Apple Inc. is already working on plans to start selling Mac computers with its own main processors by next year, counting on designs that helped popularize the iPhone and iPad, according to people familiar with the Apple.
The California-based technology giant is working on three of its own Mac processors, known as systems-on-a-chip, based on the A14 processor in the next iPhone. The first set is expected to be much faster than the processors in the iPhone and iPad.
There are reports suggesting Apple is preparing to release at least one Mac with its own chip next year. But the initiative to develop multiple chips, codenamed Kalamata, suggests the company will transition more of its Mac lineup away from current supplier Intel Corporation.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Apple’s partner for iPhone and iPad processors, will be the company to build the new Mac chips. The components will be based on a 5-nanometer production technique, an equivalent size Apple will use in the next iPhones and iPad Pros.
Apple designing more of its own chips is a move targeted to gain greater control over the performance of its devices and differentiate them from rival manufacturers. Getting Macs, iPhones, and iPads running an equivalent underlying technology should make it easier for Apple to unify its apps ecosystem which in other words, is Apple ecosystem and update its computers more often than before. The move would also reduce the heavy reliance on Intel, which has struggled to take care of the annual increases in performance it once offered.
Now looking at this whole situation from Intel’s perspective, this news might have negative longer-term implications for Intel, and most especially Intel’s future market share.
The first Mac processors will have eight high-performance cores, codenamed Firestorm, and a minimum of four energy-efficient cores, known internally as Icestorm. Apple is exploring Mac processors with quite 12 cores for further in the future.
The transition to in-house Apple processor designs would likely begin with a new Macbook because the company’s first custom Mac chips won’t be ready to rival the performance Intel provides for high-end MacBook Pros and iMacs.
The Kalamata project has been on for several years in the background. In 2018, Apple developed a Mac chip based on the iPad Pro’s A12X processor for internal testing. This gave Apple’s engineers confidence they might be able to replace Intel in Macs as early as 2020, Bloomberg News reported.
Apple has already begun works on designing the second generation of Mac processors that follows the architecture of chips planned for the 2021 iPhone. That indicates Apple wants to place its Macs, iPhones, and iPads on an equivalent processor development cycle.
It is also worth noting that despite a unified chip design, Macs will still run the macOS, instead of the iOS software of the iPhone and iPad. Apple is exploring tools that will ensure apps developed for older Intel-based Macs still work on the new machines without issues.
Apple also has a technology called Catalyst that lets software developers build an iPad app and run it on Mac computers.
Apple plans to use 5G modems from Qualcomm in as many as four new iPhone models later this year.
Fun fact: In case you are wondering, Kalamata is a city from Greece. We are wondering if there has been any Greek guy involved in the whole project from the beginning.
This article first appeared on Bloomberg.