Apple is reportedly eying a move away from Intel chips to power its future-generation Mac PCs.
According to a report Monday from Bloomberg, which cites people familiar with Apple's research, the tech giant is hoping to swap out Intel chips with the ARM-based chips it designs internally for the iPhone and iPad. Bloomberg's sources, which requested anonymity, said Apple engineers have grown confident that their processors will somebody be powerful enough to fuel Mac desktops and notebooks.
This switch, which would end the seven-year partnership between Intel and Apple, wouldn't likely occur for another a few years, Bloomberg noted.
The move would also deal a blow to Intel, which has already taken a hit over the past few quarters due to lighter-than-usual PC sales.
Intel and Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Apple transitioning away from Intel's x86-based architectures would, however, benefit ARM, the U.K.-based chip licensor whose low-power processor architectures fuel a majority of today's smartphones and tablets, including Apple's iPhone and iPad. ARM has traditionally played in the mobility arena but has been expanding its presence in the broader computing and server markets as well. Last week, x86-based chip maker AMD announced plans to use ARM's 64-bit architectures for future versions of its Opteron server processors.
According to Bloomberg, Apple's decision to nix its use of Intel chips in its Mac may be part of its broader strategy to create a seamless and fluid experience across all of its notebooks, smartphones and tablets, a goal that is easier to achieve when working with only a single chip architecture.
The move would also align with a statement Apple made when announcing a management shakeup last week, saying that its semiconductor team has "ambitious plans for the future." Apple's chip research is being spearheaded by Bob Mansfield, the company's longtime Mac hardware chief, who will oversee a new group Apple has dubbed "Technologies."
PUBLISHED NOV. 5, 2012