What it is: Apple has been hiring Intel employees to work on processor technology.
Apple has a secret technology lab in Oregon and they’ve been poaching Intel employees to work there. The obvious answer is that Apple is further developing their processor technology. There have long been rumors that Apple wants to transition away from Intel processors for the Macintosh and develop custom chips.
While the rest of the world uses standard ARM processors for smartphones and tablets, Apple developed their own ARM-based processors that are much faster and more efficient running iOS than standard off-the-shelf parts can run Android. That’s why Android smartphones can never match the processing power of the iPhone.
In the computer world, everyone uses Intel processors, but that also means that beyond the operating system, PCs are little different than Macintoshes. For Windows compatibility, that’s perfect for Macintosh users because this allows them to run Windows with no problems while also running macOS at the same time. For performance purposes, Intel processors are keeping the Macintosh from moving forward.
One rumor suggests that Apple will offer an ARM-based Macintosh such as a revamped MacBook Air. A second possibility is that Apple may be developing their own x86 processors to customize it for running macOS.
The problem with switching to ARM-based processors for the Macintosh is that you immediately lose Windows compatibility that many Macintosh users need. That’s why the possibility of Apple creating custom x86 processors might be more appealing because then the Macintosh could still offer 100% Windows compatibility while still being optimized for running macOS.
A third option might be pairing an ARM processor with an Intel processor so the two work together. Right now, the MacBook Pro uses an ARM processor to control the Touch Bar while using an Intel processor to run the rest of the computer.
Whatever happens, it’s likely that Apple will eventually abandon Intel processors. Whether they switch to ARM processors or their own custom x86 processors remains to be seen, but Intel is definitely on the way out in one form or another.