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Apple unlikely to fold most chip design in-house

updated 03:00 pm EDT, Thu April 30, 2009

Kaufman on Apple chips

In spite of a fledgling attempt at chip design, Apple will likely stay with third-party components when it comes to building most of its hardware, says Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu. Bringing design in-house is said to have several possible advantages, such as faster and more power-efficient iPods, iPhones, Macs and other devices. The move could also increase barriers to competition, preventing other companies from basing designs on shared technology.

The major risk, says Wu, is simply that Apple's chip division will likely need a constant influx of new cash, as well as sharp talent. Without these, third-party vendors may manage to keep or regain any advantage Apple attempts to assert. In this regard the company is expected to continue dependence on outside parts, such as the Intel CPUs at the core of all Macs. Apple is noted to have a history with chip design, having once designed them for a number of internal purposes, and collaborated with IBM and Motorola on PowerPC processors.

by MacNN Staff





  1. Le Flaneur

    Joined: Dec 1969


    déjà vu?

    Didn't Apple computers used to have many Apple-specific chips? They can't overdo this, because chip design is really expensive and time-consuming.

  1. Bobfozz

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Let's see what Apple is..

    attempting to do before we "outguess" them.
    I'm sure the beancounters looked this over with a fine tooth comb. Something is going on and we'll just have to be patient.

  1. ff11

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I could see this

    If they set up a subsidiary to make chips not only for Apple, but also for others. This way they would be able to maintain a tighter control, but the chip design unit would have an income stream to offset some of it's costs.

  1. MacnnGregor

    Joined: Dec 1969


    InHouse is good ...

    ,.. this only works if the in-house design doesn't evolve so far from the rest of the Intel et al. chips that in 5 years when mobile device standards are being addressed ... yes, it will happen there just like it did with desktops ... then Apple doesn't have to do the 3 year migrations thing 'a la Motorola to IBM to Intel.

  1. Fast iBook

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Actually the G3 was a joint moto/IBM project. G4 was moto and G5 was IBM.

    Only one generation of products was 100% not moto, and it was the one right before the switch to all intel.

    - A

  1. rytc

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I think Apple is interested in chips/graphics chips for its iPhones, it will never stray from the intel platform for the forseeable future, it carries too much risk of being left behind and would necessitate another messy platform switch.

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