Apple reportedly switching to Intel chips for iPhone/iPad

Apple has reportedly been in talks with Intel regarding manufacturing chips for future devices, with both companies benefitting given Apple's relationship with Samsung and Intel's low impact in the mobile market.

Currently, Apple have contracts with Samsung, with whom they have been engaging in recent legal battles, to produce its mobile processors including both the A6 and A6X found in the iPhone 5 and iPad 4.

It's not the first time Apple and Intel have collaborated

Intel, whilst the world's richest semiconductor company, have only had a small impact in the highly lucrative mobile processor market. Lesser known manufacturers such as ZTE have been among the only companies to take advantage of Intel's new low power chips. During the development of the original iPhone, Apple looked directly to Intel to provide a lower power processor but the company was unsuccessful.

Predictably Intel tells TechRadar that "we don't comment on rumors or speculation", however Reuters reports the two computing giants have been in talks that have thus far proved futile. The report does indeed boost a claim that Intel's custom foundry vice president and general manager Sunit Rikhi has let slip his company is taking on a major mobile customer. However, when questioned by CNET, Rhiki declined to confirm the future customer was Apple.

Falling stock prices

If the talks do ultimately prove successful, however, Intel could be looking at additional revenue of up to $4.2 billion in 2015, judging by a figure 'Macquarie' analyst, Shawn Webster, offered Reuters. 

Intel have seen a 19% fall in its stock over the last year, suffering from a decline in desktop and laptop processor demand. They may even lose the Mac processor contract with Apple, as the secretive company are set to replace current chips with their own designs.

Of course, Apple have seen a similar fate to their stock price among analysts predications of their decline despite record revenues of over $50 billion in Q4 2012. Stock in AAPL has fallen 37% since an all-time high last fall to its lowest since the release of the iPhone, now at $431.72 (at the time of writing), despite Tim Cook's repeated reassurances that the Californian company has "some great stuff" in development.

Source: TechRadarImage: WCCFTech

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Yes I read the APple Insider and it says nothing in the way of Apple's mobile devices going Intel. It does stand to reason Apple is considering paying Intel to make chip for them. In this case it also stands to reason that A - other chip makers likely can't handle the process or demand for chips on the same level as Samsung or at similar pricing. TSMS makes chips, but can they process them fast enough? Not hardly. With increase in production always comes more problems. Apple can;t afford problems.

To insure Apple can keep similar chip production, at a similar line of quality; Intel is the ONLY chip maker than can push a larger number in production, have less waste vs production and overall have top quality.

Even if/when Samsung loses Apple as a customer; Samsung wont be hurt by very much. Samsung is good at making their own chips for theoir own devices. Nothing in Sammies chips shows any ripping from Apple.

The reality is this tho...Samsung can buy an Apple device when it is released and still make a product from reverse engineering and have a product in production 3 months after. They are that good. Apple really hasnt solved their problem by ditching.

Misleading and should be corrected. The title of the linked article states

"Apple eyeing Intel in plan to ditch Samsung chips?

Future iPhone, iPad system-on-a-chip manufacturing could be handled by Intel instead of Samsung "

Please change the title.

Torolol said,
wont be long until Intel following Samsung lead,
or offering the iSomething's chip to Android devices makers ...
Apple would contractually obligate Intel to only sell the chips to Apple, assuming that the chips were Apple's proprietary, ARM-based AX.

It's unlikely that Apple would switch to x86 for their phones, as the power thresholds have just not gotten low enough. If Intel is able to crack into that ultra-low power thresholds required for mobile devices, then other companies will absolutely follow suit and Apple will quickly lose its advantage, but they may get a headstart similar to how they did with the MacBook Air's ULV processor.

I'd crack up laughing if they did this...

especially since Apple bought that company just for their ARM expertise to make their own ARM chip designs a few years back...

Stetson said,
If this does happen it will be Intel manufacturing Apple's AX ARM designs, not Apple using x86 chips.

you can't be sure, people said Apple would never use Intel chips because "they aren't as good as PPC"..... we saw what happened there

neufuse said,

you can't be sure, people said Apple would never use Intel chips because "they aren't as good as PPC"..... we saw what happened there


At the time they started using PPC that may even have been true, but only a few years later PPC was simply a dead product...

neufuse said,
I'd crack up laughing if they did this...

especially since Apple bought that company just for their ARM expertise to make their own ARM chip designs a few years back...


Intel would just produce these chips with Apple as the designer...

neufuse said,

you can't be sure, people said Apple would never use Intel chips because "they aren't as good as PPC"..... we saw what happened there

Apple ditched PPC because they couldn't get the PPC chips they wanted. With their ARM chips they are doing the design work and have complete control over them. They've invested a ton of time and money building up their CPU engineering department so I don't see why they would switch at this point.

Adding the extra burden of the x86 instruction set also would make no sense because they already have all of their software and development tools designed and optimized for ARM. If they were just starting out with a new platform then going with x86 might have saved them that work, but at this point that work has already been done.

Um, there's a difference between using 'Intel Chips' and using Intel to fab their own chip designs.

I believe the latter is what's being rumored, not the former.

I'm sure Apple would love to use Intel's 22nm and upcoming 14nm fabs while everyone else is still stuck on 28nm/20nm.

It would be good if they did. Cause it would open up more ways to program for the iPhone cause of the present chips we have to convert code to native ios least then maybe we can run C sharp code etc without the conversion process

David Buckley said,
It would be good if they did. Cause it would open up more ways to program for the iPhone cause of the present chips we have to convert code to native ios least then maybe we can run C sharp code etc without the conversion process

C# compiles to MSIL, which is platform independent... you just need a the correct platform interpreter to run that MSIL code..... C# itself is platform independent, MSIL is platform independent..... you could run .NET code on ARM on iOS if someone would make a .net framework for it

Well, I got a RAZRi (atom x86 processor) and I can say it's extremely fast (plus battery last past 5 days on 2g networks with bluetooth on at nights), this is quite normal considering how powerful the x86 architecture is compared to ARM... the real evolution of a x86 processor is a PowerPC one, sadly that architecture never took off... what I'm waiting now is a AMD based APU solution, that would definitely be a huge graphics boost for a mobile platform.

Arceles said,
Well, I got a RAZRi (atom x86 processor) and I can say it's extremely fast (plus battery last past 5 days on 2g networks with bluetooth on at nights), this is quite normal considering how powerful the x86 architecture is compared to ARM...

I was considering the RAZR I recently, would you recommend it?

Arceles said,

the real evolution of a x86 processor is a PowerPC one, sadly that architecture never took off...

I think you got that wrong. PPC has absolutely nothing to do with x86. They are completely unrelated, designed and manufactured by different companies (Intel, AIM), follow different philosophies in their interfaces (CISC [well actually modern x86 is a RISC internally], RISC),...
Not to mention that certain aspects of PPC's design proved to be inferior...

Arceles said,

what I'm waiting now is a AMD based APU solution, that would definitely be a huge graphics boost for a mobile platform.

Problem is: AMD doesn't have the advanced manufacturing process that Intel has and their chips need way more power than Atoms... That would render x86 yet again unusable for portable devices...

I really recommend the RAZR i just because is very sleek and it works very well, there are however some programs that google tells you you cannot download because they are not compatible with the device, an example of this is Photoshop Touch for Phone, I bought it the moment it went out (3 pounds) and it worked just fine, then later google told me that my device wasn't supported (but I already had photoshop installed on my phone and works fine... ), emulators, all of them work fine, the only thing I've had a problem is with Chaos Rings of squaresoft, that game isn't shown as incompatible with the device yet I bought it and had to refund it because squaresoft say it will not support x86.

As for the PPC, I know very well that they begin with different philosophies and that one processor doesn't relates to another, but the fact that Power PC is a newer architecture based from the beginning on RISC and also the fact it could do a lot of operations with lower frequency kind of gave the idea that PowerPC was the way to go... but as I said before it never took off.

I know that AMD lacks manufacturing process but they will manage it someday, that day my next phone will be AMD.

Arceles said,
the real evolution of a x86 processor is a PowerPC one, sadly that architecture never took off...

no no no, please take a look see: http://www-cs-faculty.stanford...oco/projects/risc/risccisc/
the difference between CISC and RISC architectures. also, x86 is still CISC based (it's not RISC "internally" whatever that means). intel uses micro-op converters/generators to do complex instructions in one clock cycle which is a major RISC characteristic. I see the micro-ops like its an hardware based virtual machine ( ). you wouldn't call a virtual machine the real thing right?

ctrl_alt_delete said,

(it's not RISC "internally" whatever that means).

Intels micro-ops are RISC instructions. So technically the CPU is internally a RISC-system. The CISC part ends right after the decoding step...

ctrl_alt_delete said,

I see the micro-ops like its an hardware based virtual machine ( ).

That's not what's happening inside the CPU. The micro-ops are the "real" instructions the core operates on. The CISC-interface is there for compatibility. Internally no Intel CPU of the last 2 decades was a CISC design...

Arceles said,
I really recommend the RAZR i just because is very sleek and it works very well, there are however some programs that google tells you you cannot download because they are not compatible with the device, an example of this is Photoshop Touch for Phone, I bought it the moment it went out (3 pounds) and it worked just fine, then later google told me that my device wasn't supported (but I already had photoshop installed on my phone and works fine... ), emulators, all of them work fine, the only thing I've had a problem is with Chaos Rings of squaresoft, that game isn't shown as incompatible with the device yet I bought it and had to refund it because squaresoft say it will not support x86.

As for the PPC, I know very well that they begin with different philosophies and that one processor doesn't relates to another, but the fact that Power PC is a newer architecture based from the beginning on RISC and also the fact it could do a lot of operations with lower frequency kind of gave the idea that PowerPC was the way to go... but as I said before it never took off.

I know that AMD lacks manufacturing process but they will manage it someday, that day my next phone will be AMD.


Seems like I'll have to give the RAZR i a try...

MFH said,

I was considering the RAZR I recently, would you recommend it?


I think you got that wrong. PPC has absolutely nothing to do with x86. They are completely unrelated, designed and manufactured by different companies (Intel, AIM), follow different philosophies in their interfaces (CISC [well actually modern x86 is a RISC internally], RISC),...
Not to mention that certain aspects of PPC's design proved to be inferior...


Problem is: AMD doesn't have the advanced manufacturing process that Intel has and their chips need way more power than Atoms... That would render x86 yet again unusable for portable devices...

What? AMD has always bested Intel with chips that used less power, yet did tasks faster even with CPU's that had lower clocks. Mostly because while Intel chips only did 2 instruction per clock cycle, AMD did 3. Which gave faster results...with chips with slower clock speed and used less power. What chips were you looking at...this isnt the days of the K6 or Athlon.

And so it begins. R.I.P. ARM. Intel Atoms are really good now, although people still can't believe it coz all they know about Atom is that the first series which were exclusive to netbooks were pieces of cr@p. Too bad that was many years ago and doesn't hold true any more. At all.

erm.... dont see Apple switching to intel chips for iPhone/iPad/iPod any time soon!

However Apple using intel to build their A series chips in a move to further distance themselves from Samsung is a what will possibly happen!!!

that's right, because Apple have never just changed architectures before, thinking "but what about our existing loyal user-base?" anyone else wouldn't be mad enough to.

It will be the latter, making Apple design cpus on A series on a 22nm fab.

I think this might be a good move for them, will ease their development of os's as they will be able to use same base code instead of cross compiling it across different architectures so their goal of integrating the devices (macs and iphones/ipads/ipods etc) should be more achievable goal then.

The question remains with me though, whether the new iWatch will be arm or intel based? With that on the way to me it would be better to hold off till they get the atom chips to release it (but this is just my opinion)

YouWhat said,
I think this might be a good move for them, will ease their development of os's as they will be able to use same base code instead of cross compiling it across different architectures so their goal of integrating the devices (macs and iphones/ipads/ipods etc) should be more achievable goal then.

The question remains with me though, whether the new iWatch will be arm or intel based? With that on the way to me it would be better to hold off till they get the atom chips to release it (but this is just my opinion)

There won't be a common codebase between ios and osx for a long while.

ingramator said,
This isn't shooting in the foot, this is shooting in the head.

Why (legitimately asking)? I am assuming most apps run in a virtual machine hence only a handful of native apps would require modification and repackaging. Battery life seems to be improving A LOT on x86 processors as well (look at the latest Atom tablets). So unless my first assumption is wrong, what else is wrong with such a change?

Intel chips are clearly superior right now already and they will get even more advantages over ARM in the long run thanks to Intel's own fabric and plenty of R&D resources. Stop living in the past, dude, read some benchmarks and educate yourself.

Dude I'm all for Intel chips, I am educated on processors and architectures believe me... However I was under the impression that these would be Intel made ARM chips as opposed to Samsung made ones??

That's like saying Google would produce WP based handsets. Technically it's possible, but still, what kind of sense does that make?

georgevella said,

I am assuming most apps run in a virtual machine hence only a handful of native apps would require modification and repackaging.

I somewhat doubt that the majority of iOS apps is written on top of virtual machines. First of all the main API of iOS is written for Objective-C. Second Apple for a long time has explicitly forbidden VMs (not quite sure about the current state...)

actually these things are really powerful. besides only reason Steve Jobs didn't use them because of bad battery life. now that is changed with more power on atom with bay trail Apple should go Intel

Apple is not using Intel chips like atom.

Intel is going to manufacture the chips that apple designs. Until now Samsung manufacturing them.

The design will be done in house (apple) but intel will become the foundry just like TSMC, Global foundries, Samsung or UMC.

Most of ARM companies are fabless. Ex: Qualcomm, Nvidia, TI etc..

But the design will still will be done by these companies and give the manufacturing to fabrication companies.

sri_tech said,
Apple is not using Intel chips like atom.

Intel is going to manufacture the chips that apple designs. Until now Samsung manufacturing them.

The design will be done in house (apple) but intel will become the foundry just like TSMC, Global foundries, Samsung or UMC.

Most of ARM companies are fabless. Ex: Qualcomm, Nvidia, TI etc..

But the design will still will be done by these companies and give the manufacturing to fabrication companies.

Intel stopped working with ARM chip since years ago when they sold the entire XScale production.

Brony said,

Intel stopped working with ARM chip since years ago when they sold the entire XScale production.


I think he means that Intel will manufacture CPUs based on the design of Apple - who have a ARM license...