According to a report by DigiTimes (which I’m afraid you will need to pay to access), Apple intends to reduce the number of CPUs it purchases from Intel for its notebooks.
Apple plans to cut its Intel CPU orders by 50%, and instead replace them with its own in-house CPUs by the end of 2022, with most of these losses coming this year in 2021. The eventual aim of Apple is to cut all CPU orders from Intel, becoming entirely reliant on its own silicon, though we do not know over what time frame this will occur.
Apple Switches To Arm-Based Chips
The transition of Apple towards its own custom-designed chips is not new, it has been doing so for over a decade on its iPhones and, since late 2020, the MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac Mini, have use the M1 chip as well as the IPad Pro and iMac in 2021. The M1 chip is Apple’s own design, built using ARM64 architecture – i.e. the 64 bit version of the ARM architecture, as produced by Arm Ltd. (as opposed to Intel’s x86-64 architecture).
Who Are Arm Ltd?
Arm Ltd. is a semiconductor and software design company based in Cambridge, England, owned by SoftBank Group since September 2016, which, since September 2020 Nvidia has been attempting to buy. Amr Ltd. is dominant in the market for mobile phone processors, tablet processors, as well as chips in smart TVs. Arm sells architectural licenses which allow third-party companies to custom design their own chips using Arm’s technology. Apple has had one of these licenses since 2008 and all of its iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches use chips built on Arm technology.
Why Are Apple Switching To Arm-Based Chips In Its Notebooks?
Developing its own chips like the M1 brings many advantages for Apple: it can develop its own technology improvements and software/firmware updates on its own schedule, potentially allowing it to develop faster. Additionally, using their own custom-designed chips allows Apple to have tighter integration between their software and hardware – increasing the potential for squeezing out efficiencies and performance improvements, possibly reducing conflicts and bugs, and also increasing the scope for developing unique features that their competitors don’t have.
How Will The Loss Of Apple Orders Affect Intel?
The effect this will have on Intel, already suffering at the hands of the competition from AMD in the laptop and notebook market, will be significant.
The report claims that Intel CPUs currently account for around 90% of the global share of the notebook CPU market. The reduction of sales from their Apple contracts by 50% will reduce this market share to 80% of the global notebook CPU market.
Will Intel’s upcoming Alder Lake CPUs be able to save the day and shore up some of their hemorrhaging market share? We’ll have to wait and see!