According to a recent research report published by Ming-Chi Kuo, arguably the most accurate analyst in the business, Apple's in-house team of chip experts have made sufficient advances in chip design such that the company is now exploring the possibility of using chips of their own making future Macs. The potential for Macs at some point to sport an ARM-based Ax chip of some sort won't be happening anytime soon, but Kuo notes that it may come to fruition sometime within the next 1-2 years.
AppleInsider, which got its hands on Kuo's report, writes:
In a new report released Wednesday, a copy of which was obtained by AppleInsider, well-connected analyst Kuo suggests that Apple's in-house chips will reach a level of performance somewhere between Intel's Atom and Core i3 lines within the next 1-2 years. Removing Intel from the equation would allow Apple to better control the launch timing of the Mac line, he believes.
As a company that prefers to control of the underlying technologies within its product line, Apple's relationship with Intel has had some ups and downs. While Intel has historically delivered powerful chips, not to mention the fact that Intel worked closely with Apple to develop the Thuderbolt port technology, Apple remains hostage to Intel's own product roadmap and, in some cases, delays. Indeed, the delayed rollout of Intel's anticipated Broadwell processors have resulted in the Mac lineup remaining somewhat stagnant over the last year or so. Nonetheless, don't expect Intel to completely drop out of the picture anytime soon. It stands to reason that if Apple opts for in-house designed chips sometime in the future, they'll most likely land in an entry level notebook where power efficiency often trumps power. That said, expect Intel processors to grace Apple's iMac lineup for years to come.
Interestingly enough, hot on the heels of this rumor sprouting up on the blogosphere, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich showed up on CNBC's Squaw Box where he addressed the story. As one would expect, the underlying theme of Krzanich's message is that Intel's relationship with Apple remains intact and strong.
I just hear the same rumors. Our relationship with Apple is strong and their products are great. Apple is always going to choose the supplier who can provide them the most amount of capability in innovation for them to build on, for them to innovate. They're a company based on innovation. Our job is to continue to deliver parts that have that capability give them that, that are better than our competitors. And then they want to use our parts. So I wake up every morning making sure that across the board, whether it's Apple or Lenovo or Dell or any of our customers, we have to provide the most competitive part: performance, price, reliability, all of those.