What If Apple Puts A-Series Processors in MacBooks?

on August 22, 2011

Apple Insider posted a bit of news around the rumor that someday Apple may use its own A-Series chips in products like the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. When Apple made the move to design their own ARM processor by acquiring P.A Semi and Intrinsity it became clear that using their own processors in all their products made perfect sense.

Apple wants to control all the critical elements of the value chain. For smart phones and tablets it’s clear that Apple wants to control the semiconductor in those products so it can highly optimize iOS for a proprietary SOC. The interesting question is if they want to do the same for OSX in the future.

Apple has no control over the architecture decisions that Intel makes, nor do they control the timeline of those decisions. One could see how future MacBook products could benefit if Apple specifically designed A-Series chips to run OSX. The optimizations they could make for efficiently running OSX could make the OS that much better and that much harder to compete with.

In this scenario Apple unlike Intel doesn’t need to try and make a processor that can run any and all software and operating systems. In fact they don’t even really need to follow Moore’s law in their designs like Intel and AMD. All Apple needs to do is design the most effective piece of silicon to run OSX.

You may think they could never do something like this because of all the software for OSX now running on Intel silicon. That is true but if you remember they made the move from the G5 to Intel and it was fairly smooth. Their developer toolkits and their virtualization software Rosetta could be key pieces in making a smooth transition to their own silicon.

The real question in all of this however is where would that leave Intel if Apple ever stopped using them as a supplier?