Apple’s M1, which launched in 2020, marked the beginning of a new generation of Macs that ensured the company would never have to rely on another CPU vendor because its current products are considered superior. According to one analyst, Apple has a 3-year lead in the ARM-based processor business because no competitor has yet supplied the same silicon found in a similar product.
With the M2 now powering the current 13-inch MacBook Pro, it’ll only be a matter of time before Apple introduces more powerful versions of its silicon, allowing for more capable laptops. While Qualcomm’s Snapdragon family of chipsets are still available to manufacturers for use in ARM notebooks, they fall far short of the M1 in terms of performance and battery efficiency.
According to Sravan Kundojjala, author of the study and Director of Strategy Analytics’ Handset Component Technologies service, Qualcomm only had a 3% revenue share in the same market as Apple.
“Apple established itself as a distant market leader in Arm-based notebook PC processors with almost 90 percent revenue share. Apple’s M-series family of processors set the benchmark and gave Apple a 2–3-year lead over the rest of the Arm-based PC processor vendors. Qualcomm captured just 3 percent revenue share in the Arm-based notebook PC processor market in 2021 and lags Apple in CPU performance. Despite its low share, Qualcomm continues to invest in notebook PC processors with its Nuvia CPU cores. We believe that Arm-based notebook PC processor offers an attractive opportunity to Qualcomm, given the company’s growing collection of high-performance processor assets including CPU, GPU, AI, audio, imaging, connectivity, gaming and security.”
While there have been rumors of a Qualcomm M1 competitor, nothing has materialized, suggesting that we may see ARM-based SoCs from other manufacturers by the time Apple releases the M3. The M1 Ultra, which will most certainly be replaced with a more powerful chip created for the future revised Mac Pro, is similarly aimed at the high-performance computing market.