… transition to Apple-designed processors based on the ARM architecture. It was easy in 2006, it wouldn’t be that simple in 2021.


Origin: Monday Note – ARM-ed Mac: Not Again Or For Real This Time?

Ampere shows us that the ARM architecture can yield the class of chips a Mac Pro would need. And, as it happens, the chips are manufactured by TSMC, the same company that makes Apple’s Axx processors.

So, again in Theory, an ARM-ed Mac Pro is technically possible. But there’s a final problem (again, from a previous MN):

“…the Pro’s sales volume is likely to be in the tens of thousands, not the iPhone’s hundreds of millions. For the Pro, Intel’s high-end designs will be economically more attractive, sharing the investment with other Intel clients.”

Why invest in the development of such a high-end chip for Mac Pro’s low volume? To which an armchair (spontaneous pun) product strategist might say that a lower-powered version of a hypothetical Ampere chip would soon find its way — and an economical justification — in the iMac or Mac mini. All will be well; Apple will take a “rolling fork” hit, but all Macs will be ARM-powered.

Today, the Mac line represents a little less than 8% of Apple total revenue. How much of a temporary revenue disturbance would Apple be willing to endure in order to secure an ARM future for its iconic personal computer? Could the iPad’s rising revenue (6.5% of total) help cover the hit once its user interface (and keyboard with trackpad) makes it more laptop-like?

I, of course, have no idea but this one: ARM-ing the Mac is easier said than done, regardless of its intuitive desirability.