ARM Processors to Replace Intel Chips on Future MacBook Models?
A new rumor from SemiAccurate
claims that Apple is now planning on moving the entire MacBook line away from Intel
processors to ARM
processors instead by the end of 2012 or early 2013. Apple appears to be waiting to make the switch until 64-bit variants becomes available. According to SemiAccurate, “Apple is moving the laptop line, and presumably desktops too, to ARM based chips as soon as possible.”
The current lineup of iOS devices now use a CPU based on the ARM architecture. Apple has made it clear that they intend to bring the best features from iOS to the desktop with the introduction of Lion, when it comes out this summer. It’s generally assumed that Apple is simply referring to software when discussing Lion, however, they may also be speaking of hardware features as well.
“Apple can move to ARM without worrying about obsoleting code with an ISA that is on the verge of changing, and no memory overhead worries either. Basically, it looks like the perfect time.”
All MacBook models are simply portable electronic devices at heart. Moving to ARM based processors, would give Apple the freedom to focus on a more unified product line, at least under the hood. If MacBooks and iOS devices use similar CPU designs, then Apple would be able to blur the line even further between product lines. This might even be a benefit to the average user as well.
It’s also being reported that Intel has shown an interest in developing mobile chips for devices like Apple’s iPad. Competition between Intel and ARM may lead to even better chip designs as the two companies try to outdo each other. This would give Apple the freedom to choose the very best CPU’s available once the dust settles.
If this all sounds highly unlikely to you, then just remember, there was a time not too long ago when an Apple computer with an Intel processor would have been unthinkable. Now it’s the norm. Apple always plans a step or two ahead of the competition. This time next year we may all be drooling over the latest MacBook Pro models powered by ARM processors. You never know, stranger things have happened.