First ARM-based MacBook coming by end of 2020, says Ming-Chi Kuo

Posted:
in General Discussion edited June 2020
The typically reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reports that Apple will announce its first-ever ARM Mac in late 2020, likely a MacBook Pro variant that will be on sale early in 2021.

2019 MacBook Pro still looks striking years later
2019 MacBook Pro still looks striking years later


Apple's plans to move from Intel to ARM processors appears to be accelerating, according to a research note by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo that has been seen by AppleInsider. He expects Apple to now announce its first ARM Mac in the last quarter of 2020, with it shipping either at announcement or before the end of the first quarter of 2021.

Kuo, who has generally been highly accurate about Apple plans, confirms previous speculation that this first ARM Mac will be a notebook. He does not specify, however, whether it will be a MacBook Pro, a MacBook Air, or a return for the previously discontinued MacBook.

Apple has reported moved up production in response to the impact of the coronavirus on production and demand of other products. Kuo says that demand for MacBook models is affected by the same issues, but has remained more stable.

He also reports that market response for the 16-inch MacBook Pro with its new scissor keyboard is greater than Apple expected, so the same system will move to all of the company's portables.






Specifically, Kuo predicts a new 13-inch MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air, will be launched with this keyboard by the end of June 2020. He then sees the ARM-based MacBook coming in the last quarter of 2020 or first quarter of 2021.

Then he claims that Apple will introduce MacBook Pro models with an unspecified new design in the second or third quarter of 2021.
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 21
    imatimat Posts: 201member
    Looking forward to ARM MacBook Pro. If it proves to be powerful enough it might be interesting. But not on the first iteration because, probably, software will have to be re-written to take full advantage of it. I still remember the "Rosetta" days and the Microsoft Office software running on Rosetta...
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 21
    Also looking forward and fully expect Apple to make the move with such skill and aplomb, as to blow the naysayers minds.

    this is like a decade in the making.
    watto_cobraAppleFanBoyForever
  • Reply 3 of 21
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    I doubt Apple would introduce this in the MacBook Pro.  Maybe the Air, but I doubt that too.  More likely a resurrected MacBook -- or similar with a new name.

    Whichever it is, it will provide noticeable advantages over the Intel based MacBooks - particularly in battery life and access to iOS / iPadOS applications.

    But, at the same time, it is unlikely it will run Bootcamp or of the lookalikes and it will be awhile till all the standard MacOS applications are available.
    One who would not be in favor of this is my grandson who just asked me to install Bootcamp / WIndows 10 on his MBA because "MacOS is just too hard to use".

    I see gradual rollout of this with a mixture & composite of advantages and disadvantages.  But, Apple is doing the right thing by getting the ball rolling.
  • Reply 4 of 21
    wozwozwozwoz Posts: 253member
    If it is so powerful and wonderful, why not start by replacing the Mac Pro with this piece of wunder ARM supercomputing?  Oh - they are not - apparently!??  Oh wait - It is for the lowest-end entry model. i.e. read it as pile of low end designed to save costs. Methinks a distraction, confusion and a waste of time.
    edited March 2020 darkvader
  • Reply 5 of 21
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,781member
    In 2020/21 if Apple moves to ARM based for it's MAC, especially start with Macbook series than it will surprise world with it's ARM CPU/GPU processing capability; like from no where Apple introduced 64-bit A-series that socked most in processor community. Never underestimate Apple.
    docno42watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 21
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,033member
    I have no faith in Kuo, but I hope this inevitable move is finally coming to fruition.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 21
    docno42docno42 Posts: 3,713member
    wozwoz said:
    If it is so powerful and wonderful, why not start by replacing the Mac Pro with this piece of wunder ARM supercomputing?  Oh - they are not - apparently!??  Oh wait - It is for the lowest-end entry model. i.e. read it as pile of low end designed to save costs. Methinks a distraction, confusion and a waste of time.
    What a ridiculous position.  I would love an ARM based MacBook Air; Apple's "low end entry model" if you look at it from purely a price standpoint.  Which is pretty myopic since the bulk of my work is done on this Air.

    Thinner, lighter, faster and better battery life?  What's not to like!?  Apple's ARM parts beat the pants off of Intel's low and midrange mobile parts - especially in graphics.  And that's with chips today only designed for the iPhone and iPad.  My original iPad Pro spanks my 2015 MacBook Air on tasks like audio processing with apps like Ferrite.  And without having to spin up a fan under load. 

    I will never run Windows, Linux or anything other than OS X on my MacBook Air and Apple as twice (!) proven it can support an ecosystem with two processor architectures active at the same time, so bring it on!  I don't know why everyone assumes that every Mac would switch to ARM.  That's nuts, at least for the short term.

    If Apple wanted, I'm sure they could develop an ARM chip that would give Intel a run for the money on all their mobile parts and all but the highest end of the desktop.  And I'm sure they are cooking away in Apple's lab as we speak.  For any of this it comes to risk/reward.  The higher up you go, the more you run into people with Intel dependencies - although I imagine they are far fewer than is widely assumed.  And does Apple want to take on CPU production for all their devices if they don't have to?  However, if Intel continues their miss-steps instead of going to AMD, we may see Apple ramp up their ARM migration.

    Having choices is a good thing.  There are plenty of us that still remember the PowerPC failings at the end and I'm sure there are many in Apple whom have never forgot.
    cy_starkmanwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 21
    Beyond the thermal, electrical, and ‘owning the whole stack’ benefits of ARM over Intel, I wonder what the basic price differential would be between the two in terms of licensing and manufacturing costs.  Not that I would expect that an ARM machine would cost $X less than an intel equivalent, but Apple would have $X more to play with in it’s total package for things like battery, display quality etc. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 21
    hentaiboyhentaiboy Posts: 1,249member
    Beyond the thermal, electrical, and ‘owning the whole stack’ benefits of ARM over Intel, I wonder what the basic price differential would be between the two in terms of licensing and manufacturing costs.  Not that I would expect that an ARM machine would cost $X less than an intel equivalent, but Apple would have $X more to play with in it’s total package for things like battery, display quality etc. 
    Or $X more in profit margin...
    docno42
  • Reply 10 of 21
    imat said:
    Looking forward to ARM MacBook Pro. If it proves to be powerful enough it might be interesting. But not on the first iteration because, probably, software will have to be re-written to take full advantage of it. I still remember the "Rosetta" days and the Microsoft Office software running on Rosetta...
    Recompiled? Yes.

    Unless Apple changes behavior of APIs already used, or developers haven’t been properly using libraries for high-performance things that rely on CPU-specific instructions, no need or value in rewriting.

    Previously Apple jumped from using Carbon to using what we have now: it’d be stupid for them to change again at the same time as a processor switch. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 21
    h2ph2p Posts: 316member
    I doubt Apple would introduce this in the MacBook Pro.  Maybe the Air, but I doubt that too.  More likely a resurrected MacBook -- or similar with a new name.
    Thank you, GeorgeBMac, I completely agree. MBP users would be the wrong market to initiate this kind of grand change... Too many apps to port, too many questions re: compatibility/boot camp and too many questions re: raw power.

    Better to begin with a version of the MBA or consumer MB. I believe iOS compatibility and perhaps a touchscreen (even a limited one like Win10) would fit a lighter use consumer. My wife will not let go of her 2011 MBA 11 inch! It's so small and so light. She has been using Internet/Zoom/GoogSheets/Word/Keynote nearly everyday for 9 years. (Would have purchased for her the 12inch MB if it had 2 USB-C's & higher rez camera.) The battery is at over 1200 cycles and amazingly still gives her two hours without plugging in. Really in the market for something new!!
    GeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 21
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,913member
    h2p said:
    I doubt Apple would introduce this in the MacBook Pro.  Maybe the Air, but I doubt that too.  More likely a resurrected MacBook -- or similar with a new name.
    Thank you, GeorgeBMac, I completely agree. MBP users would be the wrong market to initiate this kind of grand change... Too many apps to port, too many questions re: compatibility/boot camp and too many questions re: raw power.

    Better to begin with a version of the MBA or consumer MB. I believe iOS compatibility and perhaps a touchscreen (even a limited one like Win10) would fit a lighter use consumer. My wife will not let go of her 2011 MBA 11 inch! It's so small and so light. She has been using Internet/Zoom/GoogSheets/Word/Keynote nearly everyday for 9 years. (Would have purchased for her the 12inch MB if it had 2 USB-C's & higher rez camera.) The battery is at over 1200 cycles and amazingly still gives her two hours without plugging in. Really in the market for something new!!

    They could just make better iPads and accessories and get the same result.
    Edit; actually better iPad would probably be a better result.

    edited March 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 21
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,919member
    Beyond the thermal, electrical, and ‘owning the whole stack’ benefits of ARM over Intel, I wonder what the basic price differential would be between the two in terms of licensing and manufacturing costs.  Not that I would expect that an ARM machine would cost $X less than an intel equivalent, but Apple would have $X more to play with in it’s total package for things like battery, display quality etc. 
    The lower end products carry a smaller cost reduction opportunity,  low end Intel chips don’t constitute a high % of cost. They do have higher volumes and present lower compatibility risk. May be a 12” MB, 14” MBP, Mini & iMac. Maybe a chance to look at a new product approach.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 21
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    This is a very interesting point from somebody with a mixed record.   However we can skip the record and consider thing that have been reported elsewhere.  

    The most interesting thing I’ve seen is that TSMC is going into mass production of 5nm in April. Since Apple is a lead customer for 5NM that likely means 5nm chips to market a month or two after that.    That will not be phones as it is too early so it is either IPads  or Macs.  I’m not sure who else is lined up for 5nm this early.   I’d be surprised if AMD does 5nm this year so I can’t see this production being theirs.  (It would be a shock if big Navi is 5nm). 

    So something is up.   The question is what is Apple building there.    Or for that matter who else would be on 5nm so early.   

    The other interesting bit is that 5nm is completely booked up for the year.  

    As for ARM based Macs I’m really hoping we see a change of direction from Apple.  I have this very real fear that going to ARM will have Apple also locking down the hardware even more.   Between the laptops and desktops Apple moves over the last few years makes the platform a bit useless.  

    The other fear is that Apple uses ARM to increase profits and doesn’t lower its bloated pricing. Frankly Apple could sell a lot more Macs if they just tried.  
  • Reply 15 of 21
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    Just a thought -- or rather speculation:

    I am wondering if what is triggering this move from Intel processors to internally developed A series processors was Intel's failure in developing a 5G modem for Apple?

    Apple put a lot confidence in Intel when they moved their modems from Qualcomm to Intel -- and Intel pretty much did a face plant.   Not only were their 4G modems slower than Qualcomm's but they were unable to develop a 5G modem at all -- which forced Apple to return to Qualcomm with their tail between their legs and their checkbook in hand.

    I can easily see Apple hierarchy saying:   "Never again!  We will not let ourselves be that vulnerable ever again"
  • Reply 16 of 21
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,033member
    Just a thought -- or rather speculation:

    I am wondering if what is triggering this move from Intel processors to internally developed A series processors was Intel's failure in developing a 5G modem for Apple?

    Apple put a lot confidence in Intel when they moved their modems from Qualcomm to Intel -- and Intel pretty much did a face plant.   Not only were their 4G modems slower than Qualcomm's but they were unable to develop a 5G modem at all -- which forced Apple to return to Qualcomm with their tail between their legs and their checkbook in hand.

    I can easily see Apple hierarchy saying:   "Never again!  We will not let ourselves be that vulnerable ever again"
    Intel has had plenty of failures which have affected Apple. I used to buy a new Mac every time Intel released a new processor that ended up in a new Mac because the performance gains were worthwhile, but then Intel started delaying chips and the gains weren't that great. The latter isn't really their fault but the former is.
    GeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 21
    darkvaderdarkvader Posts: 890member
    Just a thought -- or rather speculation:

    I am wondering if what is triggering this move from Intel processors to internally developed A series processors was Intel's failure in developing a 5G modem for Apple?

    Apple put a lot confidence in Intel when they moved their modems from Qualcomm to Intel -- and Intel pretty much did a face plant.   Not only were their 4G modems slower than Qualcomm's but they were unable to develop a 5G modem at all -- which forced Apple to return to Qualcomm with their tail between their legs and their checkbook in hand.

    I can easily see Apple hierarchy saying:   "Never again!  We will not let ourselves be that vulnerable ever again"

    There's a simple fix for that.  AMD would be an easy and obvious second source for CPUs.  Intel's exclusivity agreement expired years ago, there's no reason Apple can't start shipping Ryzen Macs.

    But ARM is sheer idiocy.  The ability to virtualize other operating systems is a vital feature for far more people than Apple seems to think.  I've been around a long time, MacOS is a great operating system, but if Apple dumps IA64 I may have to say goodbye after my current Macs hit EOL.  Every processor transition has been a huge pain, this one isn't likely to be any better than 68K -> PPC or PPC -> Intel.  And in many ways it would be far worse, we'd be trading performance and compatibility for Apple's "not invented here" stupidity.

    If Apple does this, it's profit motivated, not product motivated.  And I'm not playing.
    h2p
  • Reply 18 of 21
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    darkvader said:
    Just a thought -- or rather speculation:

    I am wondering if what is triggering this move from Intel processors to internally developed A series processors was Intel's failure in developing a 5G modem for Apple?

    Apple put a lot confidence in Intel when they moved their modems from Qualcomm to Intel -- and Intel pretty much did a face plant.   Not only were their 4G modems slower than Qualcomm's but they were unable to develop a 5G modem at all -- which forced Apple to return to Qualcomm with their tail between their legs and their checkbook in hand.

    I can easily see Apple hierarchy saying:   "Never again!  We will not let ourselves be that vulnerable ever again"

    There's a simple fix for that.  AMD would be an easy and obvious second source for CPUs.  Intel's exclusivity agreement expired years ago, there's no reason Apple can't start shipping Ryzen Macs.

    But ARM is sheer idiocy.  The ability to virtualize other operating systems is a vital feature for far more people than Apple seems to think.  I've been around a long time, MacOS is a great operating system, but if Apple dumps IA64 I may have to say goodbye after my current Macs hit EOL.  Every processor transition has been a huge pain, this one isn't likely to be any better than 68K -> PPC or PPC -> Intel.  And in many ways it would be far worse, we'd be trading performance and compatibility for Apple's "not invented here" stupidity.

    If Apple does this, it's profit motivated, not product motivated.  And I'm not playing.
    I suspect that Apple is only starting to move away from Intel processors (and look-alikes) for two main reasons:   Not only is Intel dying as a company, the x86 technology it sits on is dying as well.
    h2pAppleFanBoyForever
  • Reply 19 of 21
    Also looking forward and fully expect Apple to make the move with such skill and aplomb, as to blow the naysayers minds.

    this is like a decade in the making.

    Also looking forward and fully expect Apple to make the move with such skill and aplomb, as to blow the naysayers minds.

    this is like a decade in the making.

  • Reply 20 of 21
    Anandtechs Anand Lal Shimpi did not jump on intel’s bandwagon he chose Apple. I suspect he is one of the driving forces behind Apple’s ARM architecture. And I for one have complete confidence in the man.
Sign In or Register to comment.