Apple may be going all-in on its quest to ditch Intel in favor of in-house processors. In a new research note obtained by MacRumors, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims the Cupertino, California-based manufacturer will introduce “several” new Mac notebooks as well as desktop computers next year.
As rumored before, these new Macs will be powered by Arm-based processors instead of the x86 processors they have come with for ages. Switching to the Arm architecture, Kuo believes, will bring down processor costs by 40% to 60% and enable Apple to offer a more diverse Mac lineup.
In addition to that, Arm-based computers have plenty more advantages over their x86 counterparts. Since they’re usually reserved for mobile devices, they consume less power which ultimately leads to longer endurance, and can function in more compact designs — making them ideal for on-the-go productivity, a trait customers increasingly seek.
What’s more intriguing here is that Apple is also developing desktop computers with Arm processors. Even though Apple’s mobile processors for the iPad Pro are known to be quite powerful for their compact design, it’s unclear how the company plans to integrate them inside iMacs. Plus, Arm chips are low-power components, so there’s also the question of how they will perform while being always connected to an active power source.
Meanwhile, Apple is bolstering its line of iPad Pro tablets with trackpad support. Therefore it remains to be seen how the company will position these ARM-based products.
However, as we’ve seen in the case of Windows PCs, the success of Arm-based computers hinges strongly on software support. Their upsides over x86 won’t kick in until third-party Mac developers update their apps. Microsoft’s Surface Pro X, for instance, had an especially bumpy launch due to the absence of ample Arm-compatible apps. It is possible we may hear more on macOS updates for Arm computers at Apple’s forthcoming online-only annual developer conference.
The new research note falls in line with Kuo’s earlier prediction where he said Apple will likely introduce new MacBooks with its own chips by late 2020 or early 2021. While there is a chance the coronavirus pandemic may stymie some of these timelines, Kuo expects “operations at MacBook-related suppliers” to “improve significantly starting in late March.”
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