Apple has been making Macs with Intel chips for years now to the point of being obvious. They also sell iPhones and iPad with ridiculously powerful A-series ARM chips which rival desktop CPUs made by Intel.
Well, according to Bloomberg, Apple is planning to start selling Mac computers with its ARM-based processors next year. They are apparently preparing to release one Mac with its own chip next year.
Sources told the publication that they are working on three of its own Mac processors that are based on the next A14 processor in the next iPhones. One of the three processors will be much faster than the processors in the iPhone and iPad.
Apple’s A-series chips are usually quite sophisticated pieces of silicon. They have processing cores, GPU cores, neural processing cores, image signal processors to process photos and videos, LTE modem, and more.
Apparently the first Mac processors will have a 12 core design where they will have 8 high-performance cores and at least 4 energy-efficient ones. They are also apparently exploring Mac processors with more than 12 cores in the future.
The new chips will be based on the next-gen 5nm process, which is expected since the A13 and the A12 were based on the 7nm process. The current A13 chip has a 6 core CPU design.
Apple’s A-series chips have consistently led the mobile processor game since 2013 when they released the 64bit A7. Qualcomm and the likes have been playing catchup since and they are usually 2 generations behind Apple in that regard.
It is also not a surprise that Apple intends to make an ARM-based system on a chip for their Macs. These ARM-based chips are technically perfect for such instances: They are as powerful or more powerful than Intel chips while still using way less power. It is also the most Apple thing they can do, where it will make Macs as vertically integrated as iPhones.
The switch from Intel processors to in-house ARM chips will be a difficult one for Apple. They apparently developed a Mac chip based on the iPad Pro’s A12X chip and this gave the engineers confidence that they would replace Intel in Macs. The switch will also require close collaboration between Apple’s software, hardware, and supply chain. Due to the nature of 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic, this shift could be delayed.
This is bad news for Intel since they are fighting AMD’s resurgence in both desktop and laptop areas as well as losing a huge customer like Apple.