Apple, Inc., the consumer electronics giant in Cupertino, California, has advanced to the top spot for personal computing devices that use chips with British arm Ltd’s chip design technology. Apple rocked the computing world in 2020 when it announced a highly anticipated decision to start using dedicated processors for its line of laptops. Apple was the only company in the world to use self-designed systems on chips (SoCs) on its smartphones at the time, and switching to Arm for the MacBook range demonstrated the company’s design strength and confidence in its proprietary technologies.
Now, more than a year into the pivotal switch to Arm, the results are out, and research firm Strategy Analytics reveals that Apple has dominated the PC market that uses Arm processors. Other gadgets, apart from Macbooks that use these processors, are Google Chromebooks that use the Snapdragon processor from Qualcomm Incorporated along with processors from Taiwan’s MediaTek.
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A Strategy Analytics report released earlier this week takes a comprehensive look at the state of the Arm-based mobile computing market. While operations based on the company’s designs have recently made headway in the personal computing market, their strength has always been smartphones and other associated gadgets. This is due to the fact that Arm technologies focus on lower power consumption, which is essential for mobile devices and other small-sized devices due to the limitations of battery technology.
American chip giant Qualcomm Incorporated is the biggest player in the global smartphone industry due to its Snapdragon processor lineup. Qualcomm chipsets are used in most smartphones in the world, by many different companies, and given the Korean chaebol Samsung’s problems with its smartphone processors, the company is ready to play a stronger role in the future.
Today’s report demonstrates, as expected, Qualcomm’s continued dominance of the smartphone industry. Strategy Analytics states that in 2021, Qualcomm held 34% of the global smartphone market share in terms of revenue, and Apple ranked second with 31%. This is despite the fact that Qualcomm ships more processors by volume, but because Apple sells its hardware at higher prices, it is able to earn more revenue from fewer sales.
However, while the Cupertino company lags behind by only a few percentage points in the smartphone market, its dominance in the personal computing sector has been absolute. Strategy Analytics shared that when we’re in the PC market that uses Arm processors, Apple had a whopping 90% revenue share, with Qualcomm grabbing a barely 3% share. The research firm also explained that its success with the M series Arm processors has allowed Apple to secure a multi-year advantage over its competitors.
As Director of Phone Component Technologies at Strategy Analytics, Mr. Sravan Kondugala commented:
Apple has established itself as the market leader in arm-based laptop processors with a revenue share of nearly 90 percent. Apple’s M-series family of processors set the standard and gave Apple a 2-3-year lead over the rest of the Arm-based PC processor vendors. Qualcomm captured just 3 percent of the revenue share in the Arm-based notebook processor market in 2021 and lags behind Apple in CPU performance. Despite its low share, Qualcomm continues to invest in notebook processors using its own Nuvia CPU cores. We believe the ARM-based laptop processor presents an attractive opportunity for Qualcomm, given the company’s growing portfolio of high-performance processor assets including CPU, GPU, AI, audio, imaging, connectivity, gaming and security.
Crucially, Mr. Kundojjala’s report also revealed that the Arm-based personal computing market for laptops was larger than the market for devices using traditional x86 processors. This growth has led to a renewed interest in Arm, which still sees many big players eager to take over the company.