Rumors out today suggest that Apple will eventually switch from Intel-made processors to CPUs from ARM. According to SemiAccurate, “Apple is moving the laptop line, and presumably desktops too, to ARM based chips as soon as possible.” While the alleged move is still years away, Apple’s commitment to switch is reportedly a “done deal.”
Whatever information SemiAccurate received has led the site to believe that Apple will make the transition to ARM after the chip producer moves fully to 64-bit processors, which would place the changeover at sometime after mid-2013.
“At that point, 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,” writes SemiAccurate‘s Charlie Demerjian. “Basically, it looks like the perfect time. Ironically, SemiAccurate’s moles tell us that the boys on infinite loop are planning to move laptops to ARM at about that time. Coincidence? Nope.”
According to Demerjian, Apple has left Intel in the dark about its intentions to leave it in the dust. This is purportedly because it would damage relations between the two companies, and cause Intel to withhold info about its processes.
Apple already uses ARM architecture in its A5 chip, which powers the iPad 2, and is reportedly at the heart of the upcoming iPhone 5. So the two companies already have a relationship, which makes rumors a full migration to ARM more believable. It’s not clear, however, whether the chips Apple would use would be designed by ARM, in-house, as the A5 is.
If the rumor is accurate, Apple would have to make changes to its current applications to allow them to work on the ARM chips, which have a different functionality to Intel’s CPUs. At this point, however, the primary reason to believe this report is because SemiAccurate was right in its earlier reports that Apple would stop using Nvidia graphics cards in its PCs.