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Explained: Why Apple’s Silicon Ambition Is Bad News For Intel, The Windows Ecosystem


Apple Monday introduced two new high-end MacBook Pros powered by its own custom “Apple Silicon” chips. But it wasn’t just another event to show off Cupertino’s expertise in hardware and software. In fact, the event was a demonstration of Apple’s progress in the processor segment with its internal silicon showing chipmaker Intel and the entire PC industry what is wrong with laptops. Windows and the chipsets that power them.

Along with performance, even in terms of perception, the new M1 Pro and M1 Max chipsets that power the 14in and 16in MacBook Pro models have hit Intel hard. “This effectively puts pressure on Intel,” Bryan Ma, vice president of client devices at market research firm IDC, told indianexpress.com. “The last thing Intel wants is for there to be a perception that Apple’s silicon outperforms its own, especially when speeds and flows have long been a core skill and a differentiator for Apple. Intel, ”he said. “It strikes at the heart of Intel’s identity.”

When Apple announced last year that its Macs would be powered by its custom silicon instead of Intel processors, it marked the end of a 15-year partnership between two tech giants. The Cupertino-based company announced three new Macs running the first “Apple Silicon” – the M1 – designed specifically for its computers.

The M1, which uses an ARM-based architecture rather than an Intel or AMD x86 processor, brought faster performance and better battery life to Macs. It completely blasted the performance of Intel-based PCs, which helped Apple define the narrative for the future of the modern personal computer. But the M1 chip – similar to Apple’s iPhone and iPad processors – wasn’t designed for consumers who want more powerful computers to do graphics-intensive work. That’s why the M1 chip was first introduced on devices like the MacBook Air and Mac mini, leaving the Intel-powered 16-inch Mac Pro virtually untouched.

But that has changed with the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips. The new processors are a huge step up from the M1 in terms of GPU and CPU performance and putting them in a MacBook Pro shows Apple’s confidence and ability to take on Intel’s top-performing chip. The M1 Pro has 10 CPU cores and 16 GPU cores, while the M1 Max has 10 CPU cores and 32 GPU cores. The M1 Pro can be configured with up to 32GB of RAM, which is twice the M1’s 16GB capacity. The M1 Max, on the other hand, has up to 64 GB of RAM.

“The impact of M1 Pro and M1 Max is quite significant for Intel as these chips would be one of the key factors for creative professionals to refresh their laptops from their existing Intel device to an M1 device,” Mikako said. Kitagawa, Gartner Research Director. She added, “Creative professionals are one of Apple’s primary user communities in the enterprise market. These professionals have been waiting for the M1 device for them and more and more applications are being written natively for M1.

Even though MacBook Pro is only aimed at business users such as graphic designers and coders, they are also the most loyal customers. They’re the ones who are willing to spend thousands of dollars on a high-end laptop and for them performance per watt really matters.

The launch of the M1 Pro and M1 Max shows how far Apple has come in developing silicon on its own. Cupertino started investing in chip development in 2008. And since 2010 it has been using its own A-series chips for iPhones and iPads. Having full control over hardware, software, and chip development helps Apple tightly integrate its products, which you won’t get with Windows PCs that are powered by Intel or AMD chips. Under Johny Srouji, Apple transformed into a chip company, a massive transformation that was far from the media glare until recently.

But Apple’s rise as a silicon major is also linked to Intel’s inability to meet the needs of Apple, which at one point was a major customer. With continued delays in moving to a new, smaller transistor process and its reluctance to outsource chip manufacturing, Intel has fallen behind TSMC in the race to make better processors.

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Despite this, Intel still holds the lion’s share of the processor market. The problem is, the PC industry as a whole, including OEMs, software vendors, and GPU manufacturers, is heavily dependent on Intel. It’s true that Apple controls the hardware and software, but like Intel, Microsoft, and the PC makers, they also work closely together in product design. But then the PC market has become stagnant over the years and there is a clear lack of vision. This has led creative professionals to switch to Mac laptops over Windows laptops, with an emphasis on Apple and the MacBook Pro.

“I think Apple is trying to control as many components as possible to differentiate itself and also control the supply chain,” Kitagawa explained, explaining why developing its own custom silicon for Mac is benefiting Cupertino and helping the company to design products at their own pace regardless of Intel’s chip development schedule. It is also about controlling costs since Apple does not have to deal with Intel for chip negotiations.

Intel may have lost Apple as a customer, but the chip giant recently established a roadmap to expand its new foundry business to catch up with competitors such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) and Samsung from here. 2025. Ma said that Apple and Intel can be partners, though. “Not only are there other components beyond the CPU that Intel offers, but Intel also has a new foundry company that – in theory at least – could make Apple’s own silicon designs.”

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