Almost 50 years ago, Intel introduced its Intel 4004. That chip changed computing forever , because it was the first of a long family of processors that, especially with the 1978 Intel 8086, ended up defining personal computing in the following decades.
That processor defined the x86 architecture that has dominated the landscape in PCs and laptops for years, but that dominance is now faltering against the promise of Apple and its M1 chips based on the ARM architecture. So much so that even Microsoft now seems to be designing its own ARM chips, and that’s the best indication that computing might not be what it was very soon.
ARM first conquered mobiles …
ARM was already dominating the mobile market when the first iPhone went on sale: in 2007 98% of mobile devices already had a CPU based on this architecture, but it was the Apple device that caused the explosion of the mobility .https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.433.0_en.html#goog_784913066Volume 90%
The Cupertino company soon detected how important it was to have its own SoC for its devices: the first iPad of 2010 shone through the integration of Apple’s first SoC, the A4, among other things, and there would start a career that has taken a leap unique with the launch of the Apple M1 for your laptops and desktops.
Along the way, it has been seen how not only Apple, but other manufacturers have opted for their own designs based on ARM’s proposals and have taken advantage of them to conquer part of that attractive segment of mobility.
Qualcomm and MediaTek are great providers in this segment for all those who do not have their own chips, but there have been great technology companies that have also worked on them, and here both Samsung with its Exynos and Huawei with its Kirin are clear examples of that ambition to count. with more and more advanced chips and more adapted to the devices that use them.
All these designs have been during these years destined for mobile devices and also for certain household appliances, but except on rare occasions the ARM chips did not seem able (or wanting) to compete with the microprocessors oriented to PCs and laptops .
Intel and AMD dominated that segment smoothly, and everyone seemed happy with the cast . Neither of them got into the mobility market (too much, although we saw mobiles and tablets with x86 microphones), nor did the others get into (too much, because we have seen ARM laptops and convertibles) into the personal computing segment.
Until now .
… and now goes for PCs and laptops
The rumble had been sounding for some time. The processors that Apple integrated into its iPhone and iPad were increasingly powerful and various benchmarks and independent analyzes had made it clear that these ARM SoCs were already as powerful as some x86 processors that we found at that time, especially in ultraportables.