Intel leak reveals plans for more efficient chipsets to take on Apple silicon

Intel leak reveals plans for more efficient chipsets to take on Apple silicon

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M1 Max chip
Intel is targeting today's M1 chips, but it's not ready to compete yet.
Photo: Apple

Intel is planning to build more efficient mobile chipsets that will better compete with Apple silicon, according to a leaked internal roadmap.

The document outlines plans to take on the 14-inch MacBook Pro specifically with upcoming Arrow Lake processors that are scheduled to launch in late 2023 or early 2024. There just one (rather large) problem with that plan.

Intel plans to take on Apple M1 Pro and M1 Max

It was inevitable that Apple would face tougher competition from Intel after it began ditching its processors — which have been used in all Mac models since the transition from PowerPC began in 2006 — in favor of the M1 series.

Intel’s latest Core i9 processor already beats the M1 Max, Apple’s fastest and most powerful custom chipset to date, in performance. But it consumes significantly more energy, which is a problem for notebook computers.

The Santa Clara, California company hopes to change that with its 15th-generation Arrow Lake series, which are designed to deliver high performance while keeping energy consumption to a minimum.

Intel puts notebooks first

“With Arrow Lake, it looks like Intel is prioritizing mobile over desktop first and while there will be both Arrow Lake-S and Arrow Lake-P CPUs,” reports Wccftech, first to report on the roadmap obtained by AdoredTV.

Intel “is aiming to specifically produce its 15th Gen mobility CPUs first to tackle Apple’s next-generation MacBook 14″ laptops.”

The leaked roadmap also states that the chipsets will be manufactured using TSMC’s latest 3-nanometer process, which Apple is expected to adopt in 2023 (it currently uses a 5-nm process) for what is likely to be the “M3.”

Should Apple be worried?

Will Intel’s plans concern Apple? Probably not. Its roadmap indicates that the first engineering samples of its Arrow Lake chips won’t be ready until late 2022 or early 2023. It may not be until early 2024 that they actually launch.

By that point, Apple will have already introduced even more powerful M-series chipsets that build upon the impressive efforts it has already made with the M1 lineup. So, Arrow Lake will be competing with old Apple silicon.

What’s more, based on Apple’s previous chip upgrades, it’s likely any improvements it has planned for the future will be sizeable. Every chipset Cupertino introduces is considerably faster than the last.

Unfortunately for Intel, its inability stay out in front — or even to react quickly to the competition — has become a long-running theme.