ARM Stories November 15, 2018

Jason Snell has raised an interesting possibility over at Macworld: that future ARM-powered Macs might mean an end to the level of custom-build options we get at present.

It’s long been thought that it’s only a matter of time before Apple ditches Intel in favor of ARM-powered Macs using Apple-designed silicon. One report suggested that might happen as early as 2020. We’ve pointed to multiple reasons to believe that it will happen sooner or later. But Snell suggests that may come with a downside we haven’t yet discussed.

He opens by noting that, while Apple normally offers a choice of at least two processors (true even for the 12-inch MacBook), that isn’t an option with the 2018 MacBook Air

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ARM Stories August 16, 2018

It’s long been rumored that Apple is working on Macs powered by custom-designed ARM CPUs, moving away from Intel ones. Here at 9to5Mac we’ve long argued that it’s a question of when and not if, with one report even suggesting that Apple could make the switch as early as 2020.

That idea gets a big boost today as ARM claims that its upcoming CPUs will out-perform Intel ones …

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ARM Stories May 31, 2018

Apple has reportedly poached multiple engineers and research staff from Intel for a new facility in Washington County, close to the chipmaker’s home base.

The hiring appears to have begun back in November, and is likely to further fuel speculation about Apple replacing Intel chips with its own ARM-based Mac CPUs within the next few years …

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ARM Stories April 3, 2018

It’s almost exactly a year since I last discussed the possibility of Apple ditching Intel in favor of Macs powered by Apple-designed CPUs. I argued then that it was a question of ‘when’ rather than ‘if,’ echoing a view earlier expressed by my colleague Chance.

Bloomberg yesterday suggested that the ‘when’ might be 2020. That might seem like an ambitious timescale, but I do firmly believe two things. One, Apple is already running ARM-based Mac prototypes internally. Two, if it doesn’t happen in 2020, it won’t be too long afterwards …

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ARM Stories January 15, 2018

Apple included in planned class action suit against Intel & ARM for CPU vulnerabilities

After Apple’s confirmation that all Mac and iOS devices are affected by the Spectre & Meltdown vulnerabilities, it was only a matter of time before the company was hit by a class action lawsuit …

ARM Stories April 5, 2017

Apple’s announcement earlier this week that it plans to design its own GPUs for future iPhones and iPads did more than signal bad news for Imagination Technologies. It also added weight to the idea that Apple will at some point want to ditch Intel chips in Macs in favour of its own design of ARM-based CPUs.

The arguments in favor of Apple designing its own Mac processors are exactly the same ones that led the company to design its own A-series chips for iOS devices. Apple gets total control – something the company values highly.

Control of costs is part of it, of course. Tim Cook in particular got to the position he’s in today in large part by demonstrating a mastery of the supply-chain, and a significant goal there is to keep costs as low as possible in order to maximise margins. Apple eliminates royalty fees by designing its own chips, and that will further boost margins.

But while cost is of course one motivation, there are two even more important benefits to Apple-designed CPUs …

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