Kuo: Apple would pay 40-60% less for the CPU by switching away from Intel

Reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo with TF International Securities thinks one of the more important reasons for Apple to ditch Intel processors in its Mac computers is price.

Specifically, he wrote in a note to clients obtained by 9to5Mac, the company will be adopting an “aggressive processor-replacement strategy” and paying anywhere between forty percent and sixty percent less for the CPU by switching away from Intel.

And this:

There may be some additional costs Apple has to bear which partially offset that saving. For instance, Apple currently relies on the integrated USB controller in the Intel chipset. Kuo says Apple will now have to source that controller from someone else, and believes a manufacturer called ASMedia will be the sole USB controller supplier for ARM Macs.

ARM-powered Macs would help increase annual Mac sales from approximately twenty million units currently to as many as thirty million units over time.

Earlier this morning, Kuo called for a whole slate of new Macs powered by Apple-designed processors based on ARM technology in 2021. Conventional wisdom tells us that an Apple-designed processor optimized for specific Mac hardware would cost less than the Intel part.

Aside from the CPU cost reduction that would enable Apple to retain its high margins that are the envy of the industry, other factors may be at play here.

As an example, Intel’s roadmap has become very unreliable due to numerous factors so chip delays have become a norm for the company. But every time Intel delays an upcoming CPU that Apple’s been eyeing for a future Mac refresh, its own release schedule suffers as a result.

Besides, Apple prefers to control and own major technologies that its products are built on. Taking its chip destiny in its own hands would allow Apple to update Macs on its own schedule and engineer even thinner notebooks with longer-lasting batteries.


2020 MacBook Air teardown images courtesy of iFixit.com