Apple launched a number of new Macs through the Apple Online Store today, including a 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro with Force Touch and a more-affordable 5K iMac. They all boast faster Intel Core i5 and Core i7 processors, as expected, and they’re shipping in just one business day.
Intel’s Broadwell chips are late. The 14-nanometer wafers, which are believed to be integral to the much-rumored Retina MacBook Air, are due soon, but still not here.
But Intel’s already looking forward. At this week’s 2015 International Solid-State Circuits Conference, the chipmaker will announce a switch to a 10-nanometer process by early 2017 and to 7-nanometer chips shortly thereafter … a transition that means your Mac’s guts will soon no longer be made out of silicon, but another material entirely.
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.
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.