Why the new iMac is still a great buy, even without Apple Silicon

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2020 iMac: The new iMac looks just like the old one (only faster).
The 2020 iMac is certainly worth your cash.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s newest iMac is by far the fastest yet, with huge increases in both CPU and GPU performance. It also ships with improved speakers and microphones. And yet, it seems a lot of Apple fans don’t care.

The reason? The new iMac is powered by Intel processors, like all its predecessors since 2006, instead of Apple Silicon. Since Apple revealed its plan to switch to its own custom chips at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June, Intel processors just don’t hold the same appeal.

But there are some great reasons to continue buying Intel-powered Macs in 2020. Here are a few.

Former Mac boss thinks Apple Silicon could break up Windows and Intel

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Microsoft Surface Pro X
Now that Apple is giving up Intel, and Surface Pro X shows Microsoft is considering it, the future could be grim for Intel.
Photo: Microsoft

Macs moving from Intel to Apple Silicon could cause Windows computer-makers to dump Intel as well, according to Jean-Louis Gassée, the former head of Mac development back in the 1980s. He thinks the move could be led by Microsoft.

Thunderbolt 4 brings only incremental advances over Thunderbolt 3 [UPDATED]

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Thunderbolt 4 coming later in 2020
Apple and Intel developed Thunderbolt, and a new version debuts later in 2020.
Photo: Intel

Intel unveiled the specs for Thunderbolt 4 on Wednesday without bringing dramatic changes to this connectivity standard built into most Macs. Still, any computer running the new version has to offer an upgraded set of specifications, including the ability to handle a pair of 4K monitors.

Update: Apple promised to build Thunderbolt 4 into future Macs. “We remain committed to the future of Thunderbolt and will support it in Macs with Apple silicon,” an Apple spokesperson told The Verge.

First ARM-based Mac could be a 12-inch MacBook with butterfly keyboard

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12-inch-MacBook
The 12-inch MacBook could come back as the first macOS computer without an Intel chip.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s first ARM-based computer will be a very slim and light MacBook, according to a leaker claiming inside information and sources in Apple’s supply chain. The Mac-makers move away from Intel chips will begin with a 12-inch MacBook that supposedly will include the controversial butterfly keyboard.

Apple could confirm Mac’s transition to ARM chips at WWDC 2020

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Full-screen works great on a MacBook.
The move we've all been waiting for is finally getting close.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Apple reportedly will confirm the Mac’s transition to ARM chips during its Worldwide Developers Conference keynote on June 22.

The company has been using Intel processors inside the Mac since it ditched PowerPC chips in 2006. But speculation regarding a move to custom CPUs has been growing as Apple’s own chips have become incredibly powerful.

We may not see an ARM-powered Mac this year, however. Sources say Apple plans to announce the initiative, code-named Kalamata, at WWDC 2020. That would give developers time to adjust before the first ARM Macs arrive in 2021.

Today in Apple history: Apple chooses Intel over PowerPC

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intel
The transition to Intel was a big achievement for Steve Jobs.
Photo: Thomas Hawk/Flickr CC

June 6: Today in Apple history: Apple switches Mac to Intel chips from PowerPC June 6, 2005: Steve Jobs reveals that Apple is switching the Mac from PowerPC processors to Intel.

Speaking at that year’s WWDC, Jobs’ revelation reminds us that he is a CEO who can get things done. Given Intel’s focus on mobile computing, it also offers a hint at what Apple’s CEO has planned for the second half of his reign.

Apple’s A-series chipmaker in talks to build a chip factory in the U.S.

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Apple chipmaker racing ahead with its next next-gen nanometer process
Could TSMC eventually build A-series chips in America?
Screenshot: Apple

Could Apple’s A-series chips eventually be manufactured in the United States? That’s one possible outcome if the Trump administration gets its way.

According to a report published Sunday by the Wall Street Journal, the White House wants to “jump-start” the development of new chip factories in the U.S. to help reduce reliance on Asia for critical technology. And it’s in talks with current A-series chipmaker TSMC and others to do so.