Widely expected to announce a new line of Mac computers on Tuesday morning at its most recent “event”, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) it could very well start a new war over processors by doing this.
This is the opinion of several experts, who see the company’s announcement that it would power the devices with a proprietary chip as a possible chance of opening up in such a conflict. The company had been using x86 chips from the processor giant Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) since 2006; in June, announced that it would transition the entire Mac line to its silicon chip in a two-year process.
At the height of the PC, Intel was a dominant player, in an almost constant battle with the perennial runner-up, Advanced micro devices. However, new competitors are entering the field in the smartphone era.
A potential major rival to Apple and Intel in this endeavor is the manufacturer of mobile device components Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM). As with the plans announced by Apple, Qualcomm makes chips based on the ARM architecture of the UK company of the same name that will be acquired by NVIDIA. Qualcomm co-developed processors with AMD and Microsoft specifically to power the Surface line of laptop / tablet products from the latter.
Apple had committed to hiring a third-party manufacturer to produce the silicon chips. There is much speculation that this will be Taiwan Semiconductor, although neither Apple nor the Asian-based chip maker have confirmed this yet.
Although Intel does not have the prominence it once enjoyed in the world of processors, its chips still power many of the world’s PCs, and it is likely to remain an important player in the segment.