Watch out, Intel. That Apple-shaped company in your rear-view mirror is closer than you think, and according to In-Stat, could pass you in terms of mobile processor shipments by the end of 2012.
What’s really amazing is that Apple wasn’t even in the mobile processor business until 2007. In 2011, Apple shipped 176 million processors in its iPad and iPhone devices. Intel, which manufactures mobile processors for laptops and other devices, shipped 181 million. In-Stat believes that if the unprecedented demand for Apple’s mobile products continues, the company will soon be the number-one manufacturer of mobile processors.
That’s not far-fetched, considering that earlier this week Apple CEO Tim Cook said that it’s fairly likely that the tablet market — which Apple owns — would surpass the total market for PCs in the near future.
Jim McGregor of InStat notes that things could get worse for Intel if Apple decides to use its own ARM-based processors in the popular MacBook Air and other devices. Analysts say that this currently isn’t too likely due to technical and performance issues, but if it could reduce total system component costs for Apple’s “traditional” computers, it might be worth the company’s time and effort to overcome those issues.
Intel’s not taking the market threat lightly, hence the recent push to use more of its mobile processor line in the so-called “Ultrabooks,” which are aimed directly at competing with the slender and light MacBook Air.