January 23, 2013, 5:03 PM — Rumors persist that Apple will switch the Macintosh from Intel's x86 processors to ARM-compatible chips like those in the iPhone, iPad, and other iOS devices. Is that possible? Is it even a good idea?
The rumors didn't come out of nowhere. In late 2010, then-CEO Steve Jobs suggested that iOS and OS X would eventually merge. In mid-2011, Apple read Intel the riot act about its power-hungry Core chips in the Mac line and hinted it might move the Macs to ARM-based CPUs.
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Perhaps mindful of Apple's previous success in changing chips -- first from the Motorola 680x0 to the IBM/Motorola PowerPC in 1994, then from the PowerPC to the Intel x86 in 2005 -- Intel quickly reminded the industry it had power-efficient "Ivy Bridge" Core processors and "Medfield" Atom processors in the works. "Ivy Bridge" began shipping in mid-2012, powering both Macs and Windows Ultrabooks.