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Apple to launch multiple Macs with ARM processors next year, insider says

Published Mar 27th, 2020 6:50AM EDT
ARM MacBook
Image: Apple Inc.

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  • Apple will launch several MacBooks and Macs based on its own custom ARM chips in 2021, a trusted insider says.
  • The A-series chips that power the iPhone and iPad are already more powerful than Intel’s chips in tests, a detail that prompted many people to speculate that Apple would use similar chips inside its computers.
  • The new research note follows a report from the same insider that said the first ARM MacBook might drop in the second half of 2020
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

With every new iPhone that Apple launches comes a more powerful, energy-efficient, A-series chip. These iPhone CPUs have been outscoring the Intel chips used in MacBooks for a few years now. Then there’s the iPad Pro running on upgraded variations of those iPhone chips, which Apple advertises as a tablet that’s faster than most laptops. That’s why many people theorized that an ARM MacBook is inevitable. Apple is ahead of the competition when it comes to mobile chips, and that competition has already created ARM chips for Windows 10 devices with Microsoft supporting the new genre of devices as well. Several leaks in the past couple of years also claimed that the ARM MacBook is already in development at Apple, pointing to a 2020 launch for the first devices. One of the most trusted Apple insiders out there is back with a report that says Apple will have multiple ARM-based Macs in stores next year, including desktops.

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said recently that the first ARM MacBook might be launched in the second half of 2020. He now has a new research note (via MacRumors) that claims Apple will then release additional notebooks and desktops based on its own custom ARM processors.

Apple would have plenty of reasons to switch its Macs from Intel to ARM, Kuo said. By controlling this particular component, Apple would be able to refresh the Macs without having to wait for Intel to release its newest chips. This problem delayed some MacBook refreshes in the past, according to unofficial reports. Also, A-series chips would be between 40% and 60% cheaper than Intel’s and could help Apple offer competitive prices for the upcoming devices.

Starting with 2022, the ARM Macs will get another noteworthy upgrade, the new USB4 port standard, according to the analyst. Kuo says that Taiwan-based ASMedia Technology will be the exclusive supplier of USB controllers for the ARM Macs.

USB4 based on Thunderbolt 3 and USB, and will offer transfer speeds of up to 40Gbps, which translated to support of up to two 4K displays or one 5K screen over a single cable. USB4 is part of Intel’s plan to make Thunderbolt available on a royalty-free basis, which could increase the number of Thunderbolt accessories while also reducing the costs.

Kuo is usually accurate about Apple’s pipeline, but this should still be treated as a rumor. Not to mention that the coronavirus health crisis, which will have a vast impact on the economy, could also significantly alter Apple’s product release schedule in the coming months.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.