Bloomberg has learned that Apple will begin selling its first ARM-powered Mac computers by next year. The company reportedly has multiple chip designs on the drawing board, which include the high-performance, eight-core “Firestorm” and energy-efficient, four-core “Icestorm.” Apple is also planning future processors with 12 cores or more.
“Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Apple’s partner for iPhone and iPad processors, will build the new Mac chips, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private product plans,” reported Bloomberg. “The components will be based on a 5-nanometer production technique, the same size Apple will use in the next iPhones and iPad Pros, one of the people said. An Apple spokesman declined to comment, as did Intel and TSMC.”
It isn’t clear which Apple product will be the first to make the transition, but a MacBook seems like a safe bet. That’s because the company’s first ARM processors probably can’t match Intel’s CPUs yet for higher-performance products like the Mac Pro.
“This news has negative longer-term implications for Intel, in-line with our concerns around Intel’s future market share,” Brad Gastwirth, chief technology strategist at Wedbush Securities, wrote in a note to investors.