06 August 2020
Apple is reportedly planning to announce a shift from Intel to custom ARM-based Macs at this year's WWDC. The report is coming from Bloomberg citing anonymous sources familiar with the internal development. The rumor mill has been offering reports about such a transition for years and it seems like it is all about to happen.
The initiative of transitioning from Intel to ARM is said to be codenamed Kalamata. The plans can always change but the announcement is expected to happen as early as WWDC 2020 i.e. on June 22nd. It will be an online-only event because of the COVID-19 pandemic around the world. If Apple indeed makes the announcement at the event which looks quite plausible, we will get to know more details.
The report says that the first ARM-powered Macs will be introduced in 2021. It means developers will have plenty of time for making their apps/software and tools compatible with the new chip architecture. Even though one would have guessed it already, the architectural design of these ARM chips will be very much different from what Intel has to offer. There are at least three Mac chipsets under development with one of them being based on the A14 chipset that will debut on the iPhone 12 series.
Apple is said to have decided to make the shift after being unhappy with the annual chip performance gains by Intel. The hardware team has a belief that if they stick with Intel, it would "delay or derail some future Macs". It further noticed significant performance improvements in the early testing of custom ARM chips as compared to Intel counterparts. These are even claimed to be more power-efficient which is another crucial aspect of any processor.
As and when this happens, it will not be the first time we will see Apple going for custom-made chips instead of any of the available options in the market. It has already been releasing iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Apple TV with its own lineup of processors which have also proved to be much faster and better than the competition.