Will Apple Switch To ARM Processors For MacBooks By 2013?
According to Semiaccurate, Apple is working on a plan to migrate all of their MacBooks over to ultra-efficient ARM processors by 2013. But does that really make sense?
” The short story is that Apple is moving the laptop line, and presumably desktops too, to ARM based chips as soon as possible. With A15/Eagle allowing more than 32-bit memory access, things look up, but it seems silly to do so before the full
64 bit cores come in the following generation. Nvidia is directly telling certain favored analysts that they will have Denver out in Q4 of 2012, maybe Q1/2013, and that uses the full on 64-bit ARM instruction set. It won’t be out by then, but that
gives you a good estimation of when that ISA will break cover from one vendor or other. Think mid-2013.
On the surface of things, this makes sense: laptops are still mobile devices, and mobile devices tend to work better with ARM thanks to their energy efficiency. That said, current MacBooks don’t really have energy efficiency problems. The least of Apple’s laptops (the 11.6-inch MacBook Air) packs almost 6 hours of battery life into a package the size of a padded envelope; the MacBooks and MacBook Pros boast between 8-10 hours.
Meanwhile, spurred largely by the explosion of the mobile market and the sudden and surprise dominance of ARM, Intel’s been taking some big strides in slimming down the energy profile of their own chips. It seems reasonable to believe that they’ll continue to do so.
The big question here is whether or not Apple thinks that ARM is just going to completely blow Intel out of the water when it comes to balancing processing power and energy efficiency long term. Certainly, ARM’s astonishing, short-term growths, if they can be sustained, might toppled Intel’s control over the laptop and desktop market… but it’s hardly a sure thing.