Apple on Monday officially split from longtime chip-provider Intel during its Worldwide Developers Conference.
The iPhone-maker, which has since 2006 sourced its processors for Mac computers from the company, announced the long-awaited move to its own house-designed chips during its WWDC keynote address.
Apple already uses its own processor designs in iPhones and iPads, and with Monday’s announcement moved its full suite of products in-house.
The WWDC keynote is normally delivered in front of a crowd of thousands, but was held virtually this year for the first time ever due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The processors that California-based Apple has developed perform better than Intel’s chips, the company said, and will allow future computers to be both faster and more energy efficient. Apple is reportedly licensing technology from semiconductor company Arm Ltd.
The new chips will give software developers who make apps for the iPhone and iPad new access to its laptops and desktop for the first time. Apple software chief Craig Federighi said that for those offerings, “most apps will just work, with no changes from the developer” on the new Macs.
Intel will still have some presence in Apple computers, with CEO Tim Cook saying that there are still a few computers with Intel chips coming down the pike that he was “really excited” about, and said that Apple will continue to provide software updates for Macs with intel chips for “years to come.”
The full transition to homemade silicon will take two years, Cook said.
The new chips weren’t the only major announcement by Apple at WWDC, however. It introduced a slew of new features when it unveiled iOS 14, including a redesigned interface for its Siri virtual assistant, as well as home screen widgets for the iPhone.
The Cupertino, Calif.-based company unveiled a new system which will allow friends and family to share digital car keys via iMessage. The system will first be available on BMW 5 Series vehicles that ship next month. Apple said more cars that work with the system will come to market next year.
WWDC arrived as customers have held onto their iPhones longer and the company’s App Store has become central to its revenue growth.
Apple’s 15 to 30 percent cut of each app sale, coupled with its strict app review process, has come under antitrust scrutiny in the US and Europe, where regulators last week unveiled a formal probe into the company.
In what appeared to be an acknowledgement of its some of its critics, Apple said it would let users select non-Apple apps as default apps for tasks like email and web browsing on iPhones and iPads.
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