Apple’s decision to ditch Intel paid off this year. The pivot allowed Apple to completely rethink the Mac, which had started to grow stale with an aging design and iterative annual upgrades. Following the divorce from Intel, Apple has launched far more exciting computers which, paired with an ongoing pandemic that has forced people to work and learn from home, have sent Apple’s Mac business soaring, according to a new CNBC report.
The report further noted that "It wasn’t always a given. When Apple announced its move away from Intel in 2020, it was fair to question just how well Apple could power laptops and desktop computers. Apple has used in-house chips for iPhones and iPads but had been selling Intel-powered computers for 15 years. It wasn’t clear how well its macOS desktop software would work with apps designed to run on Intel chips, or whether its processors would offer any consumer benefits and keep up with intensive tasks that people turned to MacBooks to run.
Those fears were quickly quelled.
The first M1 Apple chip was launched in 2020 in a MacBook Air laptop. It was more powerful than Intel’s chip while offering longer battery life and enabling a fanless design, which helped keep Apple’s new MacBook Air even quieter. It proved to be an early success.
In April 2021, CEO Tim Cook said during the company’s fiscal second-quarter earnings call that the M1 chip helped fuel the 70.1% growth in Apple’s Mac revenue, which hit $9.1 billion during that quarter.
The growth continued in fiscal Q3, when Mac revenue was up 16% year over year. That quarter, it launched the all-new iMac, which offered a redesigned super-thin metal body that looks like a screen propped up on a stand. It’s slimmer than the Intel models that came before it, while offering other benefits, like a much better webcam, great speakers and a much sharper display than the models it replaced. And Apple made the launch more exciting by offering an array of colors for the iMac, which it hadn’t done since it shipped the 1999 iMac.
it’s clear the move from Intel has allowed Apple to move full speed ahead with its own chip development, much like it does for iPhones and iPads, the latter of which has yet to be matched by any other tablet on the market. It’s no longer beholden to delays that plagued Intel, which started to lag behind AMD with its new 7nm chips. And Apple has full control over its “stack,” which means it can design new computer hardware and software together, instead of letting the power of another company’s chips dictate what its computers can and can’t do.
Take, for example, the way M1 is able to improve the quality of the webcam on its computers, even though it’s the same image sensor used in prior Intel models. There are other benefits to owning the hardware and software. For more, read the full CNBC report.
Last week Patently Apple posted a report titled "Apple's M2 Processor that's code-named 'Staten' is reportedly scheduled for H2-2022 and will use TSMC's 4nm process." Apple's processor story will take another leap in 2022 and early 2023. According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, Apple will be releasing an all-new entry-level MacBook Pro, a new high-end iMac, redesign MacBook Air and updated Mac mini.
That report further noted that "In the second half of 2022, Apple will first launch the M2 processor code-named Staten, and in the first half of 2023, it will launch the new M2X processor architecture code-named Rhodes, and release two processors such as M2 Pro and M2 Max according to the different graphics cores."
With Apple's M1 processor embarrassing Intel and shocking competitors like Qualcomm and Microsoft, Qualcomm quickly acquired Nuvia in an effort to produce a processor that could challenge Apple's M-Processor series. That plan has now been delayed until 2023 when Apple will be delivering their new M2X processors code named Rhodes. Even Microsoft signaled that they're working on a custom ARM chip to compete with Apple's powerhouse M-Series processors.
All of this is a clear sign that Apple's surprising leap away from Intel was a stroke of genius and something that Steve Jobs would have loved to see.