At the event, Apple announced that its 13-inch and 11-inch MacBook Air series will have Intel’s fourth-generation Core processor. MacBook Air products are ready to ship immediately. The move indicates that Apple and Intel’s relationship has become stronger, contrary to market speculations that the relationship is waning.
In late 2012, Bloomberg had reported that Apple is internally designing an ARM-compatible processor to ditch Intel’s Core processor. At the time, the microprocessor giant was battered by slowing PC sales and pessimistic Q3 guidance. So, it was the preferred target of short-sellers.
Anyway, now it’s official that MacBook Air will be powered by Intel Core processors. Apple has promised a day-long battery life and substantially improved graphics. Using Core processors in the device proves that Intel is making exactly the same standard of products that Apple expects for its MacBook line. It means Apple doesn’t see a need to internally develop a low power/high performance chip for MacBooks.
Moreover, the most innovative product unveiled at WWDC, the revamped MacPro, will be equipped with Intel’s Ivy Bridge-based Xeon processors, which is considered the greatest product from Intel’s stable. Analysts say that MacPro badly needed an upgrade, and Apple’s focus on performance has fulfilled market expectations.
Tim Cook is a genius. He knows that a lag in performance/watt and overall performance can hamper Apple’s market share. If the company can make a MacBook class of processor with unmatched performance, and still allow a day-long battery life, the iPad may be the next Apple product with Intel inside.
Well, I would stop well short of calling Tim Cook a genius but he was smart enough to use Intel's technology to make the Mac line look good and to continue a strong relationship with Intel. Without Intel the WWDC would have looked like a mighty mild affair. The big question is, of course, what happens next. With Intel's volume production of 14nm FinFET looming in the near future is Apple going to embrace it or compete against it. Will Apple let Samsung get there first. We should know more on Thursday after the Samsung event...