Apple reportedly mulling move away from Intel processors in Macs

6 Nov 2012

Apple is understood to be exploring ways to replace Intel processors in its Mac computers with the same chip technologies it uses in the iPhone and iPad platforms.

A report on Bloomberg this morning indicated that Apple engineers are confident the chip designs in iOS devices will soon be powerful enough to run on desktops and laptop devices.

Intel and Apple began working on recent generations of Mac computers in 2005 and the use of Intel dual-core processors have been integral to the design of popular devices like the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air.

Indeed, it could be argued that the ultrabook form factor was kickstarted by the MacBook Air ultra-thin personal computer.

Apple’s latest 13-inch MacBook Air comes in both Intel dual-core i5 and i7 configurations and all new Mac computers sport Intel’s Thunderbolt USB 3 technology.

The move, however, is unlikely to be happening any time soon and if it happens it could be years away.

In that time it is likely that Intel – which is heavily focused on the smartphone and ultraportable computing segment – and Apple may maintain their current, lucrative arrangement.

So what about Apple’s latest SoC, the A6X?

That said, Apple’s latest fourth-generation iPad comes with a new A6X processor, which offers double the performance of the A5X in terms of processing and graphics.

The A6X is a system-on-a-chip design that incorporates a dual-core CPU and a quad-core GPU on the same die.

The new A6X delivers the Retina experience, as well as 10 hours of battery life on the new fourth-generation iPad.

You can see why Apple engineers feel quite smug.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years