Just like Apple once investigated Intel processors for Macs back when they were still all-in on PowerPC, so once again do we hear about Apple mulling customer processors for their Mac line. This time the story's spun around the new technologies group, headed by Bob Mansfield, and reports they're working on new, custom processors for desktops and laptops that are variations of the A-series processors found in iOS devices. Adam Satariano of Bloomberg reports:
To be sure, no final decision has been made and Apple may opt to continue working with Intel for years to come. For Apple, the risk of turning its back on Intel is a repeat of its situation in 2005, when it had to abandon the PowerPC chips -- made by Motorola and IBM -- it had used in its Mac line. At the time, its processors had fallen so far behind Intel’s in performance that it decided to team up with the chipmaker. The first Mac models running Intel chips were unveiled in January 2006.
Apple is known for planning ahead and exploring its options. Before the switch from PowerPC to Intel chips was revealed in 2005, Apple had various versions of OS X running on Intel-based machines for a couple of years. Just because they’re exploring it doesn’t mean it will happen anytime soon, if it happens at all. However, we also have to remember that Apple wants to rely on as few outside companies as possible when making their products. Keep in mind that in relying on Intel chips, any advances Apple might wish to make are subject to Intel’s release schedule, and they get the same processors as everyone else. Making their own chips would allow Apple to more tightly integrate OS X with their hardware, and may even allow more interoperability between OS X and iOS.