Tech giant Apple has announced it’s to move away from using Intel chips – a position many experts saw as ‘inevitable’.
The two companies, which are both based in California, have enjoyed a long and fruitful working relationship over the years. However, it seems this could all come to an end by 2020, when Apple plans to produce chips of its own to power Mac computers.
The reason many industry insiders see this move as something of an inevitability is the speed in which the two companies have improved on their previous offerings. This was galvanised by the systems-on-chip of Apple’s iPhones, which improved so rapidly that they’ve actually overtaken Intel’s laptop-class Core line. Meanwhile, Intel is said to have stagnated, with such minor, incremental improvements taking place that many people who upgrade five-year old laptops may not even notice many performance improvements.
This is linked with further disparities between the business aims and practices of the two tech firms. Apple is much keener to get its customers updating their devices after just two years. Intel, on the other hand, seems happier imploring users to get an upgrade once every five years.
The reason for Intel’s stagnation can be put down to its reliance on silicon and how this played a role in the famous Moore’s Law coming to a halt back in 2015. The law (named after Intel’s co-founder Gordon Moore) posited that the number of transistors on an integrated circuit chip doubled every two years. For Intel, this cycle involved microarchitecture changes one year and production process shrinkage the next. However, with this approach no longer proving as successful as it did previously, and the company uncertain on its next move after silicon, Intel has become rather stagnant.
Seizing this opportunity to improve its own product offer, Apple announced a move away from Intel chips starting within the next two years. It also helps with Apple’s long-held objective of controlling everything that goes into its devices without having to ever rely on third party manufacturers.
Apple isn’t the only company thought to be making such strides, however. Google is also considering chip designs of its very own, whilst Microsoft has begun to offer alternatives. If all this continues, Intel chips – just like Moore’s Law – may well reach an end date.