Apple's first Macs running on the so-called ARM architecture will show up at some point next year, Intel's chief executive conceded Thursday.
"I think there's an ARM Mac coming in the near future," Brian Krzanich said at the annual JPMorgan conference, according to PC World.
Arguably the most important comment about Apple's line of Mac computers comes from an information embargo in which Apple executives are typically barred from discussing their upcoming products.
Krzanich's comments suggest that Apple's next-generation Macs could be ARM-based, or powered by chips made using processes optimized for just a few design types. That's unlike Intel's CPUs, which are widely used in both desktops and tablets, both of which consume the same power and need the same processing capabilities.
There's reason to believe that's what Apple has in mind. Intel's Atom line, which uses traditional x86 technology, has been gaining traction in the industry, particularly among tablet devices, thanks to the company's pledge to continue investing in Atom development. The success of Intel's successor to the Atom is arguably why rumors about Apple's iPhone, iPad and Macs using ARM chips have become more common, particularly in relation to Intel's smartphones, the company's first ARM-based efforts. Intel's (and Qualcomm's) prior iterations of processors largely failed in mobile, even though recent iterations have been inching along.
Apple has yet to comment directly about whether ARM chips are its future plans, nor has it been very forthcoming about how it'll improve the performance of its Mac computers.
Krzanich said he believes Intel's future doesn't lie in the chip market but in its ability to make chips that "accelerate" the cloud computing "race" that both Intel and Apple are pursuing.
"One of the most important things for us now is not to just perform," Krzanich said, according to PC World. "Intel does feel we need to move upstream a little bit. We need to move upstream to accelerate the cloud."