Ars Technica does a deep dive into the real truth behind Apple’s switch from IBM to Intel.
Focusing on how Apple has shot itself in the foot in regards to it’s relationship with IBM, and what Intel stands to gain in the iPod arena, it covers some things I hadn’t thought of until now.
One of the major factors in the switch was something that’s often been discussed here at Ars and elsewhere: Apple’s mercurial and high-handed relationship with its chip suppliers.
And the iPod:
For the real reason behind the switch, you have to look to the fact that it’s the iPod and iTMS—not the Mac—that are now driving Apple’s revenues and stock price. As I stated in my previous article on the switch, Apple is more concerned with scoring Intel’s famous volume discounts on the Pentium (with its attendant feature-rich chipsets) and XScale lines than it is about the performance, or even the performance per Watt, of the Mac.
It’s critical to understanding the switch that you not underestimate the importance of Intel’s XScale to Apple’s decision to leave IBM. The current iPods use an ARM chip from Texas Instruments, but we can expect to see Intel inside future versions of the iPod line. So because Apple is going to become an all-Intel shop like Dell, with Intel providing the processors that power both the Mac and the iPod, Apple will get the same kinds of steep volume discounts across its entire product line that keep Dell from even glancing AMD’s way.