Rumor: Apple Plans Processor Switch for Laptops

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The Apple rumor du jour is a juicy one: the company might switch computer processor architectures again, ditching Intel in favour of ARM.

Apple already uses ARM-designed chips inside its mobile devices. The question is, will Apple start putting ARMs inside its computers too?

According to semiconductor gossip site (yes, there is semiconductor gossip! Who knew?) Semiaccurate, the answer is yes.

Their source said it was “a done deal” for Apple’s laptops to switch to ARM chips within 2-3 years.

Tony Smith at The Register sounds a note of caution. He says ARM and Intel chips are very different beasts. ARM’s design is optimised for low power consumption, perfect for small mobile devices. Intel’s offers better performance – it computes things faster, and can handle more of them simultaneously.

So why would Apple consider putting ARM chips inside its line of laptops? Perhaps because some of its laptops, like the MacBook Air, are becoming more like mobile devices and less like traditional laptops. Perhaps because it has plans for OS X that would make it more like iOS. Or perhaps because it knows something about ARM’s plans for the future that we don’t.