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Leak reveals three new MacBooks with Apple’s own processors to launch next week

Published Nov 3rd, 2020 6:50AM EST
MacBook Pro 2020
Image: Apple Inc.

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  • Apple will reportedly launch next week three laptops powered by the same type of chip as the iPhone 12.
  • The Apple Silicon-powered 13-inch MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, and the 16-inch MacBook Pro are already in the works, with the smaller laptops being further ahead in production.
  • Apple is also designing new desktops with iPhone chips inside, although the new iMac and Mac Pro aren’t expected at the Mac-centric virtual press event.

Apple confirmed at WWDC 2020 this summer that it will start transitioning its MacBooks from Intel to Apple Silicon chips or processors similar to the ones powering the iPhones and iPads. Apple has been making its own processors for its mobile devices, and the A-series chips were always well ahead of the competition. The A14 Bionic that powers the iPhone 12 and new iPad Air is just the latest example in a long series of Apple chips that had no match in the industry. In fact, these A-series chips started outperforming MacBooks in benchmark tests a few years ago. This prompted speculation that Apple could have more powerful iPhone chips inside MacBooks in the coming years, with some reports pointing to 2020 as the year when Apple would finally release an ARM MacBook.

When Apple confirmed it all this summer, the company said it would move its entire Mac lineup to ARM silicon, and that the process will take a couple of years. Apple did not say what sort of Macs would get Apple Silicon processors this year, offering developers a customized Mac Mini to test out macOS on an ARM processor. On Monday, Apple announced the upcoming November 10th virtual press event where new Macs will be unveiled, and a new report says that Apple will have three new ARM-powered MacBooks in stores this winter.

Apple is ramping up production of three MacBooks that will feature variations of the iPhone 12 processors, per Bloomberg’s sources. Rather than testing the waters with just a model, as some may have expected, Apple is ready to make a splash. The Apple Silicon chips will power the new 13-inch MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and 16-inch MacBook Pro. The inclusion of the Pro laptops is especially interesting, suggesting that Apple is confident its silicon is mature enough to power the Pro laptops that more demanding consumers usually purchase.

The smaller models are further ahead in production than the 16-inc model, and Apple will show at least the two 13-inch versions during the online press conference next week. Aside from the internal chip changes, the new MacBook refreshes will not deliver any significant design changes.

Bloomberg says that the first Mac processors from Apple will be based on the A14 chip. The new processors will deliver improved power efficiency over the Intel hardware, according to undisclosed internal Apple tests. It’s unclear what marketing names Apple would use for it. Apple added X and Z particles to the names of chips for iPad models. For example, the A12X and A12Z are versions of the A12 Bionic made for iPads. It’s also unclear what sort of changes Apple will make to the A14 chips made for laptops and desktops. They’re still going to be based on TSMC 5nm process, but the extra space inside MacBooks would let Apple increase the size of the chip and the number of cores.

The report also notes that the new chips will feature Apple-designed graphics and machine-learning processors, which is in line with what we already expect. Apple also makes the same components for the iPhone and iPad. Still, no specifics have been released, and it’s actually the graphics performance that will matter the most, especially on the MacBook Pros.

Apple is also at work on desktops with A14 chips inside, including a new iMac and a Mac Pro. Bloomberg says the ARM Mac Pro looks like the current design but at half the size. It’s unclear how Apple would be able to reduce the volume of the desktop. No details are given about the new iMac design.

The report doesn’t offer any details about the actual launch schedule for the three MacBooks with Apple Silicon or pricing details.

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.