If you’re Intel, you’re gonna want to put earmuffs on for Apple’s “One More Thing” event today.
Apple is expected to announce the first MacBook to run on its in-house silicon chip in lieu of Intel’s — a change that will allow all of the company’s major product lines to run on the same architecture.
But a 3rd (and highly consequential) deal has defined Apple’s mobile product road map: the acquisition of P.A. Semi for $278m in 2008.
Per tech analyst Ben Thompson, P.A. Semi secured the talent and IP “that would undergird [Apple’s] A-series of chips, which have powered every iPad and every iPhone since 2010.”
At the time, it was clear that the future was mobile — and that meant chips had to properly balance performance and energy efficiency.
Intel, then the world’s biggest chipmaker, wouldn’t deliver the mobile-friendly chips the iPhone needed… so Apple started building an in-house solution.
Apple steadily improved its chips and acquired more semiconductor talent and IP: Intrinsity in 2010 ($121m) and parts of Dialog Semiconductor in 2018 ($600m).
Thompson notes that the rationale for an Intel / MacBook breakup is years in the making:
Apple first announced that MacBooks would transition away from Intel back in June. Today, the deed is likely to be done.
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Apple, Intel, MacBook
World news – US – How Apple built its own chip empire and gave Intel the boot