Mac enters third year of two-year transition to Apple chips | Cult of Mac

Mac enters third year of two-year transition to Apple chips

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Mac enters third year of two-year transition to Apple chips
The Mac Pro still runs on Intel. It's overdue for Apple silicon... whatever the chip gets named.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

At the launch of Apple silicon in 2020, the Mac-maker committed itself to a two-year transition away from Intel processors. Today marks the first day of year three of that transformation but the Mac Pro still uses Intel chips. Apple missed its deadline.

There has not even been a mention from Apple of a replacement macOS workstation with an M-series processor. A few leaked details are all we have.

Mac transition to M-series chips is going long

It was June of 2020 when Cupertino officially announced Mac was giving up Intel in favor of Apple silicon. Details were sketchy at that point – the unveiling of the M1 chip was still months away – but Apple promised the “first system ships by year’s end, beginning a two-year transition.”

The “first system” turned out to the the MacBook Pro running the M1. Or perhaps it was the Mac mini using the same chip. Or it could have been the M1 MacBook Air. All three launched November 10, 2020. It’s now two years and a day since then, and with the Mac Pro still on Intel the transition clearly isn’t going as quickly as Apple hoped. .

That said, Apple gave itself some wiggle room, stating in the text of its June 2020 announcement that it will “complete the transition in about two years” [emphasis mine]. But that’s in the fine print, not the headline.

When will M-Series Mac Pro be here?

There’d be less room for finger wagging about missing the deadline if there was a timetable when the next macOS workstation would be released. Even a hint. But Apple has said nothing about it.

That leaves anyone looking to buy the Mac Pro guessing. It might be out in March 2023, when MacBook Pro models with the Apple M2 Pro or M2 Max are expected.

Or the wait could be all the way to early summer. There’s a precedent: Tim Cook and Co. unveiled the current Mac Pro at WWDC in 2019.

What to expect from the 2023 Mac Pro

Mac Pro is the last Mac with Intel Inside
Mac Pro is the last Mac with Intel Inside. It’s high time that changed.
Image: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

There are Apple silicon versions of every kind of Mac except the workstation. Apple saved it until last because its processor is the hardest to develop.

True, the Mac Studio released in early 2022 offers more power than the 2019 Mac Pro – it benchmarks 16% faster. But beating a 3-year-old system isn’t a stunning accomplishment. And professionals who, for example, render hours of 3D video want even more power.

Apple is apparently working to deliver. Information leaking out of Cupertino indicates that the processor in development for the next Mac Pro will be twice as powerful, or even four times as powerful, as the Apple M2 Max chip that will go into the MacBook Pro models expected in early 2023.

Given that description, the upcoming top-tier processor will likely be available with 24 or 48 CPU cores, and 76 or 152 graphics cores. For comparison, the most powerful version of the current Mac Pro runs an Intel Xeon W processor with 28 CPU cores.

When the M-series Mac Pro finally launches, it will complete the transition to Apple silicon begun back in 2020. Better late than never.