Apple could deliver its first Macs powered by ARM chips before the end of 2020. Reliable TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo on Thursday said he expects the machines to begin shipping during the fourth quarter, or in early 2021 at the latest.
The transition will come ahead of a major MacBook redesign next year.
iPhone and iPad have proven that ARM processors can make for incredibly powerful devices. The latest iPad Pro, powered by an eight-core A12X Bionic chip, gives even some of the most expensive notebooks a good run for their money in benchmark tests.
ARM chips have some nice advantages over Intel’s, too: Apple can design them from scratch specifically for its own hardware. They’re cheaper to manufacture. And they’re better suited to portable devices because they’re cooler and more efficient.
So, we’ve all been wondering when ARM chips would finally make it into a Mac. The move has been rumored for years now, and 2020 could be the year it finally happens.
Mac to get ARM chips in 2020
In his latest note to investors, Kuo reveals that Apple could ship its first ARM-powered Mac by the end of 2020. It is believed a MacBook will make the switch first — ahead of Apple’s desktop machines. However, almost all Macs could use ARM chips eventually.
The transition will obviously take time. Switching CPU architectures would require all software, including the macOS operating system itself, to be rewritten. Existing apps and games would not be compatible without some kind of emulator.
With that being the case, Apple will almost certainly confirm the move well in advance. It will need developers to get on board and start building compatible apps that will be ready to go as soon as the first ARM-powered Mac makes its debut. That means an announcement could come this summer.
It’s still unclear what we can expect from Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) this year. It likely won’t go ahead as usual given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but Apple could host an online keynote instead.
Brand-new MacBooks to come
Kuo’s note also mentions plans for a radical MacBook redesign in 2021. It’s not yet clear what the redesign might look like, however. The aluminum unibody designs we have today have only seen slight design tweaks since they were first introduced with the MacBook Air back in 2008.