According to Bloomberg, Apple is planning to release its first Mac product powered by an ARM processor in 2021. Right now, the tech giant is rumored to have been working on three Mac processors as part of its Kalamata project and all of them are based on the A14 chips that will be released in this year’s flagship iPhone lineup.
According to Bloomberg, the first of these processors will include a 12-core CPU with eight high-performance “Firestorm” cores and at least four energy-efficient “Icestorm” cores.
The rumor about Apple making its own in-house ARM processors has been around for a long time now as the company might replace the Intel chips it currently uses in its Macs. The news about the new processor was first published in 2012 and since then, people have been waiting for 2020 and 2021 to finally see the flagship product.
Source: The Verge
Even though the recent report from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reveals that an ARM Mac might be released in 2021, the plan can undergo some changes due to coronavirus.
If this switch occurs, Apple would automatically gain much more control over its own hardware at a time when Intel has been struggling to offer significant performance increase with each new generation of hardware. The ARM processors available now are more power-efficient and they help save battery life so the switch might also reduce the processor cost by 40 to 60 percent.
Here are some of the technical details from the Bloomberg report.
● Three Mac System-on-Chip (SoC) designs based on the A14 processor are currently in development, and work has also started on a Mac SoC based on next year’s iPhone processor. Bloomberg speculates that Apple is planning to keep both its laptop and mobile chips in the same development cycle.
● The Mac chips will reportedly be manufactured by TSMC based on a 5nm fabrication process.
● The first of these chips will feature eight high-performance CPU cores and at least four energy-efficient cores, for 12 cores in total. The A12Z chip used in the current iPad Pro has eight cores: four high performance and four energy-efficient.
● As well as a CPU, the SoC will also include a GPU.
● ARM Mac computers will continue to run macOS rather than switching to iOS, similar to the approach taken with existing Windows laptops that use Qualcomm ARM processors.
● Bloomberg speculates that Apple’s first ARM-based machines will be lower-powered MacBooks because its own chips won’t be able to match Intel’s performance in its higher-end MacBook Pros, iMacs, and Mac Pro computers.
● Back in 2018, Apple reportedly developed a prototype Mac chip based on that year’s iPad Pro A12X processor. The success of this prototype is thought to have given the company the confidence to target a transition as early as 2020.