Apple has reinforced its alliance with chip design firm ARM by entering into a long-term agreement that extends beyond 2040. This revelation came to light through documents ARM submitted concerning its upcoming IPO through its owner SoftBank. While the specific terms of the deal are not public, it underscores Apple's plan to consistently utilize ARM´s technology for its devices in the coming years.
Historical Connection and What Lies Ahead
Apple's bond with ARM is longstanding. The ARM architecture serves as the core for every Apple Silicon chip. Apple's use of ARM-based chips is evident across its entire product spectrum, from the Apple Watch to the iPhone and iPad. In a significant move in 2020, Apple transitioned its Mac series from Intel processors to its proprietary Apple Silicon chips, which are ARM-based.
These chips started with the M1 and the M2 generation is now available. Apple is currently developing the M3, which is scheduled for launch in MacBook' in 2024. This decision enabled Apple to manufacture devices that boast remarkable performance and energy conservation. The origin of this collaboration can be traced back to 1993 when Apple integrated ARM chips into its Newton handheld device. It is worth noting that Apple still offers Mac devices in Intel variations too.
Prior to this pact, Apple had expressed an inclination to invest in ARM shares when the latter disclosed its plan to list on the US Nasdaq stock exchange. The recent agreement was conspicuously absent from the IPO documentation released on August 21, suggesting that the deal was cemented between late August and September 5. According to a report by Reuters, the renewed chip technology contract between Apple and ARM “extends past 2040.”
In May, SoftBank Group signaled its intention to make ARM public. The IPO is a strategic move for SoftBank, which is trying to recover from losses due to its investments in technology startups through its Vision Fund. The fund suffered a record $17.7 billion loss in the fiscal year ended March 2020, as the valuations of many of its portfolio companies plummeted amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
ARM´s impact is not confined to Apple alone. The company's IPO filings disclosed that multiple tech companies, such as AMD, Google, Intel, Nvidia, Samsung, and TSMC, have shown interest in acquiring ARM stocks. Their combined investment could potentially reach $735 million.