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Apple defection would be slap in the face to Intel

Sharon Gaudin | May 6, 2011
Speculation swirls that Apple might ditch Intel for ARM-based chips.

Olds also is skeptical of the speculation.

"What people seem to be overlooking is that current ARM processors are 32-bit, meaning that they can only address a max of 4GB memory," he explained. "This is a showstopper in terms of system performance and user experience. A move to ARM would require every ISV in the Apple software and hardware ecosystem to port their code to the new processor, just like they did when Apple moved from Power to Intel chips -- except they had Intel helping out with that change. "

Others, such as Computerworld blogger Jonny Evans, suggested that the claims could be a bargaining chip by Apple as it negotiates new contracts with its suppliers.

Rob Enderle, an analyst at Enderle Group, said now is the time for Intel to move to keep Apple exactly where it is.

"They need to prevent this move, and barring that, they will have to aggressively discredit Apple and their products to keep the industry from following them," he said. "Even in their very powerful 'Intel Inside' days and before Steve Jobs came back, [Intel was] reticent to take Apple on directly. But if they don't successfully challenge Apple's position as the market leader in terms of technology and they lose Apple, most of their desktop business will be lost, and folks are already starting to experiment with ARM servers."


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