According to a report by Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, who has compiled a track record of accurate reports on Apple’s late plans, Apple will start Mac’s transition to ARM-based Apple Silicon CPUs with three laptops, both 13-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros and the 13-inch MacBook Air.
Another live event to announce new products on 10 November will be held today Apple. The event, “One More Thing,” was already widely expected to unveil the company’s first Apple Silicon Macs, and the Bloomberg report confirms that it will be the focus of the event. At its annual developer conference, Apple first formally announced its plans to move to its own silicon on Macs this summer.
Today’s report claims that Apple will be unveiling at least two of its new laptops next week, but notes that the two 13-inch models are further along the production line than the 16-inch MacBook Pro. It also says that beyond the new chips, there will be few if any design modifications to the three machines.
An Apple-designed system-on-a-chip closely related to the A14 chip found in the newly launched iPhone and iPad Air models will be included on each laptop. It is said that each chip includes a CPU, a GPU, and a Mac version of the Apple Neural Engine learning processor and is more efficient than Intel’s existing chips.
The report that the design changes are not possible suggests that Apple’s next week’s pitch may be primarily performance or battery life instead of thinning machinery, for the first wave at least.
In summer, Apple said that in two years it will update the entire Mac range of products with Apple Silicon, so these machines are only the opening act. The story from Bloomberg claims that Apple is updating its iMac with the new silicon and developing the Mac Pro’s new, smaller version.
It should be noted that the company has committed itself to support Intel CPUs for many years to come, although it is not clear whether it plans in the next few months and years to release new updated Intel Macs alongside Apple Silicon Macs or whether it simply meant that Intel Macs will receive updates.
The transition from Apple Silicon will free Apple from Intel’s often unreliable product roadmap and iPad Pro and Apple Silicon developer’s benchmarks indicate that users can see performance gains for specific tasks.
However, it’s possible that not everybody is going to see a completely smooth transition. While Apple has argued that legacy Mac apps designed for Intel CPUs will often run smoothly on Apple Silicon Macs via Rosetta 2 and that Apple Silicon versions of some important software such as Adobe Photoshop or Unity have already been announced, questions remain outstanding for many professional users in particular.
For instance, the options for software developers to run x86 Windows in emulation for testing purposes are not clear.
The next few weeks are likely to see answers to some or all of these questions as the first ARM-based Macs of Apple begin shipping.