Apple has been manufacturing ARM-based chips to use in its Macs for quite some time now, but these chips mostly back the main Intel CPU when laptops are in the ‘Power Nap’ session. The Cupertino giant also makes its own chipsets for iPhones, iPads and Apple Watch devices. Now, according to a new report, Apple is reportedly planning to replace Intel chips in Macs starting as early as 2020.
The initiative codenamed “Kalamata” is in early development stages, but it comes as a part of Apple’s strategy of making all devices – including iPhones, iPads and Macs – work seamlessly together. The project has been approved, and “will likely result in a multi-step transition,” Bloomberg reports.
Moving to design its own chips inside Macs will help Apple release new models on its own timeline, rather than relying on Intel’s roadmap. The move would be a major blow to Intel, whose partnership has helped Apple revive, while also make Mac a success. According to supply chain analysis by Bloomberg, Apple offers Intel with about 5 percent of its annual revenue. Following the news, Intel shares dropped by 9.2 percent, which has been the biggest intraday drop in the past two years.
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“We think that Apple is looking at ways to further integrate their hardware and software platforms, and they’ve clearly made some moves in this space, trying to integrate iOS and macOS. It makes sense that they’re going in this direction. If you look at incremental R&D spend, it’s gone into ways to try to vertically integrate their components so they can add more functionality for competitive differentiation,” Shannon Cross, an analyst at Cross Research told the publication.
Companies like Dell, HP, Lenovo and Asus all use Intel chips in their laptops and desktops. Using its own chips will make Apple the only major PC maker to ditch Intel. The move would also help Apple to more tightly integrate new software and hardware, which could potentially result in better battery life.
Meanwhile, Apple is also making efforts to ensure Macs work more like iPhones. It is working on a new software platform codenamed Marzipan that would allow users to run iPad and iPhone apps on Macs. It is set to release as early as this year. Now, it remains to be seen how and when Apple makes the move, and what benefits the new Apple-designed chipsets will bring to the table.