Report: Apple to ditch Intel for ARM in MacBooks

SemiAccurate is reporting that its sources say Apple will soon offer ARM-based processors in its MacBook line, as ARM stands poised for rapid growth in the PC market.

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CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
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Will the MacBook Pro run ARM-based chips?
Will the MacBook Pro run ARM-based chips? Apple

Apple has quietly decided to drop Intel processors in favor of ARM-based chips in its line of MacBooks and MacBook Pros, a new report claims.

Citing anonymous sources, technology news site SemiAccurate is reporting that Apple's move is already "a done deal." However, the company won't be bringing ARM chips to its devices anytime soon.

According to SemiAccurate, its sources say that the move won't happen for two or three years, potentially coinciding with Nvidia's release of its Project Denver CPUs. Those ARM-based processors are being developed for everything from PCs to servers and supercomputers, Nvidia said earlier this year. They will be integrated on the same chip as the company's GPU.

Of course, there are some potential issues with Apple moving away from Intel-based chips. For one, the company would need to deal with software incompatibility issues that might arise. Moreover, and perhaps most importantly, ARM-based chips have yet to prove themselves in the PC market--a space where Intel has been performing extremely well. ARM chips have, however, become the go-to options for smartphone and tablet vendors.

That said, ARM chips could be poised for serious growth in the PC market. Just yesterday, research firm IDC said that it expects ARM to own 13 percent of the PC processor market by 2015. That dramatic market shift will be due mainly to Windows 8. At the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year, Microsoft announced that its next-generation operating system will be compatible with ARM-based devices.

Windows 8 could be released as early as next year.

Whether or not Apple is actually planning to launch ARM-based MacBooks and MacBook Pros is unknown. And as with all other Apple rumors, take this latest report with a grain of salt, since Apple is notoriously secretive, and many rumors don't pan out.

Apple did not immediately respond to request for comment on SemiAccurate's report.