Apple may eventually move away from Intel in favor of in-house CPUs

By Shawn Knight ยท 25 replies
Nov 6, 2012
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  1. Rumor has it that Apple is looking to move away from Intel processors in future revisions of their Mac computers. The tech giant reportedly wants to adopt custom processors like those used in the iPhone and iPad for future models...

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  2. captainawesome

    captainawesome TS Guru Posts: 428   +44

    I'm sure they will eventually do this. The key word being "eventually". 5 maybe 10 years even.
  3. m4a4

    m4a4 TS Evangelist Posts: 953   +515

    Sure, why not? It just means that they eventually pay even less for them but charge the consumer more...
  4. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,271   +455

    It could also mean a lack of compatibility with Windows X.
  5. ET3D

    ET3D TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,373   +166

    SemiAccurate talked about this a long time ago, although far as I remember he said it will happen soon. I never trust Charlie, though. :)

    Anyway, I think it's plausible. Five years from now I also expect Windows on ARM to be mainstream. I feel that Windows RT is a tentative step towards a more complete ARM solution. It's Microsoft hedging its bets, marketing it as a tablet OS but with an eye towards more serious use if the market turns that way.
  6. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    Sounds like they are just keeping their options open. Apple and Intel have had little spats in the past, if Apple is working on their own stuff, whether it be a custom ARM processor (like their A6) or a custom x86 (like AMD's compared to Intel) then they may have something they could switch to in a hurry if they need.

    Apple has experience switching processors and making it pretty seamless to the user, so I'm confident that they can switch architectures without a huge disaster.
  7. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,122   +982

    Hmm; Not that long ago Apple was using the PowerPC chip from IBM and dropped that to get Linux & Windows compatibility. IMO, someone is not aware of the history and the growth that has resulted.
  8. ET3D

    ET3D TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,373   +166

    On the contrary, I think someone is well aware of it. Cross compatibility between tablets and laptops could lead to growth of both.

    Both Windows and Linux are ARM compatible, and (as I said in my previous post about Windows) there's a chance that 5 years from now they'll offer an even more complete ARM solution (including a lot of software), the direction doesn't look too risky.
  9. Apple will create a new processor, the y86 and then sue Intel for patent infringement.
    Blue Falcon and Timonius like this.
  10. So wait you want to make your own CPU when Intel makes the best ones in the world? Oh that's a great idea, why don't you just name yourself AMD and make lower grade ones but jack up your prices because ur apple.
  11. The switch to intel saved their asses. It takes one stupid move like this to kaboom your company.
    Blue Falcon likes this.
  12. Camikazi

    Camikazi TS Evangelist Posts: 925   +284

    They can't make a custom x86, only 3 companies can make x86 CPUs at all and they are VIA, Intel and AMD no one else has a license and Intel will not give Apple one.
  13. SCJake

    SCJake TS Rookie Posts: 80

    They'll fight like crazy, but they might have to. FRAND says they have to, but there are always ways around that
  14. Camikazi

    Camikazi TS Evangelist Posts: 925   +284

    If you are talking about x86 then no they don't cause it isn't a FRAND patent, if it was there would be many more companies that make x86 CPUs (AMD and VIA are to keep monopoly talks away form Intel). FRAND is only for patents that are integral to an industry and that without no one could do anything and x86 doesn't fit considering all the competing CPU architectures (ARM being the biggest right now) and instruction sets.
  15. 2 or 3 years after Apple produce their own cpu, they will sue intel or AMD for copying apple's product :D
  16. Pan Wah

    Pan Wah TS Enthusiast Posts: 125   +27

    Probably, but I think Apple may have "Prior Art" regarding cores.....
  17. dawei1993

    dawei1993 TS Rookie Posts: 37

    Good luck to you Apple, but with your CORE being changed, do a good job and you'll ripen! Do a terrible job and you'll rot.
  18. ET3D

    ET3D TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,373   +166

    Suing AMD sounds good to me, because it implies that AMD will be alive and well in 2020.

    But yes, I assume that Apple will try to patent whatever they can about the CPU.
  19. Camikazi

    Camikazi TS Evangelist Posts: 925   +284

    Can they really patent all that much when they are using licensed CPU architecture and instruction sets? Unless they want to try and make their own instruction set (they don't have the money or R&D for that) they will have to use someone else's tech and won't be able to patent much aside form tiny changes that no one will want to copy anyway.
    pmshah likes this.
  20. ET3D

    ET3D TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,373   +166

    Apple designs its own ARM compatible CPU's like Qualcomm does. I'm sure it can patent everything new it uses in that design.
  21. pmshah

    pmshah TS Enthusiast Posts: 97

    In the elctronic manufacturing market in the past - with limited fabs on line - there was insistence on the part of the buyer for a "second source" without which the chips would not be adopted. This was THE reason for licensing. Currently with multiple fabs AND contract manufacturers there is no more need.
  22. pmshah

    pmshah TS Enthusiast Posts: 97

    You are right. Without learning the terms of licensing they have with ARM it would be difficult to hazard a guess.
  23. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,961   +2,516

    Here I though Apple abandoned the old "PowerMac" CPUs, because they couldn't keep pace with Intel's offerings (since C2D). Correct me if I'm wrong, (discounting the iPhone), but aren't Intel CPUs in large part, what put Apple in the position it is today?

    I'm sure somebody in a Cupertino basement is trying to reverse engineers current Intel design. Only trouble there is, I really doubt Apple would be willing to spring for a new 22nn process capable fab to crank out their own brand CPU. And if they did, lord knows how overpriced their product would be them.

    Or how much outright BS they'd have to feed their "clientele", in order to justify the added cost.
  24. pmshah

    pmshah TS Enthusiast Posts: 97

    In my opinion the 2 moves by Apple with regards to their cpu were strictly cost factor based. They moved from Motorola 68xxx to IBM PowerPC essentially for cost benefit and the same goes for moving on to Intel CPUs. They may have US$ 100 Billion + in banks but are they willing to invest 10 % of it in the latest fab ? The whole idea of contract manufacturing is the maximum utilization of manufacturing facility. I have personally seen different premium brand TVs and pc monitors rolling out on adjacent assembly lines. Regardless of their popularity there is no way they can utilize the capacity of a new fab for captive consumption unless they plan to sell their cpu production in the open market for use by other equipment manufacturers.

    If my memory serves me right the only such successful fab was the yesteryear's AT&T / Western Electric d-ram chip manufacturing facility that had the highest yield in the industry and was totally for captive consumption.

    Apart from shift to Intel processor the main platform for Apple's recovery was a huge financial loan / help package from Bill Gates, which I think was from Microsoft. Without that infusion of cash Apple would have gone bankrupt many moons go.
  25. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,961   +2,516

    No, N-O, no.
    Well that, and you get to pawn off any labor issues on Foxconn........
    Just when I was almost over my deep dislike of Bill Gates, you come up with that. It's enough to make you want to send somebody back in time to "Kill Bill"......, so to speak..;) Maybe Uma Thurman would like the work.

    (I'm just kidding, of course. At least I think I am. But then who among us isn't capable of lying to themselves)..

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