Apple to switch from Intel chips to its own for computers

23 June 2020

Apple has confirmed it will transition its Mac and desktop computers to use its own “Silicon” chips.

The tech giant announced it would be stepping away from chips designed by Intel in favour of its own Silicon technology, which is already used across iPhones and iPads. 

Apple has been using processors designed by Intel in its computers since 2006. It’s Silicon design team has worked on building and refining its chip for over a decade.

“The result is a scalable architecture custom-designed for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch that leads the industry in unique features and performance per watt, and makes each of them best in class,” Apple said.  

Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, said: “With its powerful features and industry-leading performance, Apple Silicon will make the Mac stronger and more capable than ever.”

Apple aims to ship the first Mac with Silicon by the end of 2020 and estimated the transition would be completed in two years. 

Geoff Blaber, from the consultancy CCS Insight, told the BBC: “Apple's motivations for doing this include reducing its dependence on Intel, maximising its silicon investment, boosting performance and giving itself more flexibility and agility when it comes to future products.

“Embracing ARM and making its hardware more consistent across the iPhone, iPad and Mac ranges is a strategic necessity, but there will be inevitable bumps along the road.”

The move by Apple comes after Intel was forced to apologise last year when it had issues manufacturing its chips. 

Michelle Johnston Holthaus, executive VP general manager, sales, marketing and communications, told tech firms sustained market growth had “outpaced our efforts and exceeded third-party forecasts”.

“Supply remains extremely tight in our PC business where we are operating with limited inventory buffers. This makes us less able to absorb the impact of any production variability, which we have experienced in the quarter. This has resulted in the shipment delays you are experiencing, which we appreciate is creating significant challenges for your business,” she explained.

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