Apple's long-running partnership with Intel for its desktop and laptop processors could be coming to an end. 9to5Mac today covered a note from industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who now predicts that Apple will start using its own custom processors in MacBooks and other Mac devices by 2020.
If this prediction proves accurate, it will represent a pretty significant shift in the way Apple does business. According to Kuo, these hypothetical processors would be ARM-based chips, designed by Apple and manufactured by TSMC. No doubt these CPUs would be based on the latest iPhone SoCs which are pretty powerful already, the challenge then would be more about software compatibility with the macOS platform.
Looking at 9to5Mac's report, it's not entirely clear what the basis for Kuo's predictions is. Naturally, using its own chips would reduce Apple's reliance on third-parties like Intel, but it could also be a bit risky. Apple would be abandoning a relatively-stable partnership with Intel in favor of trying something new, and that's probably a lot easier said than done.
Interestingly, Kuo believes Apple's proprietary chip plans won't stop with Macs. He also said that TSMC could begin creating custom processors for Apple's self-driving vehicle tech efforts, which may lead to the company achieving Level 4 or Level 5 autonomous driving by 2023.
For the unaware, Level 4 autonomous driving refers to a system that requires some human intervention in specific circumstances, while Level 5 systems offer "Full Automation," requiring no manual input.
At any rate, though Kuo's latest predictions are far from outlandish, we'll just have to wait and see how accurate they will be in the long run.