Bad Chips and the Future of Mac Silicon

Yesterday we received news of a flaw with Intel chips that is, overall, terrible news. Early estimates are that repairing the vulnerability will require fixes in software and could slow down chip performance.

For years now, people have been talking about Apple moving its ARM-based chips to the Mac. At first, the idea seemed ridiculous, but as the ARM chips have improved and Intel has missed several ship deadlines, the idea is at least worth thinking about.

It seems to me there are at least a few conflicting priorities at Apple around this decision. On the one hand, designing its own chip and getting rid of reliance on Intel is right up Apple’s alley. They love controlling the whole widget and making their own silicon for their mobile devices worked out brilliantly.

On the flip side, I don’t think Apple wants to spend the resources necessary to switch the Mac off of the Intel chips. Like it or not, the Mac does not have the priority at Apple that it used to. I’m sure there are a lot of people that don’t want to put effort into changing the underlying Mac processor. 

All that said, if Intel indeed did drop the ball here, it is precisely problems like this that would result in an eventual ARM Mac. This will be a fun story to follow going forward.