Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger told Axios on HBO that he wants Intel Macs to make a comeback. He “hopes to win back” Apple’s business. Referring to MacBook’s switch from Intel to the M1 chip, Intel wants to create a better space for “developers and users to land on Intel-based products.”
In a conversation with Ina Fried, Axios’ Chief Technology Correspondent, Gelsinger, talked about Intel Macs. While Gelsinger admires Apple for a job well done, he also says that he has to make a better chip and ecosystem to compel Apple to come back. Intel also hopes to win back “other pieces of business” that we assume are currently with AMD.
Intel Mac Business
Both Intel and Apple have had a history tracing back to the Steve Jobs era. Intel shrunk its Core 2 Duo chip by 60% for Apple. At the MacBook Air launch in 2008, Jobs himself called Intel’s contribution “one of the reasons we could build MacBook Air.” While both companies have come a long way from there, Intel’s business is now threatened by big tech switching to its chips.
Both Apple, as well as Microsoft, have custom silicon. However, Microsoft still retains Intel chips while Apple is steadily transitioning its Mac lineup to Apple silicon. Here’s what the Intel CEO said in the Axios interview
Ina Fried: Recently Apple said they’re moving from Intel chips on the Mac to homegrown processors. Have you given up on the idea of the Mac running on Intel chips?An excerpt from Gelsinger’s Axios interview on Intel Macs
Pat Gelsinger: I never gave up on the idea of anything not running on Intel chips. And, you know, hey, you know, our stumbles, you know, Apple decided they could do a better chip themselves than we could. And, you know, they did a pretty good job. So what I have to do is create a better chip than they can do themselves. I would hope to win back this piece of their business, as well as many other pieces of business, over time. In the meantime, I got to make sure that our products are better than theirs, that my ecosystem is more open and vibrant than theirs, and we create more compelling reason for developers and users to land on Intel-based products. So, I’m going to fight hard to win Tim’s business in this area.
Can We Really Have Intel Macs In The Future?
For now, the possibility of having an Intel Mac looks bleak. It is so because Apple has started not just a physical but a feature-based transition to Apple silicon. Some of the macOS Monterey features will be M1 exclusives. These include live text in photos, portrait mode video calls, Apple Maps updates, and other improvements.
So currently, Intel not only has to catch up with Apple to get back its business, it has to beat Apple and prove Intel chips can handle the features that Apple is planning to introduce. Considering Apple’s move to fit the M1 chip in the iPad Pro, we can say Intel will be throwing its hat in the ring for the tablet business too.
So far, Intel has resorted to moves like clever advertising and public relations to highlight a variety of devices it offers. We think it’ll be a while before Intel gets back on its feet, but we can expect a real Intel contender for Apple’s M series chips in the future.