StableyTimes’ Phil Moore thinks Apple’s new MacBook Air with the new Intel Haswell microprocessor actually marks the beginning of the end of the seven-year marriage between Apple and Intel. He notes that Apple bypassed Intel when it launched the iPad, initially using an Intel competitor’s low power mobile processors and subsequently developing its own iPad chips in-house. And while Haswell sees Intel finally moving in a low power direction, with Apple already in the chip business itself, Moore thinks it’s only a matter of time before the MacBook Air shifts from Intel to the same A-Series chip architecture as the iPad.
He observes that Apple’s forthcoming A7 processor won’t be powerful enough to run a MacBook Air, so Apple will continue with Haswell for one more your of duty with Intel. However, he predicts that Apple’s A8 sustem-on-chip architecture will finally see Apple’s own processors enter laptop performance territory, at least at a pedestrian leve, and that while the MacBook Pro will continue to use Intel chips further into the future, Apple will transition the Air to its own A-Series silicon which will make cutting its weight and thickness to roughly half what it is now possible.
Moore further contends that given time and further development, Apple can and will gain processor independence entirely, with all of Apples product lines running on its own chips, which points to the Apple-Intel chip marriage dissolving just as the erstwhile Apple-ARM and Apple-Motorola-IBM chip partnerships did.
That certainly seems to be the trajectory Apple has set itself on, but I’m somewhat skeptical about the timeline for this all to unfold being as rapid as Moore suggests. However, the MacBook Air is getting due for a major redesign, and if the A8 SoC can be brought to production in a year or so and meet performance expectations, he may be right.
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