The problem for Intel is not the loss of Mac chip sales - it’s that the lifestyle company in Cupertino is producing devices which are kicking butts and taking names - and doing so at a fraction of the power consumption.
This can have real consequences affecting sales of competing hardware - and anyone who’s OS agnostic can find the difference in price/performance quite compelling.
Most people are looking at these first Apple Silicon Macs wrong - these aren’t Apple’s powerhouse machines: they’re simply the annual spec bump of the lowest end Apple computers with DCI-P3 displays, Wifi 6, and the new Apple Silicon M1 SoC.
They have the same limitations as the machines they replace - 16 GB RAM and two Thunderbolt ports.
These are the machines you give to a student or teacher or a lawyer or an accountant or a work-at-home information worker - folks who need a decently performing machine with decent build quality who don’t want to lug around a huge powerhouse machine (or pay for one for that matter). They’re still marketed at the same market segment, though they now have a vastly expanded compute power envelope.
The real powerhouses will probably come later this year with the M1x (or whatever). Apple has yet to decide on an external memory interconnect and multichannel PCIe scheme, if they decide to move in that direction.
Other CPU and GPU vendors and OEM computer makers take notice - your businesses are now on limited life support. These new Apple Silicon models can compete speed-wise up through the mid-high tier of computer purchases, and if as I expect Apple sells a ton of these many will be to your bread and butter customers.
In fact, I suspect that Apple - once they recover their R&D costs - will be pushing the prices of these machines lower while still maintaining their margins - while competing computer makers will still have to pay Intel, AMD, Qualcomm, and nVidea for their expensive processors, whereas Apple’s cost goes down the more they manufacture. Competing computer makers may soon be squeezed by Apple Silicon price/performance on one side and high component prices on the other. Expect them to be demanding lower processor prices from the above manufacturers so they can more readily compete, and processor manufacturers may have to comply because if OEM computer manufacturers go under or stop making competing models, the processor makers will see a diminishing customer base.
I believe the biggest costs for a chip fab are startup costs - no matter what processor vendors would like you to believe. Design and fab startup are expensive - but once you start getting decent yields, the additional costs are silicon wafers and QA. The more of these units Apple can move, the lower the per unit cost and the better the profits.
So … who should buy these M1 Macs?
If you’re in the target demographic - the student, teacher, lawyer, accountant, or work-at-home information worker: this is the Mac for you.
If you’re a heavy computer user like a creative and don’t simply want a light and cheap computer with some additional video and sound editing capability for use on the go - I’d wait for the M1x (or whatever) later this year. You’ll probably kick yourself when the machines targeted at you finally appear.