We already heard some news in the past about Apple wanting to sell MacBooks with their own chips and the earliest date would have been 2021. However, we have a leaker that gives some promising information about these chips coming earlier than initially planned. This could just mean that 2020 is the year for ARM processors in a MacBook and the new top performance ultrabooks. Based on the experience Apple gained with the chips on iPhones and iPads, the ARM processor in a MacBook could change the industry. Before we discuss more about this subject, we need some background information to fully understand the situation.
What is ARM?
It stands for Advanced RISC Machines and RISC stands for Reduced Instruction Set Computer. But what do these mean? ARM is using a different architecture compared with the other standard computer processors which are based on the x86 architecture. By having a simpler architecture results in smaller silicon area with better power saving. ARM chips can be found in all low energy and low-performance devices but not only. You will find ARM chips in your monitors, radios, printers, smartphones, internet routers. Some of these might use more power than the other and have better performance and this is due to technology advancing very fast.
Why would ARM replace the current x86 CPUs?
Apple proved with the A-series ARM CPUs in iPhones and iPads that they can get amazing performance from these very small and low power chips. The iPad version chips are actually more powerful than some MacBook when running synthetic benchmarks. The only difference will be the types of application these run. ARM applications are different from x86 and they are not compatible. Therefore, most applications will have to be reprogrammed in swift or compiled in a way to work on ARM for MacBook to be able to work and benefit of the entire CPU performance.
A leaker called choco_bit said on his twitter feed that we might see the ARM Macbook sooner than people expected. By people, we believe choco_bit refers to all the previous reports by Bloomberg or other media which claimed that it will be announced in 2021.
In his tweet, we don’t have any other information regarding other aspects of the MacBook or details from Apple. But from the number of leaks that started to show up on the internet lately, we believe that Apple could indeed announce this new MacBook this year.
Another very famous leaker Ming-Chi Kuo with an ~80% correct prediction has confirmed in March that an ARM-based MacBook could be released (not announced) in late 2020 or early 2021. Putting this together with choco_bit it would totally make sense for Apple to announce the laptop at WWDC to create hype and make the media write about the MacBook now, but only release it in fall 2020. Based on the last tactics from Apple marketing from the MacBook or other laptops, this is very likely to happen and therefore we can believe this source.
When will the ARM MacBook be release?
Based on Ming-Chi Kuo and choco_bit and previous Apple announcement & release schedules we assume the next 2 possible timelines:
- ARM Macbook will be announced at WWDC June 2020 and release Fall 2020 (September/October)
- ARM Macbook will be announced at the September Event 2020 and release early 2021 (February/March)
Either of those could happen and will match and work with both leakers, but if we had to conclude this overall, we would say that choco_bit is likely referring to an announcement at WWDC therefore option 1 is more credible.
How will ARM work on Macbook?
Due to ARM being a new architecture none of the apps which work on macOS will be compatible. However, Apple already introduced a new way to convert iPadOS applications to macOS very easy and stress-free. This announcement was made last year at WWDC 2019. It only proves that Apple wanted to start preparing iPad applications to be compatible with a bigger screen, using a keyboard and mouse/trackpad instead of the touchscreen. This move from Apple matches perfectly what is going to happen next. The ARM-based MacBook will be fully compatible with all iPad Apps but now the developers had a year to fully convert the application to be used on a laptop.
Apple is going to announce and ARM-based MacBook at WWDC or September event 2020 and release it in September 2020 or early 2021. ARM is a mobile CPU that can be found in all iPhones and iPads and it has been proven to be more powerful than some x86 Intel CPUs currently in all MacBook. In the last year, many iPad applications were converted to be used on MacBook and that will be very helpful for the ARM version when it is released.