Apple may end up announcing its plan to ditch Intel chips and move to ARM-based processors in Mac computers at WWDC later this month, according to a new report from Bloomberg.
The announcement would give third-party developers time to optimize their apps for ARM-powered Macs, which are slated to arrive next year. The news would also mark the first time Apple has directly designed the processors inside Mac hardware, after previously relying on chips from Intel, PowerPC, and Motorola.
Apple’s plan to transition from Intel chips to ARM architecture has long been rumored. According to Bloomberg, the company’s main gripe with Intel silicon is how the performance gains have slowed over the years, prompting Apple engineers to worry that future Macs would need to be delayed.
“Inside Apple, tests of new Macs with the ARM-based chips have shown sizable improvements over Intel-powered versions, specifically in graphics performance and apps using artificial intelligence,” reports Bloomberg, which cites unnamed sources.
Despite the architecture change, the upcoming Macs will still use the existing macOS operating system. Reportedly, the ARM-based processors are also more power efficient, and may lead to thinner and lighter MacBook designs.
To manufacture the chips, Cupertino is tapping Taiwan’s TSMC, which already produces the processors in iPhones. Currently, Apple has three Mac-based ARM chips planned, which will be built using TSMC’s latest 5-nanometer fabrication process.
If the news is true, then it represents another blow for Intel. The chipmaker is already facing pressure from AMD, which has been producing desktop CPU processors with impressive performance gains at better prices than Intel’s competing silicon. Now AMD chips are also starting to proliferate across new Windows laptops.
The online-only WWDC starts on June 22. However, Bloomberg notes Apple hasn’t set the ARM announcement in stone and could delay the news to a later time.