Apple is almost certainly moving its Mac line to custom ARM-based chips in the coming years. Or make that year — as in 2020.
Although the company has yet to say so publicly, developers and Intel officials have privately told Axios they expect such a move as soon as next year. And a Bloomberg report yesterday said pretty much the same.
In August 2018, ARM presented its roadmap for future CPUs, saying that they’ll be able to outperform Intel chips. If so — and there’s a difference between a company’s hype and reality — ARM-based Macs are almost a certainty.
ARM says its upcoming CPUs will boost performance by more than 15% each year between now and 2020. It says this trajectory will “surpass Moore’s law,” which says that the number of transistors in a dense chip doubles every two years.
Apple is already building its own iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch chips. It has also created fingerprint chips, and designed a chip for its AirPods that allows pairing with other Apple hardware. The tech giant also built the AI chip introduced with the iPhone X. The next logical step is making chips for its desktop and laptop lines.
“The key question is not the timeline but just how smoothly Apple is able to make the shift,” opines Axios. “For developers, it will likely mean an awkward period of time supporting new and classic Macs as well as new and old-style Mac apps. “Apple has already made several big shifts in the 25-year history of the Mac, moving from Motorola chips to PowerPC processors and then to Intel. It's also moved from the classic Macintosh operating system to the Unix-based Mac OS X.”