Apple’s future plans may involve the launch of ARM-based Macs, says well-connected and often reliable KGI Securities’ Ming Chi Kuo in a note issued to investors and obtained by MacRumors. Kuo looked forward to 2015 and 2016 and penned his forecast of Apple’s chips and the manufacturers supplying it.
TSMC could lose the A9 chip orders to Samsung this year, says Kuo. Fact is, Samsung is ready to deliver chips on a 14 nm process, while TSMC has allegedly halted the 16 nm process trial production, which puts the company’s Apple orders in limbo – or so it seems. As a result the next-generation chips powering iDevices will be manufactured by Samsung and Global Foundries.
Kuo, however, is positive about an Apple–TSMC partnership and sees the latter’s return next year with the A9X chip orders, producing all of them on a 16 nm+ processes.
From the analyst’s perspective, Apple will split iPhone and iPad chip orders between Samsung and TSMC, as the two devices will be powered by two different chips: the iPhone will take the A9, 10, etc., the iPad the A9X, A10X, and so on. This means that if TSMC took the iPhone chip orders, Samsung would be in charge for the iPad chips, but on a different process.
As for the Macs, Kuo believes Apple is ready to launch Mac computers powered by its custom-designed, ARM-based chips. This will help the company better plan the next releases.
Apple may launch Mac products that use own AP in next 1-2 years. This prediction is based on the assumption that Apple’s self-developed AP performs at a level between Intel’s Atom and Core i3 and is good enough for Mac. Using self- developed AP can help Apple better control the timing of Mac launches and Mac product features.
There is much talk about the Apple Watch and Kuo adds his voice to it: According to his forecast this year’s chip winner is Samsung (see earlier report), but the second-generation devices launched in 2016 will be powered by chips provided by TSMC.