The M1 chip that powers the updated one MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro caused shock waves in the laptop industry. Apple ditched Intel and bragged that its new custom ARM-based processors were an energy efficient, powerful beast – and that turned out to be true.
Qualcomm doesn’t let Apple steal all the glitz, however. The chip maker is determined to bring a new processor to market that will compete with the M1 chip – without the ARM architecture (via Reuters).
Qualcomm announces plans to launch the M1 chip rival
Qualcomm is certain it can knock Apple off its pedestal. How? Qualcomm has a powerful weapon in its luggage: an army of ex-Apple employees.
That year, Qualcomm acquired Nuvia (a startup founded by employees who worked on the Apple Silicon migration) for $ 1.4 billion. According to a Reuters interview, Qualcomm chief executive Cristiano Amon said the company put together a team of chip architects – including the aforementioned former Apple employees who worked on the M1 chip – to bring Apple down.
It’s worth noting that Apple has filed a lawsuit against Nuvia alleging that its former employees breached a contract that prohibits them from giving an advantage to competitors with inside knowledge. The dispute remains unresolved at the time of this writing.
However, unlike Apple, Qualcomm’s strategy is to create a spectacular chip without ARM (its partner in the smartphone sector). So what is Qualcomm’s strategy for its upcoming M1 rival? The company envisions a SoC that can bring 5G connectivity to more laptops while delivering top performance.
While Qualcomm admitted that it won’t rely on ARM’s computational core blueprints to achieve its goal of outperforming M1, it doesn’t completely rule out an ARM partnership.
“If Arm, with whom we have worked for years, develops a CPU that is better than what we can build ourselves, then we always have the option to license von Arm,” said Amon.
Whether Qualcomm opts for a license from ARM or takes a different route, Reuters says we can see the M1 rival sometime next year.