Apple weans itself off Intel with 'more ARM chips' for future Macs

Cook bakes up another Chipzilla-free component for fruity computers – report

Apple is believed to be developing another ARM-based processor that will challenge Intel hardware in its Mac line.

The Cupertino maker of ClarisWorks is reportedly working on a chip to handle operations when a future Mac machine goes into low power mode and the main Intel processor goes to sleep. A Bloomberg report cites sources familiar in reporting that the silicon, codenamed T310, would be ARM-compatible and would run alongside the Intel CPUs Apple currently uses for the Macintosh.

Apple did not return a request for comment on the report, and given its policy against commenting on rumors or speculation, we don't expect anything in the way of confirmation from Cook and Co.

Apple's interest in developing ARM chips is no secret. The ARM-based A‑series processors have powered the iPhone and iPad since 2010, and last year Apple put an ARM chip in the Mac when the MacBook Pro debuted with its T1 security chip. Apple has had an in-house ARM chip designer ever since its 2008 purchase of PA Semi.

If true, however, these reports suggest that Apple is moving farther away from Intel and could signal a larger shift in Cupertino towards ARM chips and away from Intel hardware altogether.

Apple has said in the past it would look to bring the ARM-powered iOS and Intel-based macOS closer together. With an expected move to a new file system taking place on iOS and macOS in the near future, it would make sense for the notoriously control-freakish Apple to consider a partial or full move to its own ARM chips for at least some of its Mac lineup.

While not exactly a crippling blow, the defection of Apple would be a bad sign for Intel, which has long struggled to compete with ARM chips first in the mobile space and, increasingly, in the PC space as tablets and Chromebooks gain market share.

Apple does have experience using non-Intel processors in the Mac, albeit long ago. The Cupertino giant co-developed the CPUs for the Macintosh for more than a decade with its PowerPC venture alongside Motorola and IBM. When that operation fell apart, Apple made the switch over to Intel processors in 2005. ®


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