Intel to Begin Manufacturing 64-Bit ARM Chips in 2014
Intel partner Altera announced at the ARM developers' conference yesterday that the world's largest semiconductor chip maker will start manufacturing 64-bit ARM chips beginning in 2014, reports Forbes. The move brings Intel's chipmaking prowess to the most popular architecture for mobile devices and could prove to make Intel a foundry option for Apple and its custom A-series chips for its iOS devices at some point in the future.
“It’s huge. Imagine ARM’s most powerful and technologically advanced 64-bits processor built on Intel’s leading-edge fabs. A duo that will be hard to beat,” explains Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst at Insight 64. [...]
“Intel will build Apple's, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon or the Nvidia Tegra for the right price. Now, the question is, are they ready to pay that premium and feed their direct competitor, except for Apple. But that would actually make business sense for everyone,” adds Brookwood.
Apple notably signed a three-year deal in June with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSMC) to produce A-series Chips for future iOS devices beginning in 2014, with the move seen as a part of Apple's strategy to move away from rival Samsung for component supplies. However, Samsung was soon after reported to have landed another deal to produce chips for Apple beginning with the A9 in 2015. According to a report in June, Samsung will also remain involved in next year's A8 chip family, with TSMC handling 60 to 70 percent of the manufacturing load and Samsung picking up the remainder.
Apple was also originally rumored in 2011 to be moving from Intel's x86 architecture to ARM processors in future laptops, with a report in November 2012 also stating that Apple was considering the switch from Intel chips. A closer look at the potential move determined that Apple's potential shift from x86 to ARM for Macs was not implausible, as Apple could theoretically push ARM's power efficient based chips to become more suitable for its line of desktops and notebooks. While purely speculative, Intel's move into ARM chips could make such transitions smoother in the future.