Apple chips coming soon for Macs in threat to Intel

laptop user
A report indicates Apple is developing its own processors for Macs instead of using Intel chips. (Pixabay)

Apple is designing three Mac processors along the concepts used in the iPhone that will start appearing in a Mac model next year, according to unnamed sources in a Bloomberg report.

Apple did not respond to a request to comment on the report. The Mac processors would be based on the much faster A14 design for the next iPhone. The initiative to develop multiple chips is codenamed Kalamata, a project underway for years.

TSMC would build the new Mac chips, as it already does for the iPhone and iPad. The new chips would be based on the 5 nm process that is being used in the next iPhones and iPad Pros, according to Bloomberg. TSMC is working with Synopsis and others on 5nm designs as well.

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By developing its own Mac chips, Apple would be reducing dependence on Intel chips. The first Apple-produced Mac processors will have eight performance cores, codenamed Firestorm, and four or more energy-efficient cores, dubbed Icestorm. The concept of matching both types of cores has been used before in the iPad Pro and other electronics to create greater efficiencies and power savings.

Apple designs its own smartphone chips based on Arm technology.

The process of moving from Intel’s chip to an Arm-based chip with the macOS will be complex. Apple seems to be motivated to move away from Intel products partly because of Intel’s well-known slowdown in chip advancements. Intel has actively stepped up its cadence of new chip designs recently, and last year took the top spot globally in semiconductors with record $71 billion in revenues.

Intel has been making chips for Macs since 2005. Intel  reports earnings at the market close on Thursday.

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