According to famous analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple could equip entry-level computers with ARM chips as early as 2020, eclipsing Intel x86 processors for the first time in their history. This shows how serious Apple is with controlling their whole production line!
Are the days of collaboration between Intel and Apple numbered?
Apple Insider claims to have had access to an investor rating from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, an expert recognized for the accuracy and precision of its information.
In this note, which refers to the privileged relationship between Apple and the founder of Taiwan’s TSMC processor, Ming-Chi Kuo states that TSMC will produce the A13 (2019) and A14 (2020) chips and that the latter will be the first chip to be integrated into entry-level Macs. ARM’s arrival in Macs will be this time for 2020-2021.
However, it is important to note that Bloomberg revealed in April 2018 that it was aware of a project called Kalamata, aimed at initiating a complete or partial transition to Macs towards ARM chips from 2020. Therefore, there seems to be a set of concordant elements.
What about the transition?
Ultimately, what will determine this transition from Intel processors, which replaced PowerPC chips on Macs starting in 2005, is the overall performance level of their chips compared to ARM chips. We know from the example of Always Connected PCs, computers running Windows 10 with an ARM chip, that the task is complicated.
Throughout the “PowerPC” years, Apple also compiled macOS on x86 to measure, in each generation, the relevance of this platform, which allowed it to be prepared to switch to x86 chips. At the moment, only Apple engineers who have undoubtedly been compiling macOS code on internal ARM platforms for some time know whether the performance/watt ratio of the Ax chips is interesting.
But the current context seems favorable. Besides the unification of the iOS and Mac OS applications (Marzipan project), whose tools will be available to developers in 2019, it is the lack of innovation in the output roadmap of the Intel processor which, just as at the time IBM abandoned the PowerPC, could decide that Apple change crematorium.
According to Ming-Chi Kuo’s report, in addition to controlling the hardware/software pair, converting x86 to ARM would allow Apple to reduce manufacturing costs better and possibly offer cheaper products – hypothetically, of course. And Ming-Chi Kuo pointed out that this conversion could scare away some professional customers losing virtualization functions of x86 chips.
In addition to these predictions from information about the nature of the Apple/TSMC partnership, the analyst’s report also includes a reference to Apple’s automotive project. The Apple Car, whatever its form (onboard computer? a real complete car?), according to him, would carry a chip recorded by TSMC and would be launched between 2023 and 2025. It is, at the earliest in five years, an eternity in the world of high technology. By then, we will have had time to check whether Apple has done it or not, at last! – To its processors on Macs. See you in 2020.