Apple relies on Intel for the processors powering its Mac hardware, but next year the Macs we buy could be running a custom Apple ARM chip instead.
We expected the first ARM Mac to launch in 2021, but as MacRumors reports, well-known Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is predicting there will be “several Mac notebooks and desktop computers” launching next year. If true, it signifies a massive shift by Apple away from Intel, which will bring a number of benefits along with it for the company.
Moving to custom chips is expected to save Apple up to 60 percent on the cost of processors while allowing for more differentiation compared to Windows laptops. Apple can work to its own chip timeline rather than Intel’s, so there’s much more flxibility and defining hardware roadmaps is easier. It’s also thought Apple is planning to move to USB4 in early 2022, at which point ARM Macs should be well-established and new models can take advantage of 40Gbps transfer speeds and multi-display support immediately.
For consumers, it’s unlikely ARM Macs will be any cheaper, but they could potentially excel in terms of battery life and offer better cross-platform support with Apple’s iOS and iPadOS devices. The one question mark that remains is over performance. Can Apple offer an ARM chip that’s on a par with Intel’s 10th generation Core processors?