Apple co-founder and former CEO, Steve Jobs, was known for taking risks. Almost ever venture from his return to run Apple in mid-1997 was a massive risk for the company. Let’s compare that to Tim Cook to see what Jobs would do that Cook has not.
Jobs opened retail stores when everyone was leaving retail. Jobs launched a portable music player in a crowded field of players and set the standard. Jobs made sure Apple played on a level playing field with PC makers by switching the Mac to Intel Inside. Need more? I got more.
Risk An ARM
Jobs was willing to take some rather massive risks that current CEO Tim Cook does not. Jobs risked Apple’s future on iPhone technology, the App Store (which he did not like), and, of course, Apple’s vision of the tablet, iPad. Jobs was the one who bought a chip design company to help iPhones remain highly differentiated from Android competitors, most of which use the highly acclaimed ARM architecture in their smartphone and tablet CPUs.
Apple designs its own chips and today’s iPhone and iPad CPUs are more powerful than about 90-percent of all Windows PC notebooks which run Intel Inside. The Mac runs Intel Inside and these days is less differentiated from Windows notebooks because they all look like, well, Macs.
How can Apple differentiate the Mac from Windows PC riffraff?
Jobs hedged his bets on the direction of PC CPUS, and while Macs ran on PowerPC chips from IBM and Motorola (Freescale Semiconductor) a skunkworks project ensured that Mac OS X would also run on Intel CPUs. Apple made a successful switch and sales skyrockets to record levels.
The Mac today is hamstrung by Intel’s inability to follow a CPU development roadmap with any degree of success. Intel Inside a Mac is the same as Intel Inside a Dell or HP notebook, and since they all look like a MacBook Air from yesteryear, where is the differentiation that Apple needs to keep the Mac ahead of the mainstream?
It is time for Apple to put its own ARM-based, internally designed A-Series chips in the Mac. If iPhone and iPad CPUs designed by Apple already outperform Intel Inside on most PC notebooks, then what’s the problem?
CEO Tim Cook is risk averse.
Think about it. Jobs bet Apple’s farm a few times because the future is all about change. While Jobs was the king of technology market disruption, Cook is about iPhone accessories. Beats Music, Watch, AirPods, Apple Pay, Apple Music, et al.
Where is the Apple-designed ARM-based CPU that would set the Mac apart from traditional Windows PC notebooks?
It is time for Intel Outside because Intel cannot keep up with industry progress. What would Apple’s own chips do for the Mac that Intel Inside cannot?
- Less expensive chips
- Better battery life for notebooks
- Cross compatibility software; iOS to macOS
- Increased manufacturing supply
- Complete design control, including graphics
There are caveats to such a drastic move. What about Windows? Many Mac users– with Intel Inside– also dual boot Windows and Linux? Will an ARM-based Mac CPU be capable of running Windows, too?
Intel Outside is a move whose time has come.