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Apple’s entire Mac line will feature ARM-based chips before 2022

Published Jun 22nd, 2020 6:50AM EDT
ARM Macs
Image: Apple

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  • Apple may formally announce its transition away from Intel chips at its WWDC keynote later today.
  • Apple will reportedly ditch Intel in favor of its own ARM chip designs. The first two ARM-based Macs will likely be a 13.3-inch MacBook Pro and a completely redesigned iMac.
  • The entirety of Apple’s Mac lineup will transition over to ARM designs before 2022.

With WWDC slated to kick off later today, we’ve seen some conflicting reports as to whether or not we’ll see Apple introduce new hardware at the company’s annual developer conference. Over the weekend, Jon Prosser — who has quickly emerged as a credible source with respect to Apple rumors — tweeted that Apple, at the last minute, may have scrapped its plans to announce new hardware at WWDC.

At the same time, reputed analyst Ming-Chi Kuo issued a new investor note on Sunday (via AppleInsider) and laid out some of Apple’s hardware plans for the rest of the year. According to Kuo, Apple later today will, in fact, unveil the company’s first ARM-based Mac. Rumors of Apple ditching Intel have been making the rounds for quite some time and have only picked up steam over the past few weeks. That said, it would make sense for Apple to make such an announcement today given that it’s something developers will need to be clued in on as soon as possible. Further, you might recall that Steve Jobs used Apple’s 2005 WWDC event as the forum to announce the company’s switch over to Intel processors.

Previous reports have pointed to Apple releasing ARM-based Macs in early 2021. Kuo, however, notes that we might see new ARM-based Macs arrive as soon as late 2020. Presumably, Apple would want to release its lineup of new Macs sometime in October or November so that it can take advantage of the always-busy holiday shopping season.

As for what Macs might receive the ARM treatment first, Kuo says that Apple is planning to start with two models: the 13.3-inch MacBook Pro and a new iMac boasting a brand new form factor. A new iMac design is particularly intriguing given that the current design hasn’t changed that drastically in more than 10 years. AppleInsider notes that the new Macs will reportedly “outperform their Intel equivalents by between 50% and 100%.” That’s an intriguing if not downright overly optimistic projection, but given what we’ve seen Apple do with their line of A-x chips on the iPhone, anything is possible.

Kuo believes that the entirety of Apple’s Mac lineup will make the transition to ARM before the end of 2021. Incidentally, he also notes that we might see a MacBook boasting a new design hit store shelves sometime in 2021.

Apple’s keynote today will hopefully provide us with a bit more clarity as to the company’s product roadmap and its relationship with Intel. That said, new versions of iOS, macOS, tvOS, and other software updates will naturally make up the bulk of today’s event.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.