What if Apple’s decision to abandon Intel on its Macs in favor of ARM chips marks the beginning of a new era in consumer computing, when other brands have followed its example? Intel would it still have its place?
During its opening conference for WWDC 2020, Apple announced a major change coming to the Mac. With its experience in the design of its AX mobile chips for iPhone and iPad, the Californian firm now plans to stand on its own two feet and equip its computers with its homemade chips, called Apple Silicon, by abandoning the processors from Intel. But if Apple briefly mentioned Intel during its conference, without ever sketching the slightest criticism of it, we suspect that this transition to ARM SoCs is motivated by multiple reasons, including the desire to no longer depend on the Intel calendar for its releases, but also to have more control over the design of its equipment, and to be able to go even faster in its own launch schedule. For Intel, the loss of the Mac market is not so problematic: the transition being spread over 18 months, the founder would have time to see coming, especially since the Mac would represent only about 5% of its turnover. business, according to analyst CJ Muse.
But above all, if Apple decided to use the chips of its design on products as fast – all things considered – as computers, it is because its AX chips have now reached an unprecedented level of performance. The A12Z chip, used during the demonstrations of this new Mac ARM, thus seems largely capable of handling both heavy Photoshop effects and multiple 4K video streams on Final Cut Pro, that is to say quite advanced uses which already exceed the type of use. classic that the general public can make of a computer. On the competition side, performance is not outdone, and if Apple is still at the top of the benchmarks with its A12Z and A13, Qualcomm and its Snapdragon 865, Samsung and its Exynos 990, and Huawei and its Kirin 990 are not far behind. Who knows, maybe Apple’s idea of switching their computers to home processors will tickle some competitors, tempted to do the same? Even Microsoft has already shown interest in ARM processors, that is to say. When we see today the willingness of manufacturers to create increasingly mobile devices, the question arises, especially since 5G could also invite itself on our computers, which would then be well off with a mobile chip (some laptops are also starting to adopt mobile chips, not just Chromebooks). This is where Intel would have much to lose, since the founder has a hard time competing in the mobile chip industry, struggling to miniaturize its chips.