular opinion is that Apple is tired of being beholden to Intel’s processor roadmaps and relatively slow progression in performance over the years.
Today, noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo [now with TF Securities] is claiming that Apple will make the shift from Intel to ARM chips starting in 2020, which is just over a year away. Kuo says that there a number of reasons for Apple to go with its own chips, with the primary reason being that it would have nearly full control over all major hardware and software components that make up its iMacs, iMac Pros, and MacBooks. In addition, Intel bottlenecks would be eliminated, it could enjoy fatter profits thanks to lower manufacturing costs, and the move would provide more differentiation for Apple computers.
We’ve already seen that the A-Series processors in the iPhone and iPad product lines often outperform their Snapdragon-powered counterparts in the Android domain. However, Apple’s prowess in designing powerful and efficient mobile SoCs is a completely different league compared to x86-64 processors currently available (or that will soon be available) from the likes of Intel and AMD.
So, while it’s possible that Apple has the resources and talent to pull off an upset that could send Intel scrambling if it loses one of its key customers, this is one of those cases where we’ll believe it when we see it.
In other Apple news, Kuo also says that Apple will rely on TSMC to produce its Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) chips necessary for the company’s self-driving car efforts. The chips will reportedly be capable of supporting either Level 4 or Level 5 (fully autonomous) vehicle operations.