Apple’s transition to its own custom Arm-based system-on-chip allowed the company to increase sales of its systems and made it a dominant supplier of PC-grade Arm SoCs. As for Arm, its instruction set architecture now controls nearly 9% of the global PC market.
“Apple has established itself as a distant market leader in Arm-based laptop processors with nearly 90% revenue share [in 2021]*,” wrote Sravan Kundojjala, director of Handset Component Technologies at Strategy Analytics.
Companies like Acer, Dell, and HP have been offering Chromebooks and Always Connected Windows on Snapdragon (ACPC) PCs based on various Arm-powered SoCs for years. However, these PCs were never really popular due to poor performance and/or uncompetitive pricing. With its M1-based iMacs, MacBooks, and Mac Minis introduced in 2020 and throughout 2021, Apple has not only managed to deliver competitive performance and attractive design, but it has also priced these systems very competitively (e.g. , below previous-generation systems with Intel processors). Thus, he attracted sales from both his loyal customers and new customers.
Apple has overtaken Arm-based Chromebooks and ACPCs in sales and revenue because its systems are still high-end machines that are priced well above average Chromebooks.
Since Qualcomm’s Nuvia-based SoCs won’t be launched until the end of 2023, Apple will continue to offer the fastest Arm-powered SoCs for PC and will likely lead the Arm desktop and laptop market for a while. some time.
“Apple’s M-series processor family set the benchmark and gave Apple a 2-3 year lead over the rest of the Arm-based PC processor vendors. Qualcomm only captured a 3% share revenue in the 2021 Arm-based laptop processor market and lags behind Apple in processor performance,” Kundojjala wrote. “Despite its low share, Qualcomm continues to invest in laptop processors with its Nuvia processor cores. We believe the Arm-based laptop processor presents an attractive opportunity for Qualcomm given the growing collection of company’s high-performance processor assets, including CPU, GPU, AI, audio, imaging, connectivity, gaming and security.”
The industry shipped around 348.8 million PCs in 2021 and 80.5 million systems in the first quarter of 2022, according to IDC. Sales of Chromebooks totaled 37 million units in 2021 as well as 5.1 million systems in the first quarter of 2022. In the first quarter, Apple shipped 7.2 million Macs and held an 8.9% market share .
Given that the vast majority of Apple’s solid PCs in the first quarter of this year were powered by its own Arm-compatible SoC, it’s clear that Arm controls a significant portion of the PC market due to the M-series SoCs alone. from Apple. Meanwhile, there are also several popular Chromebooks based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon as well as MediaTek SoCs. While these systems aren’t as popular as Apple’s MacBook Air or MacBook Pro laptops, it’s safe to say that Arm’s share of PCs is at least 10%, a significant achievement for the designer. British processors.
It’s worth noting that for now, Arm-based SoCs are powering mainstream and even entry-level workstations, but they still can’t compete with high-end x86-powered desktop PCs, in especially in the field of games. Therefore, Arm, Apple and Qualcomm still have a lot of work to do in trying to successfully compete against AMD and Intel in all areas.
*Note: Since Strategy Analytics does not disclose how it estimates the revenue Apple gets for its laptop processors, our story focuses on volume sales of Apple Macintosh systems in 2021 (27.775 million) and the first quarter 2022 (7.2 million) compared to Chromebook shipments in 2021 (37 million) and Q1 2022 (5.1 million). We also note that the vast majority of machines running Chrome OS use x86 processors from AMD or Intel.