Speed and more in ‘24: Qualcomm chips may be 21% faster than Apple’s

Image of a laptop using Snapdragon X Elite PC chip
(Image credit: Qualcomm)

It appears Qualcomm is set to unleash some rather powerful processors in 2024, which include chips that may be 21 percent faster than Apple’s M3, the same processor used in the new 16-inch Macbook Pro laptops. It's also expected to be faster than other competitors in the laptop space, according to a recent article on Digital Trends. The article noted that some members of the staff got the opportunity to see the new processors in action (with a “dummy unit”). 

As you might expect, though, there has been some debate in comparing the new Snapdragon X Elite PC chip to Apple's M3, which is something Qualcomm acknowledged. “The experience is not going to be the same because they’re running macOS and we’re running Windows,” said Sascha Segan, senior public relations manager for Qualcomm, “but in terms of hardware, which is the only thing we can control, it’s good hardware.”

In September, when Qualcomm launched its new line of Snapdragon chips, including the Snapdragon X Elite PC chip, it had already made a number of claims, including the following bullet point: “Built for AI, Snapdragon X Elite is capable of running generative AI models with over 13 billion parameters on-device and continues to expand Qualcomm’s AI leadership with 4.5 times faster AI processing power than competitors.”

Does Apple have an AI strategy beyond just playing catch up?

Qualcomm's claim, particularly in its research, development and use of AI, strikes at one of the possible weak points in Apple’s overall tech strategy: As a number of critics have already point out, including Mark Gurman, Apple executives admit they were “caught off guard" by the rise of AI, but they hope to use AI in a number of products in the coming years. Unfortunately for Apple, companies like Qualcomm, along with others, have been developing AI for quite some time. 

While it’s not clear what Apple’s strategy will be in regards to AI, what is vividly clear is that Qualcomm has been spending a lot of time showcasing what it’s developed using AI in recent years. For example, earlier this year at this year's Mobile World Congress, it gave an impressive demonstration of the power of its on-device AI hardware (meaning that it didn’t employ any cloud AI technology) by showcasing Stable Diffusion, which, the company said is a “text-to-image generative AI model capable of creating photorealistic images given any text input within tens of seconds.” 

In addition to on-device AI, Qualcomm has also mentioned that hybrid AI might also be a possible path for using generative AI models, which would not only improve performance but enhance and empower other aspects of computing, including expanding capabilities, allowing for enhanced personalization, and improving privacy and security. But such technology isn’t quite yet ready for prime time:  Accoriding to Qualcomm, laptops that will include the new Snapdragon X Elite PC chips won’t be shipping until the middle of 2024. 

We'll also have to wait and see how Apple will respond to this new AI-enhanced tech landscape in 2024.

Terry Sullivan

Terry Sullivan has tested and reported on many different types of consumer electronics and technology services, including cameras, action cams, mobile devices, streaming music services, wireless speakers, headphones, smart-home devices, and mobile apps. He has also written extensively on various trends in the worlds of technology, multimedia, and the arts. For more than 10 years, his articles and blog posts have appeared in a variety of publications and websites, including The New York Times, Consumer Reports, PCMag, Worth magazine, Popular Science, Tom’s Guide, and Artnews. He is also a musician, photographer, artist, and teacher.