Apple Poised to Unseat Intel as Top Mobile Chip Company [Updated]
So says research outfit In-Stat, which just finished up a survey of the chip market that shows Apple on a sharp upward growth trajectory. With demand for the iPhone and iPad growing at an unprecedented pace, and growth in the PC market a bit more lethargic, Apple’s mobile processor business is fast closing the gap on Intel’s. In fact, there’s not much of a gap to close.
In 2011, Apple shipped about 176 million chips in its iOS devices, capturing a 13.5 percent market share. Intel shipped just .4 percent more — 181 million chips, enough to snag a 13.9 percent market share.
With demand for the new iPad running high, the iPhone 4S selling well, and its successor presumably headed to market later this year, Apple will almost certainly pass Intel this year. And if it swaps in its own chip for the Intel chip in the MacBook Air, it may not only pass it, but claim a decent lead, as well.
That said, it should be noted that Intel’s presence in the smartphone and tablet markets is currently miniscule at best. While its chips are used in some tablets, they’re not really used in smartphones at all. Intel, of course, plans to change that — and soon. Its forthcoming Atom chip — codenamed Medfield — is reportedly headed to smartphones and tablets before the end of the year.
UPDATE: It should be noted that In-Stat’s rankings diverge significantly from those of another research firms, strategy Analytics, which in February ranked Qualcomm as the leader in the smartphone apps processor market by unit shipments.