Apple has officially announced the biggest change heading to its Mac computers in the last 14 years: the abandoning of Intel Inside’s chip x86. The company is dumping its Intel’s traditional desktop chips for Apple’s own processors based on ARM designs. The company made this announcement at the firm’s World Wide Developers Conference 2020 (WWDC 20). This was held virtually for the first time due to the Covid-19 pandemic in the US. Apple’s current MacBook’s use Intel’s x86 chips, while its iPhones and iPads use Arm-based chips.
Why the shift?
Deep integration between software and hardware has always made Apple’s iPhones stand out from its competitors. The same will be true for the Mac. The shift to Apple’s own ARM-based chips offers the company greater control over its hardware and software, in the same way as it has with the iPhone and iPad. For its users, it assures highly powerful machines that are significantly more efficient. More so, having a longer battery life, with the same instant-on features as a phone and potential for built-in mobile broadband.
Apple is intending to provide the highest possible performance with the lowest power consumption. Better performance is Apple’s main objective, but there are other reasons that it has decided to transition away from Intel. This includes all of the custom technologies that it can construct into Apple Silicon to advance Mac’s capabilities and make it a leader in the market.
Apple in WWDC announced that switching to its own chips would not only enhance its performance but also pave the path to new and innovative technologies. Such technologies include the AI neural engine, high-performance graphics, and best-in-class security features.
When are we expecting the launch of first of this kind?
The x86 chips and Arm chips are built using very different architectures. So the transition from x86 to Arm will take some work and time. Apple at WWDC said that the first Mac that uses Apple Silicon would be introduced before the end of 2020. Though the full transition would take two years, giving developers forewarning of the modifications they will have to make to their apps for such technology.
But it has not provided any information about which Mac will be the one with the new ARM-based chips. Would it be an existing MacBook or a new iMac? We may have to wait until 2021 to see the MacBook ARM in action. But some people believe the first Macs that will have the ARM chips will be a 13.3-inch MacBook Pro and a redesigned 24-inch iMac. Also, it is expected that the new MacBook will be thinner and lighter than the current Intel model. Maybe with edge-to-edge screen design. It is even believed that Apple is considering letting future MacBook’s charge other Apple devices wirelessly placed on its surface. Google is also rumored to be working on similar own-brand ARM chips. Thus putting Intel in danger of seeing significant erosion of its dominant position in the near future.