Apple may drop Intel as a chip supplier as early as 2020

Shawn Knight

TechSpot Staff
Staff member

Apple is reportedly planning a break-up with Intel. Sources familiar with the company’s plans tell Bloomberg that Apple could switch to using its own chips in Macs beginning as early as 2020.

The project, codenamed Kalamata, has already been approved by Apple executives, sources say. It’ll likely be a multi-step transition meaning Apple could start by simply switching a single model to a new processor. Such a strategy would minimize potential issues for both Apple and Intel.

Switching to its own processors seems like the logical next step for Apple. The company already uses custom-designed chips in its iPhones, iPads, Apple TV set-top box and the Apple Watch; Macs are the only products still powered by others' solutions. Switching to its own chips would critically allow Apple to launch products on its own timelines rather than having to be governed by Intel’s processor roadmap.

As Bloomberg correctly points out, the switch would also give Apple the distinction of being the only major PC maker to use its own processors. Furthermore, it would allow the Cupertino-based company to more tightly integrate hardware and software, potentially leading to improved performance and better battery life. It's an advantage Apple has enjoyed in the mobile space for years.

No matter how you slice it, the shift would be bad news for Intel. According to Bloomberg’s supply chain analysis, Apple provides Intel with around five percent of its annual revenues. Intel shares dipped by more than nine percent at one point on Monday. As of writing, shares are down 6.20 percent to $48.85.

It was reported late last year that Apple was working on a software platform codenamed Marzipan that would allow users to run iPhone and iPad apps on Macs.

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TS Evangelist
Sounds dubious to me. I can see it working in their lightweight lower powered machines like the Air ok.

Less so in the higher end products where professionals mostly welcomed the move to x86 a dozen or so years ago. Not least because of the flexibility and familiarity of the hardware.

Be a lot of question marks over performance and compatibility. Even with better integration do they think they can really produce something to compete with king kong, chipzilla itself from the mid range and up? It's not getting easier to design large processors, it's getting much harder and much more expensive.

Tough ask. AMD struggled to do it for a decade and that is entirely their field of expertise!
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TS Maniac
This seems to go in conjunction with the "What's a PC ad?" They recently released. Apple could be better off leaving PC's behind completely as their market share isn't exactly staggering to begin with other than dopes buying to be or feel "superior" and the more than a few pros that still use the ecosystem legit. I somehow feel they could run aios like the imac series with arm and call it a day unifing the ecosystem.
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J spot

TS Maniac
I hate fanboys. I just read a comment just read a comment talking about how great idea this is because Intel always has security issues. Basically let the professionals do it. It's such a simplistic way of viewing things, "I like Apple, so Apple is good Intel is bad and can't do things right."


The big question is how will they get x86 apps working on ARM and what performance will these new chips have. If Apple can make ARM chips that actually meet professional's needs, Intel would be in trouble. Of course, they would be the first company to release an ARM chip that can complete with x86 in the high end segment of the market.

We'll see I guess.

Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
I am a bit surprised that Apple hasn't done more along these lines before now. In fact, there is no reason they could not produce two different units, catering to the end buyers desires as to which chip they would prefer .....


TS Special Forces
I am a bit surprised that Apple hasn't done more along these lines before now. In fact, there is no reason they could not produce two different units, catering to the end buyers desires as to which chip they would prefer .....
Plus, they wouldn't have to put all their CPU eggs in one basket, as it were.


TS Addict
Thought for a second that Apple was going AMD, but now it looks like they're hedging their bets for X86 vs ARM? Or does this rumor imply Apple as an oncoming third player: X86, ARM, and now Apple?
So, is this really going to be a 100% Apple-built/Apple-designed product, or is this going to be more like their pre-Intel Macintosh CPUs, where they work with someone on the design/manufacturing? Because it's not like Apple has done this before. Even before they turned to Intel, Apple always depended on someone else to help make their CPUs -- whether it was the original Motorolas or the IBM-designed PowerPC chips.


TS Evangelist
Meh, too little too late. Honestly I think switching from their PowerPC processor to Intel x86 platform hurt them in the long run. The switch brought the variables and subsequent reliability issues associated with such a big platform. A good portion of their pro market realized, hey I can get a lot of the same software on Windows, and Windows is more reliable than it used so I'll just switch to PC and stop wasting money on shiny things.

MacOS really isn't making any strides lately and everything "new" feels like an afterthought. The OS simply can't compete in the business "enterprise" and networking based sector any longer. Now if they had made a solid competitor to M$FT's Active Directory and management suite and didn't charge so much for their hardware, they may have held the business market.

Oh well Apple. Stick to phones and iPads, seem to be doing pretty good there.