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Is Apple Dumping Intel?

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You know how our smartphones are becoming more and more like our laptops? Well, in Apple's case, its MacBooks may soon become more like its iPhones.

The dubiously titled blog SemiAccurate recently received word that Apple will be dumping Intel processors from future laptops and opting for ARM-based architecture -- like in the company's iOS devices -- "as soon as possible."

According to SemiAccurate's Charlie Demerjian, the move won't take place until ARM has fully transitioned to full 64-bit cores -- which puts the switch not until mid-2013 or so. Demerjian writes:
"At that point, Apple can move to ARM without worrying about obsoleting code with an ISA that is on the verge of changing, and no memory overhead worries either. Basically, it looks like the perfect time. Ironically, SemiAccurate's moles tell us that the boys on infinite loop are planning to move laptops to ARM at about that time. Coincidence? Nope."
Such a move to a different processor isn't without a massive amount of work. As MacRumors' Arnold Kim notes, Apple's switch from PowerPC to Intel chips was successful only after intense engineering to smooth the transition. As for the ARM chips, Kim writes, "Existing Mac applications would be unable to run on the new ARM processors without some sort of emulation layer. Mac applications would have to be recompiled to support the ARM processors."

Despite the name, SemiAccurate's "moles" have been proven right in the past, and it's not a massive leap in logic to picture ARM chips in future MacBooks.

Then again, two years in the tech world is a long time.

(See also: News Corp. Lost $10 Million on iPad App and Is Apple Ditching the iPhone Wire for iOS Updates?)

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