Apple reportedly wants to ditch Intel chips in Macs, hire its own SoC designer

Intel may be the next partner on Apple's "chipping" block
Intel may be the next partner on Apple's "chipping" block

Apple is still reeling from its transition from Google Maps to iOS 6 Maps on the iPhone, but the Cupertino company looks as if it isn't finished making big changes with long-time partners.

Intel may be the next partner on the chopping block. Apple is reportedly considering moving away from using Intel's CPUs, according to two unnamed sources talking with Bloomberg Businessweek.

This would be a tremendous shift, as Intel's line of microprocessors are at the heart of all of Apple's current computers.

The MacBook Pro, MacBook Pro Retina, and MacBook Air use Intel's latest Ivy Bridge chip, while the iMac, Mac Pro, and Mac mini have previous Intel processors and are due for an Intel chip update.

Apple's CPU experience

The move away from Intel would be difficult, but not unprecedented for Apple. After all, it designed its own mobile system-on-a-chip with the original iPad and on the iPhone 4 in 2010.

The iPhone 5 contains the latest Apple-designed chip example, the A6. This processor is also expected to run the next iPad, speculated to be the long-rumored iPad Mini.

The second reason that the move wouldn't be unprecedented is that it wouldn't be the first major chip transition by Apple.

From 1994 to 2006, all of Apple's computers used the IBM-designed PowerPC chips before moving to Intel's line of CPUs.

Apple's SoC hiring tip-off

Adding to the theory that Apple may one day send Intel to the woodchipper is the revelation the company's looking to hire its own lead system-on-a-chip designer.

The "SoC Modeling Architect - Manager / Lead" job ad, picked up by TechCrunch, may simply have its sights set on a designer for a future A7 processor.

However, nothing in the description said that Apple is strictly looking for someone with a mobile background.

Whether or not Apple is looking for a computer-related system-on-a-chip designer now, there's growing speculation that it may be in the Mac-based chip design business in the near future.

Via Apple Insider, TechCrunch, Bloomberg Businessweek

Matt Swider