Could Apple be planning its own Mac chips? Given enough time, yep
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Could Apple be planning its own Mac chips? Given enough time, yep

Apple has considered moving its Mac line-up to its own in-house developed chips, though such a change isn't in the immediate future, reports "Bloomberg Businessweek" (http://macte.ch/HaMlS). Makes sense to me -- over a period of time, at least.

Consider the A6 chip. A variety of reports say the processor has some Apple designed custom variants on a chip fabbed by Samsung. It's not hard to imagine the A7 chip being having an even bigger Apple influence. After all Apple bought PA Semi, a boutique microprocessor design company, in 2008, and Intrinsity, a specialist chip design company, in 2010.

On one hand, it's hard to see Apple deciding to use its own chips inside its Mac line-up rather than Intel processors. That would entail a major transition and lots of work on ensuring software compatibility. On the other hand, who believed the rumors that Apple would move from PowerPC chips to Intel processors years ago? Few people (including me) did. But it happened. And, as CEO Steve Jobs has said on numerous occasions, Apple likes to design the whole widget.

Personally, I think an A7 (or A8 or A9)-derived Mac processor is more likely a back-up contingency in case Intel falls into disfavor with Apple. However, imagine the Cupertino company applying the expertise it gained when acquiring PA Semi and Intrinsity and developing the A7/8/9 to a x86 architecture. In that scenario, an Apple-built chip for Macs isn't too hard to believe.

In fact, the idea of Macs running Mac OS 11.x on nothing but Apple-designed processors and solid state drives in, say, five years is a scenario that I can foresee coming to pass. Especially if Intel drops the ball or Apple decides it does indeed want to develop everything, even its own silicon.

-- Dennis Sellers

 

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