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Apple Plans to Ditch Intel to Create First-Party Mac CPUs By 2020

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Apple is planning on producing and using its own first-party chips for Macs, starting as early as 2020.

The initiative is codenamed Kalamata, but is still in the early stages of development, sources familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. Project Kalamata is reportedly part of a larger push to make all of Apple’s devices work “more similarly and seamlessly together.”

That move — which has already been approved by Apple executives — would be a major blow for Intel Corp., which currently supplies the CPUs used in Apple’s Mac computers. Currently, Apple’s business supplies about 5 percent of Intel’s total annual revenue, Bloomberg reported.

In the wake of the news, Intel shares dropped as much as 9.2 percent in intraday trading. Currently, shares are down 6.07 percent as of Monday afternoon.

Market Impact

As Bloomberg points out, the Intel chips in Macs are one of the only remaining processor components produced and designed by a firm other than Apple. The rest of the Apple ecosystem — from iPhones to Apple TVs — use first-party Apple silicon.

The switch for first-party chips would also make Apple the only major computer manufacturer to design and use its own processor technology. Most Windows PC makers, for example, use Intel chips.

Previously, news of similar Apple moves for GPUs and power management chips devastated current suppliers of those components.

What This Means for Consumers

Using first-party chips would allow Apple to push out new features to its Mac products more quickly. And using its own chipsets would help Macs to stand out amongst a crowded marketplace.

On another note, using more first-party components allows Apple to more tightly integrate its software and hardware systems. That’s a boon that iOS products — like the iPad and iPhone — already see. Because of that close integration, iPhones typically run faster and more efficiently than Android devices with more powerful internals.

The Bigger Picture

Bloomberg reports that Kalamata is only one part of a larger initiative to make “Macs work more like iPhones.”

Another part of that push is a new software platform internally codenamed Marzipan. The system, which could be released as early as this year, would allow developers to create cross-platform apps that could run on both iOS and macOS.

Apple has also taken to installing ARM-based co-processors in it recent Mac computers, primarily the new workstation-class iMac Pro. But rumors suggest that Apple could also introduce ARM co-processors in its MacBook Pro lineup this year.

All of this, essentially, means that the Apple of the future could become a titan in the semiconductor industry — in addition to being a juggernaut in consumer technology. Last year, supply chain reports corroborated rumors of Apple making expanded efforts to produce more first-party silicon.

In addition to the aforementioned benefits to consumers, creating its own chips would allow Apple to lessen its reliance on third-party manufacturers — something it’s been keen on doing in recent years.

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