Bloomberg: Apple Plans to Move Macs to In-House CPUs as Early as 2020

2 minute read
| Rumor

Apple is planning to move its Mac computer line to its own processors as early as 2020, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. The report is attributed to unnamed sources who said the project is codenamed Kalamata, which is both a city in Greece and an olive variant.

The news sent shares of Intel lower more than 8% Monday. During the afternoon session, INTC was trading at $47.755, down $4.325 (-8.30%). Shares of AAPL were also trading lower at $165.31, down $2.47 (-1.47%). Both losses come during a broader selloff sparked by worries about the escalating trade war instigated by President Trump’s tariffs.

Apple custom-designed processors coming to the Mac

Intel (Not)Inside

According to the report, Kalamata is part of Apple’s ongoing efforts to bring more of its product line in house. Apple has been making its own best-in-class CPUs for iPhone and iPad for years, and Mr. Gurman reported that Apple wants its Macs and iOS devices to work ever-better-together.

The report also said that the transition would involve multiple steps, and Mark Gurman tweeted it would start with Apple’s MacBook portable line.

Designed by Apple

The prospect of Apple moving Macs to its own processors was once a source of vague dread for me and lots of Mac fans I’ve spoken to over the years. Macs gained a lot of clout by moving to Intel in the early days of Mac OS X, and Intel has long made the most powerful CPUs for many applications.

So far, Apple has shown outstanding expertise in designing ARM processors, the kind of processors found in iPhones, iPads, and most mobile devices. ARM dominates mobile in the first place because it excels at using less power. The kinds of data crunching needed for desktop computing has remained firmly in the realm of Intel—and x86 processors by AMD.

The worry, therefore, is whether Macs would take a hit in terms of performance if Apple moved the Mac to its own ARM processors. That is a possibility, but the reality is that Apple has quietly become a powerhouse in designing best-in-class ARM processors. If Apple thinks it can move Macs to ARM, I’m excited to see what that might look like.

And, it’s possible Apple is also working on its own x86 processor, and if that’s the case, I’m even more excited. One of the key advantages in making its own processors is the ability to have those CPUs do what they need to do, when they need to do it. At the same time, Apple’s control of the software, too, means Apple can wring every bit of both power and efficiency out of those chips in ways no competitor can.

Accordingly, I greet this news with enthusiasm and can’t wait to see what Apple thinks it can do.

9 Comments Add a comment

  1. dlstarr7

    I can already see the G3/Intel processor speed tests running in a keynote presentation…

    “I know runs at 300mhz, but in Photoshop it runs 3 times as fast as that Intel at 1ghz! See, look at the speed tests”

    Sigh…

  2. craigf

    Seems to me it makes sense to convert non-pro laptops to in-house chips to start with and leave pro laptops on Intel until the switch can be made transparently, meaning Intel compatibility without loss of performance.
    Too many users need to run Windows for business purposes for Apple to drive them away.

    • JustCause

      One problem, QA. People already complain about Quality Assurance from Apple, more chips equals more problems.

  3. d'monder

    For me it doesn’t matter whose chips are inside, but I do need to dual boot and run Windows natively. Much more than I need iOS apps on the desktop.

    If Boot Camp ever goes away, it’ll be a day of reckoning I don’t want.

    • gGrant

      Windows on ARM has been public for a while. I saw this as Microsoft pre-empting Apple, not to mention a boon for Apple if it changes processors.

      I’m FAR less concerned which processor Mac OS runs on, than the dumbing down of Mac OS to gain feature parity with iPad. That’s just insulting to Mac customers, not to mention a clear step in the wrong direction for ‘proper’ computing, which some of us still do.

      Sure there are a lot more people who don’t need a computer to do social, email, word processing etc. iOS is perfect for them. And I’m delighted Apple has something for this market. It boosts Apple’s bottom line and should support development of Mac into the future.

      Abandoning Mac for the non-computer market is just not acceptable to me as an Apple customer. Maybe I’d better have a look at elementary OS again, just in case. Hardly Mac OS, but they at least care. I see NO SIGNS that Apple cares. iMac Pro and Mac Pro are so too-little-too-late (not the hardware, but the outdated Mac OS software with no touch future) and I’m at the point of losing sleep over this. I’ve been far more productive on Mac OS for decades now and Apple doesn’t seem to have a path forward for me. Just keep Mac going until Apple can capture enough of the non-computer market to let computers drop.

      There are no positive signs for the future of Mac.
      Marzipan seems like the wrong track and I hope there’s another group with a better idea. Xcode is way overdue for a complete re-imagining. Use the lessons of iOS and bring us a unified coding environment that’s better than BOTH.
      Putting lipstick on the iOS pig and calling it a computer replacement is plain scary. MacBook is way more productive than iPad Pro, for those that actually need a computer.
      Touch Bar, if you listen to former Apple designers predated iPhone and the touch screen. Putting a 10 year old technology, which has been completely superseded by the touch screen, on to Mac speaks volumes about where Apple sees Mac’s future.
      Apple has had 10 years iOS experience to come up with an even better touch Mac experience and there’s just no signs Apple has the will to do this.
      The Jobs credo of each device needs to justify it’s existence seems to have gone out the door. Mac OS has been crippled for fear of killing the golden calf of iOS, instead of true competition driving both platforms to even greater heights.

  4. webjprgm

    If it is ARM that might still run versions of Linux and Windows. Wasn’t there a version of Windows for their ARM-based Surface tablet? But it had reduced capabilities and couldn’t run all x86 apps.

Add a Comment

Log in to comment (TMO, Twitter, Facebook) or Register for a TMO Account