Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is often right about Apple’s plans well before they become public. And his latest report might sound tame at first, but — if correct — it has tremendous implications for Apple products down the line.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is the sole supplier of Apple’s A-series chips, which ensures the company’s iPhones perform well. Now, in a note shared with MacRumors, Kuo claims that TSMC is so superior to its competitors, that it will continue to be Apple’s only chip supplier for A13 and A14 chips, which should be coming in 2019 and 2020, respectively.
So far, so good. But more importantly, Kuo claims TSMC will also start making ARM-based chips for Macs in 2020 and 2021, replacing Intel.
And finally, TSMC will manufacture chips for Apple’s upcoming Apple Car, starting in 2023.
If that last bit comes as a surprise, yes: Kuo still believes Apple is working on the mythical Apple Car, despite reports that the company (mostly) abandoned the project, focusing on self-driving tech instead. With regards to TSMC, he believes that it’s the only company that can produce chips advanced enough for Apple’s self-driving tech to support Level 4 or Level 5 autonomous driving, which is what Apple wants. A Level 4 vehicle drives itself fully autonomously in some situations and areas, but not all of them. A Level 5 vehicle drives itself anywhere.
Apple switching to TSMC-made chips instead of Intel chips in its MacBooks would also be a big deal, and not just for Intel, who’d potentially lose a huge customer, or at least a huge amount of its business. It’d mean Apple would control pretty much everything about how the MacBook is manufactured, end to end, which implies lower costs and, ultimately, a better product.
These predictions, while exciting, are in no way official. They look far into the future, and even if they’re correct, Apple might change its plans before any of it happens.