Apple may be considering releasing a laptop in the future that
uses its own chips instead of a chip from Intel,
Nikkei reported on Friday.
Apple’s iPhones use an Apple-designed chip based on the ARM
instruction set, but its current lineup of Mac laptops and
desktops use chips from Intel that run the x86 instruction set.
It would be a significant engineering challenge to enable
software designed for Intel chips to run on Apple’s ARM-based
processors — macOS alone would be a huge effort.
But given the dramatic performance gains and low power usage of
Apple’s recent iPhone chips, it’s not surprising that Apple would
consider it. In fact, according
to some benchmarks, the recently launched iPhone 8
outperforms Apple’s high-end MacBook Pro.
Here’s a chart that Apple used when it launched the iPhone 7 in
Apple’s ability to design semiconductors and other chips is a
huge advantage over other smartphone makers, who typically buy
off-the-shelf components from companies such as Qualcomm and
MediaTek. Apple’s head of chip engineering, Johny Srouji, was
promoted in late 2015 to senior vice president, essentially
joining CEO Tim Cook’s inner circle.
Apple is also looking to design chips for touch sensors as well
as a modem chip for iPhones, Nikkei reported. Currently, Taiwan
Semiconductor Manufacturing is
believed to be Apple’s primary manufacturer for its main chip
design, the A-series processor.
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