Could Apple rule computing?
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, but may initiate a long position in AAPL over the next 72 hours.
Computer processors keep on shrinking, which improves their power and reduces their energy needs and costs. In the not too distant future, this means full PC power in your mobile phone, which could be seamless from your tablet/PC experience.
However, we’re not there yet, and there are awkward trade-offs and compromises involving different types of processors and operating systems in the meantime. We will argue in this article that Apple (AAPL) is best positioned to eliminate these trade-offs and compromises and arrive first at a unified computing platform.
We wrote a couple of articles about the end of the PC (here and here), basically arguing that tablets were taking over most of the PC functionality. But developments aren’t going to stop there. According to Intel, microprocessors will shift from 22nm to 5nm by the end of 2020. To grasp the consequences:
In very simple terms, if you shrink a computer chip from today’s 22nm tech down to 5nm, adding nor removing any transistors, you end up with something roughly six percent the size of the original.
You should also realize that energy needs and cost will improve roughly along the same lines:
Thus, the individual chip cost is directly proportional to how many you can cram into a wafer. And if you’re cramming in 15 times more chips, well…
Since we’ve achieved similar orders of magnitude improvements on these metrics, we only have to look back to see how revolutionary such change can be. It is said (by Michael J. Saylor, CEO of MicroStrategy) that the iPhone contains more processing power than the Apollo 11 that took the first man on the moon. By 2020 we can expect:
The cost of putting meaningful compute power into an object will be so low, they’ll be sticking compute into almost everything. A quad-core Core i5 in your loaf of bread by 2025? It sounds ridiculous. It sounds pointless. But I think you’ll be surprised by just how close reality comes.