Depending on who’s doing the counting, Apple is the fourth largest chipmaker. Moreover, last Fall’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have driven demand for Cupertino’s System on Chip (SoC) silicon solutions. Moreover, according to at least one voice, Apple must start building ARM Macs in order to keep the good times rolling.
Seeking Alpha’s Mark Hibben has written a lengthy article about Apple rapidly growing and, quite frankly, revolutionary in-house business. Therein he reached a number of conclusions:
• Apple’s iOS devices (iPad, iPhone, iPod) all use Apple’s custom processors;
• Because of the explosive growth of its mobile devices, Apple has become the world’s fourth largest mobile/SoC semiconductor company;
• Apple’s semiconductor prowess will make it possible to build ARM-based Macs at lower cost and higher margin than with Intel Inside;
• This economic imperative will mandate an ARM Mac transition beginning in 2016.
“Although the MacBook hasn’t been tested yet, its [Intel] Core-M processor has been benchmarked in a Windows 64 device, the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro,” writes Hibben. “What’s interesting is that it has about the same performance [chart below] on Geekbench as the A8X in the iPad Air 2.”
Yes, that’s very interesting, indeed. Fundamentally, Apple already has chips powerful enough to power ARM Macs that are cheaper than Intel’s top-shelf Core M mobile processors. However, at least in the short, Apple (probably) lacks software (OS X for ARM, compatible in-house + third-party Mac apps) and surely lacks adequate manufacturing to make enough chips.
ARM Mac: Is It Inevitable?
In truth, the ARM Mac rumor has been making the rounds since at least 2013. However, Hibben makes a compelling case that Apple has an economic imperative to start building ARM Macs by 2016.
The Apple Watch is expected to be powered by an Apple A series chip, which will help the company expand its demand this year and going forward. Moreover, a new Apple TV is expected to ship this year — the first update since 2013 — and that will drive A series demand, as well.
Clearly, Apple already has its hands full making enough A series chips for the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV and iPod touch product lines. However, with performance and cost data on the side of its A series chips, Apple has a strong interest in creating ARM Macs sooner rather than later…
What’s your take?
Source: Seeking Alpha