Apple’s been on a hiring spree in the Pacific Northwest as it ramps up activities inside a secret Washington County-based research and development laboratory.
There’s a dedicated group working on custom chips for the Mac portfolio, according to The Oregonian. While details surrounding the facility are mostly unknown, the report reveals enough to understand exactly what Apple is planning to do in the future.
The team, comprised of nearly two dozen employees, is largely comprised of talent brought over from other technology companies. Many of them have been poached from Intel, which also has operations tucked away in Oregon.
Based on the report, it seems as if Apple would like to eventually dump Intel as a partner for its computers. Mac-branded laptops and desktops currently rely on Core line chips entirely. As we’ve seen, Apple wants to transition key components for all products to in-house production.
Apple already makes its own chips for the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch.
Apple began searching for talent last fall, and the job listings refer to “design verification expertise.” The facility, which is believed to be somewhere between Beaverton and Hillsboro, isn’t very large. There’s development going on, but Apple is unlikely hosting thousands of employees.
The entry-level MacBook that’s been rumored for quite some time should become official at WWDC 2018, but now we have an idea of where the Mac portfolio could be heading. Apple may switch to ARM-based chips and even introduce the long-avoided hybrid device.
Even if the cross between a Mac and an iPad isn’t happening, the introduction of Apple-made chips might not be too far off. Some have said the company will be ready with these Macs in 2020.
In the event Apple does complete the switch, Intel will have to become more reliant on PC makers and diversify its business further. Apple, though, will reduce costs and fatten its bottom line. Macs with these ARM-based chips would also greatly benefit from having hardware and software made for each other, just like the iPhone.