Apple has been rumored for years to be working on new Macs powered by the company’s own ARM chips, and the company may finally announce the transition this month during its annual WWDC developer conference. The news comes from a new report from Bloomberg, which says that Apple making the first ARM MacBooks official this month should give developers enough time to recompile their Mac apps before the new devices ship next year.
The main reason for the transition could be Apple being increasingly frustrated with Intel’s slow progress on its laptop CPUs, while Apple’s own ARM chips are progressing much faster.
Apple’s chip-development group, led by Johny Srouji, decided to make the switch after Intel’s annual chip performance gains slowed. Apple engineers worried that sticking to Intel’s road map would delay or derail some future Macs, according to people familiar with the effort.
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, the people said. Apple’s processors are also more power-efficient than Intel’s, which may mean thinner and lighter Mac laptops in the future.
According to the report, Apple is currently working on at least three different ARM-based Mac processors, and one of them will be based on the upcoming A14 chip that will power the next iPhones. Just like on Apple’s mobile devices, these chips will combine a processor, a GPU, and neural engine, something that Intel’s laptop chips lack.
It will be interesting to compare Apple's ARM efforts to Microsoft's, especially since Windows 10 on ARM PCs didn't really take off so far. Microsoft tried to shake things up with its own Surface Pro X last year, which came with a custom-designed version of Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8cx ARM chip, but Microsoft has yet to solve the app compatibility problems on Windows 10 on ARM. If Microsoft currently needs more developers to recompile their apps for the ARM64 architecture, Apple could well face the same issue with its first ARM Macs.
Apple's WWDC conference will kick off on June 22, and the virtual event will be free to watch on the Apple developer website. Do you think Apple's first ARM-based MacBooks could be more successful than the first Windows 10 on ARM PCs? Sound off in the comments below.