Many analysts are left thinking on the new move by Apple officials to drop Intel chips for MacBooks. Apple is now going to use the same type of silicon that is powering up the iPhones and iPad. Many reactions came from the industry which has shown great astonishment with a positive take over the announcement. Microsoft’s transition to ARM instead of Intel chips for Windows 8 is cited same as that of Apple using a similar architecture for its iPhones and iPad.
Richard Shim of DisplaySearch considers it a smart move by Apple, thanks to its developers. He commented, “This would be, in part, an ecosystem building opportunity. It would be saying to developers that Apple has the opportunity to increase the size of the TAM (Total Available Market) for developers to write for, while also changing the face of computing by bringing key characteristics such as instant-on and long battery life to the notebook clamshell form factor”.
For some it is not such big news as Linley Gwennap, principal analyst The Linley Group, showed questionable motives behind switching architectures. She says, “Apple has switched architectures in the past, so it is certainly possible they could switch to ARM. I don’t see why they would do it, though”. ARM processors are not considered competitive with Intel’s high end line. Intel also has manufacturing advantage over ARM. For Linley, Apple is sacrificing its professional users as the benefits do not seem sizeable.
Joseph Byrne of The Linley Group considers it a matter of time to see Apple Macs with keyboards utilizing ARM CPUs. “Apple likes vertical integration, has proven ability to migrate software among instruction sets, and can derive adequate performance from non-Intel CPUs. Thus, I think it’s only a matter of time before we see Apple computers with keyboards using ARM CPUs. I agree…that it makes sense to wait for the 64-bit ARM instruction set to break cover. My guess is that they’ll use a homegrown CPU out of the chute. They’ve had CPU-development capability long enough in house to have something ready in 2012″.
Bob O’Donnell, IDC, sees it all about performance of Intel, “The concern is performance. Who knows for sure by 2013 what ARM will have? But Intel’s 22-nanometer chips will be widely available by then. That will make it tough for other people to compete on a raw performance basis. You can offset by saying we’re at the point where there’s good-enough computing [so] we don’t need that performance. But that’s a hard argument to accept because we’ve said that for years.” People do want to buy the fastest PC and it keeps getting faster and faster. Apple has experience with multiple instruction set transitions successfully. Bob does not doubt Apple’s capability and believes that Apple is going to keep the higher-end stuff on Intel.
Some analysts like Ashok Kumar, Rodman and Renhaw, consider it a strategic mistake.” Intel can offer them extremely competitive products, leading-edge process technology, and throwaway prices. So, what’s the advantage? There’s going to be more risk than upside. If they misexecute on a product line, then the entire product strategy is at risk. And the price-premium argument completely goes away.”