A new investor note from reputed analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (via MacRumors) sheds a lot of light on some of Apple’s upcoming product plans. First and foremost, and not at all surprising, Kuo relays that Apple will rely on Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) exclusively for its forthcoming A13 and A14 processors on upcoming iPhone models. Again, this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone given that Apple has been trying to distance itself from all things Samsung for quite a few years now.
What is somewhat surprising, and downright interesting, is Kuo’s assertion that Apple may tap TSMC to manufacture ARM-based processors for the Mac as early as 2020. If this at all sounds familiar, it’s because we’ve seen rumblings about this shift for quite some time now. Early last year, for example, a report surfaced claiming that Apple has a team of engineers solely tasked with designing ARM-based processors for upcoming Mac laptops.
Now does this mean that Apple is poised to abandon Intel processors within two years? While not likely, that may very well be Apple’s ultimate goal. From what we’ve gathered so far, Apple may initially incorporate custom ARM chips that will live alongside Intel processors.
Kuo’s note reads in part:
We also expect that Mac models will adopt Apple’s in-house-designed processor starting 2020 or 2021, which will create four advantages for Apple: (1) Apple could control everything about the Mac’s design and production and be rid of negative impacts from Intel’s processor shipment schedule changes. (2) Better profits thanks to lower processor cost. (3) Mac market share gain if Apple lowers the price. (4) It could differentiate Mac from peers’ products.
Kuo also writes that Apple may call on TSMC to manufacture chips for the company’s mythical Apple car. If you recall, Apple’s focus when it comes to the automotive space now rests on self-driving car technologies. And though Apple typically doesn’t discuss upcoming initiatives, Tim Cook last year effectively confirmed Apple’s work in this area.
As part of an interview with Bloomberg, Cook said that Apple is “focusing on autonomous systems” and that it’s a “core technology that we view as very important.”
Kuo adds that an Apple Car may see the light of day as early as 2023, though there remain numerous factors which make such an endeavor somewhat implausible at this point.