Apple released its M1 chips into the wild at the end of last year and Intel’s nose was immediately pushed out of joint. Speed tests of all kinds have shown that the first-generation Apple silicon bests Intel’s chips handily, and the chipmaker isn’t happy. So it’s gone on the offensive.
Not by making better chips – it’s still struggling with that. Instead, Intel is running attack ads that are trying to show what the M1 can’t do. Whether the arguments are valid, or not.
The goings-on of the last couple of days are actually sad to see. I remember Intel and Apple getting together to rid us of the IBM PowerPC chips that were holding Macs back in the 1990s. I remember everyone being excited to see what those super-fast Pentium chips could do. And they did a lot, making some great machines over the years. But now Intel is IBM, and Apple – ably abetted by TSMC – is the world leader in making chips that are fast, use little power, and don’t cook people’s laps. It would have been nice if the two companies could have shaken hands and gone their separate ways. But that isn’t how things go down.
Instead, Intel is trying to convince people that you can’t use Macs to play games and scientists only use PCs which is frankly laughable. It’s schoolyard stuff and smacks of desperation at a time where Intel’s efforts would be best served by trying to get some new chips designed. I’m sure it’s trying. I’m even sure it’s been trying for a long time. But Apple tried and accomplished it.
The more I think about it, the more this all seems like nothing more than Intel trying to save face than actually change any buying decisions. One report posited that Intel would be better off without Apple’s business and others have noted that Apple’s orders account for just a couple of percent of Intel’s chip sales. So, Intel. Why so angry?
Could it be that Intel has a new CEO coming in and he wants to make a splash? Incoming chief Pat Gelsinger recently said that Apple is a lifestyle company in the same breath that he also said Intel needed to catch up.
Maybe Gelsinger has found out that throwing shade on Twitter is easier than actually doing the work.