Apple has been making its own ARM-based processors to fit inside Macs for more than a year and a half, and according to a new report, the company now dominates the ARM-powered silicon PC market.
This report by analyst firm Strategy Analytics, flagged by Tom’s Hardware (opens in new tab)shows just how dominant Apple has become for ARM chips in PCs, with the company capturing nearly 90% of that market’s revenue in 2021.
Altogether, when it comes to the global PC market, Strategy Analytics estimates that ARM-based machines now account for 9% of existing hardware.
What are the main competitors in this space for Apple? There are Chromebooks with ARM chips and also various Windows on ARM laptops (with Qualcomm Snapdragon SoCs) that have been around for a few years, though not in huge numbers.
Sravan Kundojjala, Director of the Handset Component Technologies service at Strategy Analytics and author of the report, noted: PC processor vendors. Qualcomm only captured a 3% revenue share in the ARM-based notebook processor market in 2021 and lags behind Apple in CPU performance.”
Analysis: Full steam ahead – except that supply problems can muddy the waters
When the M1-powered MacBooks hit the market in late 2020, the big difference between them compared to other ARM-based notebooks was the seriously impressive performance of the Apple SoC – compared to Windows on ARM laptops, which are comparatively quite weak in terms of of grunt.
Apple has come forward with its own processors used in a number of Macs – the Mac mini and iMac, as well as the best MacBooks and the best laptops in general – and recently released the M2 chip, the next-gen offering to keep pace.
And as we can see from this report, that momentum has made big waves in the laptop market so far, with Apple’s strategy of ditching Intel for its own silicon clearly already paying off.
While it helps a lot that Apple has control not just of the hardware but also the software side of the equation, with Rosetta – the translation technology that allows its ARM processors to run x86 software (written for Intel chips) – being a key part of the the whole puzzle here.
While we can expect Apple to go even further with its ARM-based Macs and new MacBooks that carry the M2 chip, the only concern that could rock the boat and dampen future sales prospects is how much of a lock-off factor in China may be in terms of interference with production and shipping numbers along the line.
After all, we’re already hearing about delays for the new 13-inch MacBook Pro (M2, 2022) and we’ve witnessed availability issues around the 14-inch MacBook Pro (2021) and 16-inch MacBook Pro (2021).
Also, the new MacBook Air has yet to have a confirmed release date, with Apple only letting us know that it will arrive sometime in July, so there are a number of concerns about fluctuating stock levels.