Apple Diversifies Chip Orders for iOS Device and Apple Watch Amid Predictions of ARM Macs

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has frequently offered accurate information on Apple's product plans based on supply chain information, has released a new report outlining his expectations for the company's chips over the next several years. Kuo highlights a diversified supplier lineup for Apple's A-series chips used in its iOS devices, with TSMC, Samsung, and GlobalFoundries all contributing to production.

Kuo sees the 2015 chip breakdown with the A9 chip destined for this year's iPhones being shared by Samsung and GlobalFoundries, while TSMC handles the A9X that would be used in iPad models. That split is projected to flip in 2016, with TSMC handling the A10 iPhone chips and Samsung being responsible for A10X iPad chips.

kuo_chip_suppliers_2015_2016
Perhaps most enticingly, Kuo projects that Apple could begin launching ARM-based Macs in the next year or two based on its custom chip designs.

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.

Use of A-series chips in Macs would certainly be limited to lower-end devices at first, but Apple's emphasis on controlling its supply chain and the improving performance of Apple's A-series ARM chips compared to low-end Intel chips could lead to a shift in the coming years.

Kuo also looks at the Apple Watch, where Samsung has been reported to be handling the primary portion of Apple's custom "S1" chip for the upcoming smartwatch. He believes, however, that TSMC will take over responsibility in 2016 for the S2 in the second-generation Apple Watch.

Kuo certainly does not have a perfect track record with his claims over the years, but he is reliable enough that his predictions are followed closely. Given muddled rumors of Apple's chip partnerships for future devices, it will be interesting to watch how these supplier deals play out over time.

Top Rated Comments

maflynn Avatar
101 months ago
I'm sorry but once they stop making Intel mac, is the day I stop buying them :(

I think its a really bad idea to drop x86 platform, I can only see bad things from this shift including a more locking down of OS X. Think walled garden for OS X as well.
Score: 81 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MarkusL Avatar
101 months ago
Oh, wow. I thought $1000 for a dual-core i7 Mac mini was ridiculous. Can't wait until I get to buy a $500 to $1000 Mac mini with "between Atom and i3" performance.
Score: 44 Votes (Like | Disagree)
roadbloc Avatar
101 months ago
Apple can forget about another Mac purchase off me if they switch to ARM.
Score: 42 Votes (Like | Disagree)
oldmacs Avatar
101 months ago
I still dont get why people want to see ARM based Macs. Or the prediction at the end of the decade. Why? I only see headaches with this idea.

Agreed 100 percent. Intel is the reason Macs gained so much marketshare. (Well one of the reasons). Having gone through the other transitions (68K to PPC), (OS9 to OSX), (PPC to Intel), its a nightmare and only worthwhile if there are significant benefits which I really really don't see. Loss of Windows compatibility, loss of program compatibility and the list goes on and on.

A move to ARM would be a form over function move, to further slim down computers which are slim enough.
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bennibeef Avatar
101 months ago
I still dont get why people want to see ARM based Macs. Or the prediction at the end of the decade. Why? I only see headaches with this idea.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
NYC Matt Avatar
101 months ago
Why does anyone listen to Kuo anymore?

This guy has a horrible track record. Why, why, why does MacRumors continue to post his nonsense?
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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