The next iPhone you buy might have Intel inside, if the company is able to succeed in its new plans to overthrow Apple’s long-time partner, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.
Intel, the world’s-largest chipmaker, is reportedly looking to make a big splash in mobile chips and has already started talking to Apple about taking over orders to make the ARM processors used in the iPad and iPhone.
Intel’s talking a lot of smack about ARM lately. Around a month ago, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said that he wasn’t worried about Apple ditching Intel for ARM chips. And today, Intel’s chief financial officer, Stacy Smith, is openly scoffing at the possibility, saying Intel’s way ahead of ARM when it comes to performance.
ARM holdings, the company behind the mobile processor architecture that powers the iPhone and iPad, unveiled its next generation processor blueprints today that it says will increase performance three fold compared to its current designs.
The new Cortex-A72 chips aimed at smartphone and tablets will make their debut next year — just in time for the iPhone 7 — and also use 75% less power while maintaining the same level of performance as today’s ARM processors, paving the way for thinner, more powerful iPhones in the future.
Rumors that Apple might ditch Intel chips in the Mac for ARM-based chips of their own design are nothing new. Back in 2012, we reported that Apple would soon be dropping Intel chips from all their Macs. And earlier this year, ex-Apple-executive Jean-Louis Gassée claimed that he thought Apple would soon ditch Intel too. Heck, even Intel has said in the past it considered Apple switching to ARM on the desktop to be a very real and scary threat. Yet it still hasn’t happened. So far, it’s the rumor equivalent of the Apple HDTV: even though it endlessly comes up in the news cycle, it still hasn’t happened.
Even so, when usually accurate analyst Ming-Chi Kuo from KGI Securities issued a note last week saying that Apple would fully switch from Intel to ARM by 2016, it caused a ruckus. People took the rumor more seriously than most, just based on Kuo’s amazing track record. But according to Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, he’s not worried. But he’s also not denying it’s a possibility.
Over the years, I’ve seen rumor after rumor that Apple would eventually abandon Intel chips in favor of ARM chips. And time after time, I’ve refuted those arguments, saying that a Mac running ARM processors is not likely to happen anytime soon.
But maybe I’m wrong. Former Apple executive Jean-Louis Gassée — himself a longtime skeptic of Apple’s transition to ARM chips for its desktop and laptop computers — says he’s recently been convinced, and even believes that Apple could release ARM-based Macs as soon as 2016.
Come see what will really be unveiled at WWDC and which rumors will go up in smoke.
iWatch will be unexpectedly round
The Rumor: iWatch will have a round face, rather than the rectangular flexible display that's been rumored for over a year.
The Verdict: Probably not. Analyst Brian Blair of Rosenblatt Securities swears the iWatch will look similar to the Moto 360 after he went on a trip to Taiwan just to find out what Apple's supply chain is prepping, but the round watch face goes against everything we've heard so far. Plus, Blair's track record for Apple rumors is practically nonexistent other than in 2011 when he said the iTV was going to be a 55-inch iMac. There's no reason to believe him yet.
The Verdict: Kinda true. We've been clamoring for Apple to make the iHome a reality for a year but it looks like 'Made for iHome' won't be nearly as impressive or robust as the Financial Times rumor claims it will be.
The Verdict: Definitely yes. Even though the rumor comes from the unreliable Digitimes, Apple has to start producing the iPhone 6 en mass by late-July or early-August if it hopes to have enough on shelves for its regular fall launch. The production delays on the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 will be frustrating for fanboys wanting their first phablet, but maybe the goodies in iOS 8 will keep them distracted long enough they won't notice.
The Verdict: Please yes, but maybe it's a bad idea? This could be the first iPhone 6 rear shell spotted in the wild and it's the first rear shell to have a clear logo. Matching the iPhone's logo to the glowing MacBook logo would look awesome, until you go to a concert and 800 zealots thrust their pulsating Apple lights into the air to praise Jobs, or take a picture. It could get weird.
We get slammed 24/7 with new Apple rumors. Some are accurate, most are not. To give you a clue about what’s really coming out of Cupertino in the future, we’re busting out our rumor debunker each week to blow up the nonsense.
Ever since Apple first unveiled the iPad, we’ve been hearing rumors about Apple switching to ARM-based Macs. Now, the rumor is back again, with a French website claiming that Apple is actively developing 64-bit, quad-core Mac variants with ARM-based chips. But we’re just as skeptical as we’ve ever been.
If that seems like a disorganized, chaotic response, you’re right. But there’s a reason for that. According to a new report, Apple’s unveiling of the 64-bit A7 chip took the entire semiconductor industry with their pants down… and everyone’s now scrambling to catch up.