Macintel: The End Is Nigh

Jean-Louis Gassée:

In the first place, Apple’s drive to own “all layers of the stack” continues unabated years after Steve’s passing. As a recent example, Apple created its own Swift programming language that complements its Xcode IDE and Clang/LLVM compiler infrastructure. (For kremlinology’s sake I’ll point out that there is an official Apple Swift blog, a first in Apple 2.0 history if you exclude the Hot News section of the site. Imagine what would happen if there was an App Store blog… But I digress.)

Secondly, the Mac line is suspended, literally, by the late delivery of Intel’s Broadwell x86 processors. (The delay stems from an ambitious move to a bleeding edge fabrication technology that shrinks the basic building block of a chip to 14 nanometers, down from 22 nanometers in today’s Haswell chips.) Of course, Apple and its An semiconductor vendor could encounter similar problems – but the company would have more visibility, more control of its own destiny.

I’d say Gassée’s two points are different sides of the same coin. The delay in truly-new Mac hardware while waiting for Broadwell chips is exactly the sort of reason why Apple wants to own the whole stack. Anything they depend upon, they want under their control — and on the Mac, they depend upon Intel for CPUs. Maybe Apple will never pull it off and thus won’t ever make such a switch, but I’d be shocked if there isn’t a team inside Apple working on it already.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014