Intel’s Apple Silicon take has so far mostly consisted of mocking Macs and describing all the ways in which the company thinks PCs are better. But the chipmaker’s CEO now seems to be rethinking this stance, describing Apple Silicon Macs as “pretty good,” and acknowledging that Apple Silicon is ahead of Intel’s own chip designs.

However, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger seemingly thinks he can still win back Apple’s business – one way or another …

Background

In June 2020, Apple announced a two-year transition from Intel to Apple Silicon chips, with the M1 chip powering the MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro its first step. We’re of course expecting the MacBook Pro to follow later today, with M1X chips (other names are possible).

Intel initially responded aggressively, mocking the “limited” capabilities of Macs compared to Intel-powered PCs. The company even hired I’m a Mac star Justin Long to cross the aisle to do so. Its absurd ads were widely mocked.

The company also managed to score some of its own goals along the way, before acknowledging that it was currently behind, but claiming it could retake the lead by 2025 – a claim that looked even less likely just 24 hours later as TSMC announced its latest plans. Gelsinger even dismissed Apple as “a lifestyle brand” earlier this year.

Intel’s Apple Silicon take

Gelsinger has now modified his tone, begrudgingly recognizing Apple’s achievement, and how saying that he merely “hoped” to win back the company’s Mac chip business. Axios reports.

“Apple decided they could do a better chip themselves than we could,” Gelsinger said during an interview for Axios on HBO. “And, you know, they did a pretty good job.”

“So what I have to do is create a better chip than they can do themselves. I would hope to win back this piece of their business, as well as many other pieces of business, over time.”

He continued: “I gotta make sure that our products are better than theirs, that my ecosystem is more open and vibrant than theirs, and we create more compelling reason for developers and users to land on Intel-based products,” Gelsinger said. “So I’m gonna fight hard to win Tim’s business in this area.”

However, as Axios notes, he did seem to implicitly acknowledge that this is a fantasy, going on to talk about a possible plan B.

Another option, which could be easier than convincing Apple to abandon its own chip designs, is to convince the company to use Intel’s manufacturing […]

Gelsinger notes that Amazon, Qualcomm and the Department of Defense are already signed up to have Intel manufacture some of their chips. “Those aren’t bad brands,” Gelsinger told me. “So I’m pretty pleased with the progress that we’re making there. And I’d hope to add a few more brands to that list that, you know, might include them [Apple].”

The company announced earlier this year that its new strategy would include fabricating chips designed by clients, which would include ARM ones. Even this much looks unlikely, however, given how far behind Intel has fallen when it comes to the smaller processes used for Apple chips.

We’re expecting to get another sign of just how far ahead Apple’s ARM chips are when the company announces the new MacBook Pro models later today.

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