Has the M1 really made Intel that desperate?


Actually both Mac and PC can plug in many more monitors than 1 or even 3. It’s called DisplayLink and it works also on Linux, Android, and Chrome.

Do marketing people really always have to be ********? Ugh.

Also, is there really a single thing Intel in all those ads? Seems like they’re advertising PC as in not-a-Mac more than you know, Intel inside.

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This role reversal is neither a good or effective strategy. It’s not even an “et tu, Brute” moment. It’s a too obvious, well-worn cliche. Though I am clearly in Intel’s potential switcher target market, I’m scratching my head about why the former Mac guy didn’t mention a word about speed or cross-product integration. WTF does Intel make that’s better than the M1 chip?

Just a few months ago Apple revived the John Hodgman PC dork for the super speed, more power, less battery wear and tear, more app and product integration, M1 reveal event. It was quite impactful:

Intel’s role reversal here just looks like much ado about nothing.

These ads do come across as desperate, but more than that I was left wondering who they are aimed at? I can’t imagine anyone outside the Mac and some of the other tech community will even remember the “I’m a Mac…” ads, so the reference will be lost with the general population. Without that, they’re even more dry and uninspiring.

Aside from the one about games, overall the ads don’t seem to address the experience of using the computers, it’s a return to the ‘feature ticklist’ model of choosing technology. I don’t think that resonates with or is a useful metric for most people. And IT departments and people interested in tech have their own assessments that are unlikely to be swayed by these superficial ads.

As an aside, am I the only one who thinks that laptop with a narrow touchscreen above the keyboard looks painful to use day-to-day if doing any amount of typing? As well as being ‘handist’ (which would make it a lot more painful to use in my case).

I finally made myself watch the ads and they’re every bit as cringey and desperate as they sounded, though the Touch Bar one was pretty funny. I don’t know the first thing about running Intel, but running an ad campaign that makes your company sound like a jilted lover doesn’t seem like the way to go.

Maybe things are just bad enough that Intel doesn’t have any other options. If that’s the case, that’s just sad.

And just four years ago, Justin Long was the star for a Huawei mobile phone campaign:

At least in the US, it only ran a short time, so I guess it wasn’t very successful. And I guess Mr. Long needs the money.

He’s an actor, not a Mac evangelist.

All actors (not counting the very rare super-star celebrities who are exceptions to the rule) always “need the money”. I’m sure he’ll play any role (that doesn’t violate personal ethics) if he’s paid enough.


I imagine someone watching the add and then going out to buy a Windows computer powered by an AMD chip. Yeah, doesn’t speak at all about Intel.

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Absolutely, the current generation of Ryzen processors (especially the Zen3 cores) blow away anything Intel has, even at higher price points.

And in the server market, the Epyc series smokes Intel’s Xeons.

I hope Intel gets its act together because competition is good, but right now, they’re falling by the wayside and are really relying on brand reputation more than actual capabilities.

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The damage is Intel’s inability to deliver on two, successive chip die sizes. Given their track record, I suspect they’ll eventually catch up, but right now, they’re simply not competitive for laptop/desktop systems where smaller die sizes and lower power consumption are important. They’re also important for server chips (e.g. Xeons), but ARM is making inroads there, too.

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This article implies that Intel is getting its “swagger” back whatever that means:

I am very happy to hear that Intel will be building chips in the US, and that they will also be working as an outsourcing foundry for companies that are designing their own chips. But I think this more of an admission that the chips Intel has been designing developing are no longer competitive, and they have been hemorrhaging market share and most probably, profits. And in the US these are smart political moves, which will create some good vibes though Intel still doesn’t have compelling products for sale.

I suspect this may be a legitimate reason for Intel to passively aggressively attempt to thumb their nose at Apple. Swagger it ain’t. Before they can swagger around, they need products that will blow dust in the M chips’ faces. And as Paul mentioned, AMD is smoking Intel as well:

It reeks of decay and desperation.

While I also welcome the news of fabbing for others but Intel is behind other companies in the fabbing process, their processors are larger than others.

It depends on what kind of chips customers require of them. Intel currently supports processes down to 10 nm. This is the process Apple’s A10X (currently only used in the Apple TV) uses.

Most of Apple’s current devices are based on the A12, A12Z and A13 chips, which use a 7nm process. And the A14 and M1, which use a 5 nm process. Intel can’t do this today, but they are claiming (for whatever that’s worth) that they will be able to do 7nm soon.

To be fair, not all chips are manufactured with the latest and greatest process technology. Intel can probably make good money fabbing chips at 10nm and larger processes, even though they won’t be able to make cutting edge CPUs and GPUs.

Intel can fab and they can money doing so, no doubt. But I think it’s quite clear they’d need to up their game considerably if they’d want to one day fab for Apple.

Their mixed messaging here has not done them any favors either. You don’t publicly dunk on the same company you plan to court to the very next day. I suppose they’re banking on Tim not reacting like Steve would have.

In addition to royally pissing off Apple over a long period of time it looks like Intel’s announcement has just made themselves another big enemy…TSMC. And in order for Intel’s fab venture to succeed, they will need to deliver products flawlessly and on time. They do not have a good track record in achieving these goals, especially when it came to Apple.

I think Intel has stared further into the future and realised that aside from embedded controller chips, the future could be very bleak.

I liken the launch of the M1 to be as disruptive as the the launch of the original iPhone. Before 2007 everyone obsessed about BlackBerry v Nokia’s keyboard layouts, flip or slide cover, extendable or integrated antenna. The iPhone simply blew all those arguments out of the water. Discussions about clock speeds and chips have become irrelevant. Now 15 years the most important decisions about your phone are camera quality, storage size, etc, etc.

Intel has looked at the M-series and realised that it will be as fundamentally disruptive, albeit over a longer timeframe. Give it five years and the question of how many cores, what clock speed, how much memory, laptop battery life will become as irrelevant as a BlackBerry. It will be down to how much storage you need and (for some) does it have this year’s M7 or last year’s M6 chip. Like its foray into mobile phones, Apple will have succeeded in commoditising the personal computer market - and all without owning any chip production capacity of their own. It’s absolutely no coincidence that Intel are creating foundries open to third-parties. By the third or fourth iteration of the M-series it’s going to become apparent that custom-made chips, rather than the standard off-the-shelf series processors will be the way forward.

It’s going to take more time than the iPhone did, not least because there are hundreds of millions of geeks who have invested time, knowledge and money in extracting every last drop of performance out of custom-built Intel and AMD machines. But once the M-series starts to ramp up its performance the penny will drop.

So yes, Intel are desperate. There’s still going to a reasonably lucrative life in the embedded controller market, but the cream of personal computing and server markets will be under serious threat within a few years. Those ads are just the tired flailings of an old campaigner.


Actually, SoCs are printed on wafers nowadays - the process is pretty much lithography.

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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.


To paraphrase Verne, the M1 computers introduced last year are the opening shot. The performance of the M1 machines appears to be comparable or better than the top-of-line Intel machines, but Apple placed the M1 in their low-end computers and didn’t upgrade the rest of the package.

I know that I was all ready to order an M1 MacBookPro to replace my current 13" 4-port TouchBar version when I noticed that it had only 2 ports and hadn’t upgraded the camera to 1080p.

So, that was only the initial shot; replacements for the rest of the line will surely be even more powerful.

By the way, Jean-Louis Gassée has just published a good analysis of Intel’s predicament here.


I’d be a good bit more optimistic for an iMac rollout tomorrow. Yes, the Pros and the questions about graphics cards still hang in the air, but the current low end M1s still aren’t breaking a sweat as far as I can see. My son just did a 3D animation on his M1 base model Mini, he’s been eyeing up an Alienware box for a while but he has a dilemma on his hands.