Over the past several years, Apple has spent a sizable chunk of change to bring iDevice chip development in-house. We’ve long heard rumblings that Apple will use that newfound expertise to design chips for its Mac computers, as well, but the speculation has been largely restricted to rumor sites—until now.
Quoting not one, not two, but three sources with knowledge of Apple’s plans, Bloomberg says Apple engineers "have grown confident that the chip designs used for [Apple’s] mobile devices will one day be powerful enough to run its desktops and laptops." The transition may not happen for "a few years," Bloomberg adds, but some of Apple’s engineers reportedly consider the switch "inevitable."
Unification between Macs and iDevices may be in the cards on the software front, too. One of Bloomberg’s sources notes that Craig Federighi, who’s been overseeing both OS X and iOS since Scott Forstall’s ouster, is "considered likely to push for this more integrated experience [between OS X and iOS]." One of the sources is also paraphrased as saying, "If [Apple CEO] Tim Cook wants to offer the consumer of 2017 and beyond a seamless experience on laptops, phones, tablets and televisions, it will be easier to build if all the devices have a consistent underlying chip architecture."
Meanwhile, Microsoft already offers a version of Windows for ARM, which powers the Surface and other tablets, and it’s working on support for ARM’s upcoming 64-bit architecture. And of course, AMD is cooking up ARM-based Opterons. It sure seems that Intel’s dominance in the PC market will be challenged more and more strongly over the coming years. I think this is going to be an interesting decade.