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Intel (INTC -1%) spikes lower on a Bloomberg report that Apple (AAPL +1.3%) is thinking of...

Intel (INTC -1%) spikes lower on a Bloomberg report that Apple (AAPL +1.3%) is thinking of abandoning the use of Intel's CPUs within Macs in favor of internally-developed, ARM-based processors such as the ones that power its iOS hardware. Similar reports have been around for a while.
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Comments (47)
  • wigit5
    , contributor
    Comments (4118) | Send Message
     
    Ouch
    5 Nov 2012, 04:02 PM Reply Like
  • sgoel10311
    , contributor
    Comments (3) | Send Message
     
    It is expected to happen at some point. Why would Intel giveaway any business?
    5 Nov 2012, 04:03 PM Reply Like
  • Dennis Baker
    , contributor
    Comments (1369) | Send Message
     
    Why do you think it's Intel's choice?

     

    Performance numbers on the iPad 4g are off the charts, the iPads are going gangbusters with 3d gaming and battery life on the A6X is great (10+ Hours). Nearly all of Apple's products are battery powered or cord optional at this point and spending $80-200/ unit for an Intel chip is a huge expense. If they can design their own competitive CPUs and fab them for $15-20, Apple will likely do it.

     

    The big question is whether they can make ARM chips that perform as well as the Intel chips in the higher end MacBooks and PowerMacs.

     

    Even if they can only replace the CPUs on the MacBook Airs, thats a pretty significant savings right there. The Air is by far their most popular laptop and the CPU is one of the most expensive components.
    5 Nov 2012, 06:22 PM Reply Like
  • J.D. Welch
    , contributor
    Comments (1990) | Send Message
     
    Apple can't fab their own designs, they need a foundry to do that for them, currently Samsung (do I really need to go into the dirty laundry between these two?). Even with its huge cash horde, Apple couldn't build a fab in less than 3 to 4 years if they started tomorrow, and to the best of my knowledge, nothing has been announced that they're planning on building their own fab. Then you need to know how to run a fab efficiently and profitably, which is not something that you learn overnight, and not something you can hire your way into. So they (Apple) are stuck with Samsung... for the time being. But do you really think they're happy paying Samsung $8B a year to fab their chips, when they think Samsung has ripped them off right and left, and is their biggest competitor in smartphones? That's not a marriage I'd want anything to do with!

     

    They wouldn't just replace the CPUs in the MacAir, 'cuz the real cost is in porting all the code that runs on x86 over to the ARM architecture; it wouldn't be worth it, especially given that Intel is so far ahead of ARM in terms of performance, is manufacturing 22nm at full tilt and expected to go to 14nm in 2013, performance keeps going up, power consumption keeps going down... Yeah, it's like looking at a horse race (performance) and expecting the horse in last place to catch up with the horse that's in the lead and showing no signs of letting up, if you just let him run long enough. Could it happen? Sure, in 5 years maybe... But think of where Intel's CPUs' performance AND power consumption will be by then... 5 years is a very long time in tech... Anything's possible, you have to instead look at what's probable. Just because Apple's engineers are excited that they think their A chips will eventually catch up to today's x86 performance doesn't mean that it will be practical or economically viable for the company to make such a switch...

     

    BTW, speaking of ARM-based computing machines, how are those WindowsRT thingys doing? LOL! :-)
    5 Nov 2012, 08:21 PM Reply Like
  • chopchop0
    , contributor
    Comments (3523) | Send Message
     
    Yeah, but when you want to get real work done, you go back to your desktop/laptop.

     

    I'm eager to see how W8 does early next year in the Surface Pro models from MSFT
    5 Nov 2012, 08:32 PM Reply Like
  • J.D. Welch
    , contributor
    Comments (1990) | Send Message
     
    When I want to get ANY work done, I go to my laptop. The only thing I use my iPad for is browsing the web at night (but woe betide me if I want to reply to or make a comment on that damn touch-screen keyboard) and reading books. There are things I use my iPad for outside the home (and work) that it's nice to have, but all the content is created on my laptop, saved as PDFs and mailed to myself, so I can open it on my iPad and save the PDF... There is no content creation taking place on my iPad; it's all content consumption... :-/
    5 Nov 2012, 08:39 PM Reply Like
  • Dennis Baker
    , contributor
    Comments (1369) | Send Message
     
    @J.D. – They have been looking at other fabs but the choices are pretty thin, Samsung, Intel, or TSMC. TSMC is at the trailing edge of technology but Apple has plenty of cash to help them play catch up.

     

    Apple's A6X is a pretty fast chip though, and seems like it would be fast enough for the Air. In the longer term Apple won't split the platforms, but I can see them moving the Air to ARM first to encourage developers to cross compile then moving the rest of the platform over a year later. I wish there were some benchmarks comparing iPad 4 to an Intel CPU using Intel's built in graphics.

     

    Apple definitely has financial incentive to do this, the big question is whether they can really get the performance right.
    5 Nov 2012, 09:12 PM Reply Like
  • piggysun
    , contributor
    Comments (174) | Send Message
     
    think about the billions Intel invest in their R&D, I don't think Apple will take such risks to beat Intel
    5 Nov 2012, 11:09 PM Reply Like
  • Dennis Baker
    , contributor
    Comments (1369) | Send Message
     
    Apple doesn't need to 'beat' Intel. They wouldn't be selling against them, only supplying internal parts. The huge question is whether they can get the performance they need to keep their power users happy.
    5 Nov 2012, 11:25 PM Reply Like
  • piggysun
    , contributor
    Comments (174) | Send Message
     
    I know what you mean. look at the price of macbook, mac air. Does anyone believe Apple will give up the high margin products and go for low-end ARM product lines? That will kill Apple in a fast way. Don't say ARM can do that in a few years. You are comparing the power of 2014 ARM chips with 2010 Intel chips. It's not funny--- it is loser.
    6 Nov 2012, 01:28 AM Reply Like
  • Dennis Baker
    , contributor
    Comments (1369) | Send Message
     
    Apple will maintain margins regardless of platform. ASPs might be lower, but they will maintain their margins.

     

    From what I've seen, the iPad 4 already approaches the MacBook Air in terms of performance, and it does it with no fan and half again the battery life. As far as graphics go.... the iPad 4 might be ahead of the mini. It is an impressive beast.

     

    Again, I don't think Apple should (or will) move to ARM unless they can assure the performance and battery life is comparable.
    6 Nov 2012, 02:59 AM Reply Like
  • kmi
    , contributor
    Comments (4035) | Send Message
     
    "but I can see them moving the Air to ARM "

     

    I suspect - especially considering new trends in evident in Apple's business model - that like MSFT, AAPL may put out two AIR models, a "RT" and a "Pro."

     

    :)
    6 Nov 2012, 08:55 AM Reply Like
  • kmi
    , contributor
    Comments (4035) | Send Message
     
    Apple: back on the road to "proprietary everything" that caused it to fail the last time.

     

    It's pretty clear that intel hardware and Windows interoperability is one of the biggest momentum drivers its had. Abandoning that which is inevitable, will lead it to failure.
    5 Nov 2012, 04:12 PM Reply Like
  • berylrb
    , contributor
    Comments (2206) | Send Message
     
    Noooo ... on several fronts,

     

    1. processor - 6809, 68000-68040 as I recall, all made by Motorola, that little company recently bought by Google. Then came the powerPC chip made by IBM, then Intel processors. The PowerPC chips were dropped in 2006 in favor of x86 Intel chips

     

    2. I'm not a techy but I'm quite sure that W8 supports ARM v7 which is the current iOS6 iPhone 5 chip, eh? It's the legacy ARM chips v4-6(?) that may be an issue, so don't rush to a conclusion quite yet that "interoperability is an issue. I assume you mean to boot simultaneously on a Mac or MacBook via bootcamp, parallels or other.

     

    3. Lastly, Apple isn't abandoning dual operability with Windows just enhancing it for the advantages of ARM architecture over iCore, well the advantages today, who knows what Intel will come out with in response, it very well be the case that there are two classes of hardware Pro series and entry which BTW was the case in the old days ... er ... 2010, that's when the white MacBook was discontinued and we entered the days of only MacBook Pro.
    5 Nov 2012, 05:01 PM Reply Like
  • kmi
    , contributor
    Comments (4035) | Send Message
     
    1) When PowerPC was just dropped in favor of x86 Intel, it was done for many reasons, but it pretty nicely coincides with the return of some kind of desktop narketshare to Appe.

     

    2) WindowsRT on ARM isn't quite comparable to the x86 version, and not just cause of how completely outgunned ARM is in doing any kind of real computing.

     

    3) What ARM advantages over Core? They don't exist. The only value to Apple is in house chip design and optimization and lower cost. But the sacrifice of Windows interop can ber a tremendous cost.

     

    Just look at how restricted both WindowsRT as well as Apple's desktop OS are in terms of hardware, and think about how that will play out longer term in the current trajectories and all your questions will be answered.
    5 Nov 2012, 05:25 PM Reply Like
  • piggysun
    , contributor
    Comments (174) | Send Message
     
    "However, the report cautions that if this happens, it probably won't happen for years to come."
    5 Nov 2012, 04:14 PM Reply Like
  • berylrb
    , contributor
    Comments (2206) | Send Message
     
    which makes it sound like a purposeful leak, Ha
    5 Nov 2012, 05:03 PM Reply Like
  • zhengliu
    , contributor
    Comments (13) | Send Message
     
    Apple is taking presures from all fronts. Right now they have a lot of resource and man power. But I am not sure how long this will last.
    5 Nov 2012, 04:26 PM Reply Like
  • Leont68
    , contributor
    Comments (1365) | Send Message
     
    ARM-based processors in macs? I am not quite sure photoshop or 3d editing would like that. Programs like that need lots and lots of processing power

     

    Playing Angry bird space on a ipad and doing real work are 2 different things.
    5 Nov 2012, 04:48 PM Reply Like
  • berylrb
    , contributor
    Comments (2206) | Send Message
     
    Leon, Leon, you and your "real work" meme!
    5 Nov 2012, 05:04 PM Reply Like
  • dlevine007
    , contributor
    Comments (50) | Send Message
     
    I wonder how fast Tim Cook can destroy Apple? This guy is a real winner, but it answers a big question in my mind. This probably means that Google is going to line up with Intel, and therefore Apple is going to align itself with ARM. Problem is that nobody can touch Intel for manufacturing efficiency and overall technological prowess in the chip space, so Apple will be attempting to sell an inferior product at an inflated price. Way to go Tim Cook!!!
    5 Nov 2012, 04:50 PM Reply Like
  • jjmc2001
    , contributor
    Comments (1293) | Send Message
     
    Old news. I think the more likely reason INTC "spikes" lower is it is trading ex-dividend.
    5 Nov 2012, 04:50 PM Reply Like
  • piggysun
    , contributor
    Comments (174) | Send Message
     
    No, a big selling on the news ~ 20M shares
    5 Nov 2012, 04:52 PM Reply Like
  • Sal Marvasti
    , contributor
    Comments (1364) | Send Message
     
    The unfortunate truth is pc sales are falling : I visited dubai's largest computer shop.
    I asked the sales desk if they are selling more laptops or iPads,
    The answer was iPads !!!!!!!
    They had mini ipad 2, 3, and 4 in stock, along with dell, acer, asus ,HP laptops +MacBooks and asus transformer etc.
    http://seekingalpha.co...
    5 Nov 2012, 04:54 PM Reply Like
  • Ashraf Eassa
    , contributor
    Comments (9080) | Send Message
     
    This story is so patently bogus that it's not even funny. Someone big is rocking the ARMH long/INTC short pair-trade.
    5 Nov 2012, 05:33 PM Reply Like
  • Rob Tanner
    , contributor
    Comments (670) | Send Message
     
    It's been widely known for ages. Maybe not at Anandtech or your house though. Still, you should like the Clovertrail review, Anand is raving about it on twitter.
    5 Nov 2012, 05:49 PM Reply Like
  • J.D. Welch
    , contributor
    Comments (1990) | Send Message
     
    I'm with you, Ashraf. When I looked at how INTC was doing earlier today, it was up $0.22, over 1%. Then the Bloomberg article hit, regurgitating old new (very old news), and INTC lost all that it had gained during the day. Smells like 3 day old fish to me... :-/
    5 Nov 2012, 08:08 PM Reply Like
  • jjmc2001
    , contributor
    Comments (1293) | Send Message
     
    I also agree with Ashraff. I currently have a handful of short 11/17 $20 puts on INTC. If it weakens tomorrow I will sell some more. I sure don't mind owning more INTC at less than $20 or more likely the stock price will firm up and the options will expire on 11/17. I had planned on sitting on the sidelines this week but may nibble on this trade. If this is manipulation I guess I can ride their coat tails.
    5 Nov 2012, 08:30 PM Reply Like
  • Ashraf Eassa
    , contributor
    Comments (9080) | Send Message
     
    Ha, I know you're dreaming about this happening, but it's really, really unlikely. An article should be up any hour now explaining just why it won't happen anytime soon (if ever).
    5 Nov 2012, 08:48 PM Reply Like
  • Rob Tanner
    , contributor
    Comments (670) | Send Message
     
    Right, except they have been working on it for many years and they don't read your articles.
    5 Nov 2012, 09:06 PM Reply Like
  • Ashraf Eassa
    , contributor
    Comments (9080) | Send Message
     
    I'm sure they've been *exploring* it, but it will likely prove to not be viable. Especially with those 10W Haswell chips on the horizon...
    5 Nov 2012, 09:33 PM Reply Like
  • KIA Investment Research
    , contributor
    Comments (9270) | Send Message
     
    A somewhat interesting side note is that Intel is manufacturing ARM cores in its fabs and ARM's biggest customer is in fact Intel! http://bit.ly/TcdyFH
    5 Nov 2012, 05:19 PM Reply Like
  • Theodor Trampe
    , contributor
    Comments (25) | Send Message
     
    Hey Luke,

     

    Thats mostly for old boring IO controllers and such. Intel makes motherboards and has to license from ARM.

     

    But a lot of people don't realize that if Intel wanted to, it could get into the ARMS Race and use the architecture for mobile and compete with Nvidia and Qualcomm. They just think they have a better shot with x86
    5 Nov 2012, 05:42 PM Reply Like
  • piggysun
    , contributor
    Comments (174) | Send Message
     
    Arms margin is too low, not much meat
    5 Nov 2012, 05:50 PM Reply Like
  • Dennis Baker
    , contributor
    Comments (1369) | Send Message
     
    I'd be curious to see how much money Intel makes on acting as a fab for other companies rather than printing their own CPUS. Given the high price tags associated with Intel chips, I suspect they make a lot more printing their own.
    5 Nov 2012, 06:38 PM Reply Like
  • Matt-Man
    , contributor
    Comments (552) | Send Message
     
    Latest A6 in iPhone5 has same performance as Intel Atom from 2008.
    Next generation ARM A15 Cortex seems to have performance 4x A6.

     

    So Apple could also move back to PowerPC if performance of the chip is not an issue
    5 Nov 2012, 05:35 PM Reply Like
  • genomad
    , contributor
    Comments (144) | Send Message
     
    This is kinda a dumb rumor. Im supprised that people take soo much stock in it.

     

    Here are some of the reasons why I think its a dumb rumor.

     

    1. Their chips aren't ready for laptops yet, not powerful enough.

     

    2. Intel isn't falling behind like IBM/motorola was when they switched to intel in the first place. Nothing can touch the core i7 right now.

     

    3. Breaks software. people forget that processors determine what software can run and ARM is a terrible platform for emulating x86 chips. There are billions of dollars of software running on macs. The power pc to x86 transition was fairly smooth because x86 can emulate power pc OK.

     

    What is most likely is that they will include their chips as a kind of co processor with the intel chip. I have a few guesses why they might want to do this, but I don't want to start any stupid rumors.
    5 Nov 2012, 05:38 PM Reply Like
  • Ashraf Eassa
    , contributor
    Comments (9080) | Send Message
     
    Also don't forget how unpopular PowerPC macs were. Less of a user base to inconvenience.
    5 Nov 2012, 08:38 PM Reply Like
  • Jeach!
    , contributor
    Comments (847) | Send Message
     
    genomad - Per your 3rd point, aren't you forgetting that Windows 8 has been ported to ARM? Additionally, if Office isn't already available for ARM it can be compiled easily, since MS's development tools are already made to support the platform. Any MS product can be compiled for ARM with little effort.

     

    Any 3rd party developers that compile with MS's compilers could also support ARM with little effort... years of MS monopoly means an entire industry could become ARM almost overnight, compared to an industry that would have had 3, 4 or more desktop OS's competing for market share. Actually I predict exactly that from MS!
    5 Nov 2012, 10:27 PM Reply Like
  • Efrain Rojas
    , contributor
    Comments (203) | Send Message
     
    A change in form factor would be the only compelling reason to change processors. As a graphics professional, my humble Mac Mini is more than capable of handling any task I throw at it. My guess is a power efficient design could condense it to the size of slice of bread. Already retina display iOS devices can handle the resolution of a standard LCD monitor with ease. An iPad Mini sans screen is a good starting point for the future of OSX hardware.
    5 Nov 2012, 09:35 PM Reply Like
  • Leont68
    , contributor
    Comments (1365) | Send Message
     
    "As a graphics professional, my humble Mac Mini is more than capable of handling any task I throw at it."

     

    The newest mac mini is running on the ivy bridge i5 or 2.7 i7 , they are dual or quad cores intel chips running between 2.3 up to 2.7 ghz

     

    Just because the mac mini is in a miniature form factor does not mean the cpu is also a mini cpu. If apple really does put Arm chips , let us know if you still get the same kind of performance from it.
    6 Nov 2012, 09:19 AM Reply Like
  • Jeach!
    , contributor
    Comments (847) | Send Message
     
    I think it will definately happen within a few years for sure!!

     

    But to "replace" their entire line of MAC's would be tottally irresponsible and would more than likely never happen any time soon (if ever).

     

    Apple is probably looking at and planning to release a line of MAC's with ARM processors... I would guess in 18 months to two years.

     

    So why the rumors? Doesn't Apple have a history of releasing rumors like this every time they negotiate new terms/deals with Intel? Probably exactly that for now!
    5 Nov 2012, 10:12 PM Reply Like
  • Dennis Baker
    , contributor
    Comments (1369) | Send Message
     
    Apple doesn't need to 'release' rumors, they sort of spawn independently, take on a life of their own and when Apple fails to deliver a rumored product, the stock gets brutally punished for weeks on end.
    5 Nov 2012, 10:23 PM Reply Like
  • EyeBelieve
    , contributor
    Comments (515) | Send Message
     
    Thanks to all who have contributed so far. Is INTC safe at around the $21 support level or is it going to fall much further?
    6 Nov 2012, 01:29 AM Reply Like
  • black_swan
    , contributor
    Comments (18) | Send Message
     
    Semiaccurate had an interesting article about this last year:
    http://bit.ly/mukZtm
    6 Nov 2012, 02:14 AM Reply Like
  • Moon Kil Woong
    , contributor
    Comments (11149) | Send Message
     
    Apple is trying to squeeze out margins and profitability wherever it can. However it is a dangerous path and a signal to a topping business. You either focus on growth and devote yourself to new products or focus on squeezing everything out that you can. It appears Apple is maybe choosing the latter. That has come back to hurt Dell and Apple previously. It will likely eventually hurt Apple's future success too if they actually continue to abandon all their partners. No company in tech is so big they can divorce themselves from the rest of the industry without severe ramifications.

     

    I hope Apple does not do this. Their abandoning Samsung is already a cause for concern as is their own flavor of NFC and Nuance's speech recognition. Unless sheer brilliance is running the applications and chips, they will inevitably fall behind the rest of the technology as it moves forward, much like Nokia did with their OS. Sure it was hot and proprietary for some time. But the insular nature made them introverted and unable to see or adapt to change.
    6 Nov 2012, 02:15 AM Reply Like
  • KIA Investment Research
    , contributor
    Comments (9270) | Send Message
     
    Very well said Moon, exactly this.
    6 Nov 2012, 02:53 PM Reply Like
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