The pros and cons of an Apple-Intel divorce

There's no need for an OS X-iOS merger, but Apple could ditch Intel in its Macs -- or adopt Intel in the iPhone and iPad

In other words, sometimes Apple goes to great lengths to assert control over its platforms and customize its products, never mind the expense. Thus far, the strategy has paid off, making Apple one of the world's largest companies by market capitalization and amassing it $121 billion in surplus cash.

Today, Apple can afford to take risks and go its own way. It would have been characteristic for Jobs to declare his independence from Intel by decreeing that all future Apple products must someday use Apple-designed processors based on Apple's own ARM CPU cores. Even if it wasn't an explicit command, his inheritors may be thinking along the same lines, due to their longtime exposure to his reality-distortion field. Having fathered a few successful application processors, they may now believe they can beat Intel at its own game.

Therefore, you can't rule out that Apple will switch the Mac to ARM or move iOS to the x86. This is not a company that follows the beaten track.

Technically, however, the best bets are that x86 processors will remain the high-performance leaders for desktops, laptops, and servers, while ARM processors will not lose their low-power advantages for mobile devices. Expect the rest of the industry to follow those assumptions until something radically changes. Apple, as it has in the past, could be that radical catalyst.

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This story, "The pros and cons of an Apple-Intel divorce" was originally published by InfoWorld.

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