Standstill with Intel, standstill with PC, standstill with Mac
In recent years, Intel has not made any particularly great progress: The performance increases with a large generation change were often in the single-digit percentage range. Even in a segment in which Intel previously excelled, problems arose: while manufacturers such as Global Foundries or TSMC continue to reduce the structural width of processors, Intel often had to postpone the introduction of new manufacturing techniques due to technical problems.
Favorable framework conditions for switching
This led to a strange situation: Since the speed increases for computers and laptops have been very moderate in the last five years, performance is currently less of an issue for normal users (gamers, professional users excluded) – a two-year-old laptop differs in speed hardly of a current model in a similar price range. Even with the battery life of x86 laptops, no manufacturer has made leaps and bounds in recent years.
Apple leaves the “Comfort Zone”
With Intel, Apple had a great advantage: If Intel made no progress, the PC industry made no progress either. Macs could never be “worse” than what the PC warehouse has to offer. If AMD’s race to catch up with Intel continued in recent years, Apple could have simply changed the chip supplier – the software adjustments should be negligible.
But now Apple is completely decoupling from the PC world: All of a sudden, Apple has to at least keep pace with x86 for the Mac to survive. If Intel, AMD or another company makes a significant breakthrough, Apple will have to deliver itself immediately.
In the next two or three years, Apple will probably not have to worry about this: If you look at the benchmarks of the A14 or A14X, Apple could announce a quantum leap this evening. In benchmarks, the A-Chips easily keep up with the top models from Intel and AMD – with a fraction of the power consumption and that in cell phones and tablets.
A gigantic opportunity
The MacBooks are currently among the best laptops on the market – but in terms of performance, Apple cannot outperform the competition. This evening Apple could announce that the upcoming ARM MacBooks are the fastest notebooks on the market. Furthermore are realistic Battery life of 10 hours and more within reach – also a decisive purchase criterion for many buyers.
Should Apple cleverly exploit the advantage of the Macs with Apple Silicon PR-technically, it is possible that Apple will achieve significantly more market shares with the Apple Silicon Macs than with the current models.
Can Apple keep the lead in five years?
But the switch is also associated with great risks: the situation is currently more than favorable to announce such a switch – Apple’s own chips are making huge progress at a high level and progress is slow with x86 processors. But what if the tide turns and suddenly AMD or Intel achieves a breakthrough?
Should Apple not be able to keep up, this would be a big risk for the Mac: Normal users hardly have to struggle with performance problems on reasonably up-to-date hardware these days – but as soon as word gets around that Apple chips are slower than the competition , fewer buyers will be willing to put higher prices on the table for Macs.
Chosen right time
Despite all the risks and opportunities, Apple has at least been able to choose a better timing: On the one hand, the stagnation in the x86 world already described, on the other hand the corona pandemic – Although Apple announced the switch to Apple Silicon in the summer, no more customers took action to the Mac than in the last quarter: The corona pandemic is driving laptop purchases through home work. If this evening’s announcements don’t disappoint, Apple could significantly increase the Mac’s market share under these conditions.