While most computer and smartphone manufacturers have been reliant on others for the operating systems and processors on the devices.
Apple was the only company to rely on their own chips and in-house software.
Although this wasn’t the case for mac as apple has been using intel on their macs for almost 15 years now but recently at WWDC 2020 apple has revealed its plans to move away from intel and gradually transition towards its own in-house Chips.
We’ll talk about why apple is opting for their own in-house chips, how this will change the mac and quite possibly the entire PC industry.
If we look to macbook history this is not the first time apple has transitioned away from its primary processor supplier.
Apple has always dedicated to providing its customers with powerful computers. Prior to 2005, Apple was using a series of processors branded as PowerPC a non x86 architecture that is created in a joint venture between IBM, Apple and Motorola.
But as Apple wanted to compete in the market P owerPC simply wasn’t able to deliver the performance Apple was looking for.
At WWDC 2005, Steve Jobs officially stated the reason for Apple to look elsewhere.
If we want to pinpoint the reasons it all comes to do two reasons our pc processors weren’t powerful enough at least not to the level Apple had wished them to be they weren’t able to keep up with the advancements intel was making.
Meanwhile the second reason was power consumption, power consumption is equally important as performance let’s hear from steve jobs from his own voice why power consumption is just as important as performance
“For one watt of power how much performance do you get and when we look at the future road maps projected out mid 2006 and beyond what we see is the PowerPC gives us sort of 15 units of performance per watt but the intel road map in the future gives us 70. and so this tells us what we have to do” – Steve Jobs
Apple wanted to make portable and lightweight machines and the PowerPC simply wasn’t the way for them to go, hence their transition towards intel from PowerPC.
Things were going pretty well with max running on intel processors, Apple was making great pieces with a unique selling point and a loyal customer base.
Although historically Apple only maintained about 7% market share of the entire pc industry but max sales were rising every year and everything was going well with intel making great strides with their processors.
However things started to get rocky and Apple wasn’t too happy with intel anymore but the decision of the transition didn’t happen overnight and there were a lot of factors influencing the move.
The quality issue with the processor was so bad that Apple made the highest number of complaints about that architecture.
Much of intel’s success in computing comes from packing more transistors on its chips which allowed them to carry out more competing tasks at a lower cost but as the company stumbled badly in the industry-wide race to miniaturize even though intel promised to bring their 10 nanometer process as early as 2014 but it didn’t happen until 2019 and it seems intel is still facing difficulties with manufacturing and shipping 10 nanometer CPUs and it may continue up until 2021.
Amidst intel’s struggle chip manufacturers like taiwan semiconductor, samsung electronics which produces chips designed by multiple companies have moved to a much smaller seven nanometer process.
All the technological disadvantages intel was also suffering from production delay which even caused a five percent decline in Apple’s mac business.
Not only the cpu shortage hard Apple’s mac business but it also forced Apple to bring mac with a year-old processor.
Even though Apple saw great potential in intel’s processor but lately intel was unable to make bigger strides with the performance of their processors.
Alongside their struggle to switch towards the smaller process intel was also struggling to increase the performance of their processors and Apple wasn’t going to have it anymore sticking with intel means they would have to settle for a subpar performance boost delay delivery issue and quality issue.
While intel was struggling with making their processors powerful and shifting towards smaller processors Apple made great strides with their arm based processor.
Apple’s first take on the processor was the introduction of the original iphone, while Apple does not make the chips themselves rather rely on somebody else to produce their chips they design their own chips.
This allowed them to achieve a periodic performance boost to their processors and their engineering team was getting confident that these arm processors are becoming powerful enough to compete against some of the intel power processors and transitioning to Apple silicon will change the course of mac’s history.
Let’s explore the things that would change for Mac’s
Using Apple silicon on max would mean we could get more frequent mac updates since Apple wouldn’t have to wait on intel to release its latest processor.
In fact we could see a hardware change on the same schedule as iphones and ipads and major hardware upgrades every two years or so.
One of the biggest advantages of using Apple silicon would be power consumption since it’s based on RISC architecture which can achieve greater efficiency in power consumption this means future Mac’s could be able to provide a full two days of battery life.
Thinner & Lighter Mac
The Ipad pro 2020 runs on A12Z Bionic chipset you can edit 4k videos on that device and cooling on this device is done passively.
This means feature mac’s won’t require active cooling and they could become really thinner and lighter in the future.
With the ipad pro 2020 we were able to get a glimpse of what Apple silicon could be capable of.
Apple insider compared the ipad pro 2020 against the 10 gen intel core i3 powered macbook air, in the result the ipad pro 2020 outperformed base model of macbook air in both single core and multi-core performance.
This indicates that Apple has accomplished great strides with its cheap design to achieve greater performance that can even rival a few laptops running on their intel processor.
Much of Apple’s success with its ios is due to the fact that they design the soc and writes the code so they are able to optimize the OS, so that they can take their full advantage of their hardware.
With Apple making their own chips for the max they would be able to optimize the mac os to achieve the same level of synergy from their macbooks as well.
Admittedly this won’t happen right away however, with Apple being in control of their hardware and software i don’t think it would take long for Apple to achieve that.
At WWDC 2020 Apple announced the biggest update of mac os the Big Sur, the Big Sur features a major redesign in this user interface designed to take advantage of Apple designed arm processors in future mac’s.
The new arm based max will support running ios and ipad os apps from day one this means mac users will have access to the world’s biggest app store.
This way Apple will be able to offer more ubiquitous experience across all of its platforms to its users.
With Apple using arm-based Apple silicone on their macbooks and mac os being able to run ios and ipad os apps running natively on those devices makes the possibility of Apple bringing a touchscreen macbook in the near future.
Although Phil Schiller, Senior VP of marketing at Apple has discarded the idea of Apple bringing a touchscreen macbook.
However ios and ipad os apps are primarily designed for touch screen devices thus the idea of touchscreen macbook isn’t so far-fetched in my opinion.
Apple silicon will change a whole of things for Apple and the PC industry at large.
In this Article we have tried to identify what it means for the users at large with Apple’s decisions and reasons behind their decision however this decision will also affect the pc industry at large.
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