Laptop News

Comparing Apple M4 and Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite: Key Differences Revealed

We recently got a glimpse at Apple’s rumored product roadmap through 2027, hinting at OLED MacBooks. For those more interested in the internal components, a recent report from Canalys may be even more intriguing.

The research firm’s “AI-capable processor roadmaps” provide insights into the release schedule of the four major players in the laptop market.

Apple M4 vs. Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite: Expected release date

According to the Canalys roadmap, Qualcomm is expected to lead the way with the initial Snapdragon X Elite chips likely to arrive this summer. These chips are anticipated to be 10- and 12-core variants, with the more powerful options occasionally outperforming Apple’s M3 in benchmarks. The more modest 8-core chips, which are aimed at MacBook Air competitors, are not expected until the second half of 2024.

On the other hand, Apple introduced the M3 chips in October 2023. However, Canalys suggests that the release of the M4 chips may be delayed. This aligns with a report from Mark Gurman of Bloomberg in early March, indicating that the formal development of the M4 had just commenced. The M4 chips are now projected to arrive in early 2025, with some speculating that it could be pushed to the second quarter of 2025.

Canalys roadmap image showing the anticipated release date for Apple, Intel, AMD, and Qualcomm chips through 2025

Apple M4 vs. Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite: Performance

The key question remains – how will the performance of these chips compare? While initial benchmark results of the Snapdragon X Elite chips have shown promising performance, actual products with these chips are yet to hit the market. As such, it’s too early to declare Qualcomm the winner over Apple. Additionally, the early Snapdragon X Elite chips are expected to be the 12-core variant with higher power consumption, potentially limiting their appeal for ultraportable devices.

Details about Apple’s M4 chip remain scarce. Leaks suggest that Apple is working on a 2nm chipset, although this may be reserved for the M5. If the M4 follows a similar trajectory to the M2 to M3 upgrade, it is expected to deliver a Geekbench score of over 15,000, surpassing even the highest results seen from a Snapdragon X Elite prototype by about 23%.

A hand holding a Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite chip in a sealed display case


While the ultimate winner in the chip race remains uncertain, consumers are likely to benefit from increased competition. Intel Core Ultra laptops have shown significant improvements in battery life, challenging Apple’s dominance. Qualcomm aims to challenge Apple’s position, but the actual performance of the Snapdragon X Elite chips in real-world conditions remains to be seen.

The upcoming year is expected to bring significant developments in the laptop chip market, especially in the realm of AI. Each of these new chips features a powerful NPU for unlocking new AI experiences, although the implementation of AI in practical applications is still in its early stages.

Despite the potential delay of Apple’s M4 until 2025, AI may emerge as a key factor for Apple in 2024. The competition between Apple, Qualcomm, Intel, and AMD for the AI PC trophy promises an exciting year ahead.

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