Bloomberg released a report yesterday which claimed that Apple is considering dropping Intel CPUs in their Mac product lines in favor of in-house designed chips. Last year a similar report emerged claiming that Apple was considering ARM processors for future MacBook products.
Since 2010, Apple has been using their own custom chip designs in iOS devices, starting with the A4. Since then, the company has iterated on those designs, with the current A6 and A6X chips showing nice speed improvements year-over-year. So Apple can obviously produce fast, custom, CPUs in large quantities.
I would wager that most of Apple’s chip expertise stems from it’s acquisition of P.A. Semi in 2008, and their acquisition of Intrinsity in 2010. Apple even bought up Anobit, a flash memory firm, earlier this year. Apple is obviously serious about this stuff.
Apple dumped the PowerPC chips in 2005 in favor of Intel’s chips. This was mostly due to energy efficiency and the lack of higher-end PowerPC chips for Apple’s pro products. So, it should go without saying that Apple can, and will, drop a chip manufacturer if they believe they need to. Taking that into consideration alongside the fact that Apple likes to control every aspect of its product, you have a perfect recipe for Apple to begin shipping Macs with processors that were built in-house. I think this is a matter of “when” not “if” Apple does this.