Apple-designed chips in a Mac. This idea is so old already that many think it will happen soon. To a certain extent, it already has. Yes, you can buy a Mac today that has an Apple-designed chip inside but it’s not a replacement for Intel Inside.
The MacBook Pro model with the Touch Bar and Touch ID has an Apple-designed chip. So does the new iMac Pro, but it’s not exactly Intel Outside. Yet. Already the Apple-designed A-Series A-11 Bionic chip powers the iPhone X and iPhone 8 models. What’s next? The Mac.
Wait’ll Next Year
My much beloved Atlanta Braves are on top the National League Central right now but I am not yet ready to put up a pennant party. My hopes have been spurned and burned before, yet here we are with news that seldom reliable but always interesting industry sources say we will get an ARM-based Mac notebook. Soon. If not this year, then wait’ll next year. Just like the Braves and the pennant.
The Sellers Research Group says the rumor of Intel Outside and Apple’s own chip designs inside will happen. 100-percent guaranteed chance. Just ask Dennis Sellers.
If the always reliable people familiar with the matter say it’s true, it must still be a rumor without a definite timeline. Why would Apple want to ditch Intel Inside, put Intel Outside, and deliver a Mac notebook with their own CPU design inside?
Trust me, it’s not money. Apple has plenty of money. Intel has plenty of money. But all that money has yet to deal with the laws of physics in chip design, and figure out a way to get around Intel’s bureaucratic and management roadblocks which seem to have stalled Intel’s chip performance improvements in recent years. Meanwhile, Apple continues to design and manufacture (farmed out manufacturing, though) new A-Series chips which drive iPhone and iPad and compete well in benchmarks with Intel Inside.
Apple-designed chips are coming to the Mac. The only questions are:
- When will they arrive
- Which Macs will have them
- How powerful will they be
I have more questions than that, but those are the basics. Other considerations would include the ability to run Linux and Windows, which the Mac already does. Both Windows and Linux can run on ARM chips, too, but on the Mac they can run all at the same time and that’s no mean feat (though it doesn’t mean much; think parlor tricks for geeks).
Even the ever prescient Mark Gurman, whose exploits at figuring out what Apple will do next seems to border on, 1) the psychic plane, or, 2) industrial espionage, thinks Intel Outside will happen starting in 2020, and lest you think that’s forever into the future, it’s barely 18-months away.
Sooner or later it will happen. Intel Outside, Apple Inside. Let’s just hope that Apple Inside fares better on the Mac than ARM Inside has fared on Windows notebooks. Battery life is good, but performance leaves something to be desired.