First ARM Mac said to arrive in 2021 with custom Apple chip

Posted:
in macOS edited April 2020
A new report claims that the first ARM Macs are on the way in 2021, with a chip design based on the A14 expected in the "iPhone 12."

A MacBook or a MacBook Air as shown here is likely going to be the first ARM Mac
A MacBook or a MacBook Air as shown here is likely going to be the first ARM Mac


Apple is reportedly well on the way to delivering an ARM Mac to consumers, according to a new report on Thursday morning. The chips will reportedly be based on a 5nm chip produced by TSMC, and be similar -- but not identical -- to the A14 expected in the "iPhone 12."

According to the report by Bloomberg on Thursday morning the first shipping machines will have eight high-performance cores and at least four energy-efficient cores. Allegedly, Apple is exploring iterations of the processor with more than 12 cores.

Bloomberg expects the first device to be a new laptop. A second generation of chip designs are reportedly already in the planning stages, based on the 2021 iPhone processor, presumably called the "A15."

No specific timetable for arrival was predicted, beyond 2021.

This isn't the first report of ARM Macs being imminent, but Bloomberg was one of the first venues to discuss the possibility in 2017. In 2019, Intel officials said that they expected an ARM Mac as soon as 2020.

Ming-Chi Kuo has chimed several times about the shift, saying that he expects the transition to begin in 2020 or 2021. A "Project Kalamata" has also been discussed, with prototypes of the device from Pegatron said to utilize a touchscreen, SIM card slot, GPS, compass, and a water resistant housing -- suggesting a different form-factor entirely than the MacBook Air or MacBook.

As a general rule, ARM-based processors provide better performance per watt than Intel processors deliver, leading to better battery life. And, at the same time, for many engineering reasons, an ARM processor has the bonus that it also produces lower heat than Intel given the same performance.

Apple has convinced its devout to shift to new hardware architectures in the Mac itself twice, once with 68000-series to PowerPC processors, and again from PowerPC to Intel. But, Apple has hurdled the potential marketing nightmare of large shifts for users many times.

Any ARM shift won't be immediate, and won't span the entire product line in one fell swoop. It will likely start on Apple's low-end, with the MacBook a likely candidate for resurrection, or an ARM-based Mac mini migration. Additionally, Microsoft has Windows on ARM, with a 32-bit software compatibility layer, so virtualization or even Windows on top of one of these new machines isn't out of the question -- but isn't likely at launch.

High-end ARM chips aren't out of the question. Data centers use high-power ARM chips now, with Apple manufacturing partner TSMC a producer of much of the high-end ARM silicon.
«134

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 78
    hattighattig Posts: 858member
    So eight Firestorm cores and four Icestorm cores (for low-power tasks, idling, background tasks, etc). But no word on the GPU, which will have to be pretty meaty to compete with next year's Intel/AMD offerings - but 5nm should give Apple some power headroom.
    lkruppwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 78
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 2,035member
    Hopefully this will come with iPadOS and not MacOS.    This makes me wonder when we will see multiple accounts on iPadOS.   An iPadOS based laptop would be all most people who purchase the macBookAir need.  One more step on the way to the universalOS able to adopt to multiple form factors.  It was obvious that this was slowly coming when Apple rolled out trackpad support and the new iPP keyboard.   May still take 5 years but it is definitely on its way.
    williamlondontmaybloggerblogrepressthis
  • Reply 3 of 78
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,522member
    ARM based Macbook Pro; count me in. I have confident that when Apple releases ARM based MAC, performance will be on par if not better than Intel's offerings. Not only that but Apple will have long term plan to stay ahead in game. At least, it will help Apple to decouple from Intel's pathetic schedule and release updates like iPhone on yearly basis. On software side, long as major titles are ported, rest will follow fast. All good. Apple, just do it.
    edited April 2020 lolliversuperklotonrepressthiswatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 78
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,502member
    wood1208 said:
    Apple ARM Macbook Pro; count me in. I have confident that when Apple releases ARM based MAC, performance will be if not better than on par with Intel/AMD offerings.Not only that but Apple will have long term plan for foreseeable future. .On software, long as major titles are ported, rest will follow fast.

    Count me out. Projects like this are a complete waste of resources.
    macplusplusElCapitan
  • Reply 5 of 78
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,830member

    k2kw said:
    Hopefully this will come with iPadOS and not MacOS.    

    What would be the point of that? If you have an iPad with a keyboard you've got the same thing.

    k2kw said:
     This makes me wonder when we will see multiple accounts on iPadOS. 

    Or will this be one of the things that differentiates a Mac from an iPad? Both will be based around Arm, but one hardware/software configuration is geared more towards having lots of having multiple accounts on the same device, will be more flexible, but also more complicated. 
    edited April 2020 Beatspscooter63lolliverfastasleeprepressthiswatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 78
    Could this be a hybrid Mac/iPad leaning more on the iPad OS side? Could it be where iPadOS is heading? Now that we have mouse/trackpad support could this possibly embrace that more and feature a standard touch-enabled laptop form factor running the next version of iPad OS with more of a focus on pointer support gradually morphing into a high performance almost traditional platform?

    The new iPad Pro and keyboard does look a bit clunky with its heavy screen requiring an over-engineered and expensive keyboard/stand combo. Reviews say that it works great though as a laptop replacement. Could an even more optimised for laptop-style usage iPadOS installed in a touchscreen MacBook enclosure be a way forward?

    As iPadOS improves and gains capabilities over time it would begin to make a strong case for itself against the Intel-only MacBook Pros. After a couple of revisions there would probably be enough optimised for iPadOS professional software available to make iMac/Mac mini go ARM. 
  • Reply 7 of 78
    rcfarcfa Posts: 994member
    k2kw said:
    Hopefully this will come with iPadOS and not MacOS.   
    That’s absolutely the LAST thing we need: a further move to a closed platform where you have no idea what processes run in the background, and which won’t allow you to install anything but crippled AppStore software 🤮

    What we should see is the ability to install macOS on iPad Pros in conjunction with the keyboard/trackpad, and the addition of a third UI mode.
    We already have windowed and full-screen modes in macOS, all that’s required is to add a touchUI mode.

    But I’m sick of the limitations of iOS and iPadOS, you can’t even look at the raw message of an e-Mail to analyze headers or embedded URL to see if something is real or a phishing attempt.

    There’s no decent file system, no ability to check on background tasks, so if your device is hacked, you have no way of telling, you can’t install any network analysis software, because you’re not given access to MAC-addresses, etc. etc.

    iOS and iPadOS are NOT useful as a work platform, they are media consumption platforms which also allow some convenience features like occasional e-Mail checking. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Been waiting for years for something more, and the potential to see a real OS i.e. macOS on an iPad-like device, THAT is something to get excited about. Not another f*ing iteration of iOS/iPadOS 🤮
    mike54charlesatlasjasenj1baconstangsuperkloton
  • Reply 8 of 78
    tipootipoo Posts: 1,114member
    8 performance cores, 4 efficiency. That's going to be a monster. 

    On 5nm, perhaps that's even for the 14" MBP, since on the Intel side we should also be getting up to 6 cores on there. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 78
    Wondering if a "Rosetta" type emulator would be created to aid in the transition. 
  • Reply 10 of 78
    tipootipoo Posts: 1,114member
    ApplePoor said:
    Wondering if a "Rosetta" type emulator would be created to aid in the transition. 
    It mentions ensuring you're not out of luck for legacy apps. Almost assuredly will have an emulation layer as a short term bandaid, while encouraging all devs to start porting to ARM. 

    k2kw said:
    Hopefully this will come with iPadOS and not MacOS.    
    There's an article linked, folks, it's macOS, thankfully! 
    edited April 2020 lolliverfastasleepsuperklotonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 78
    tommy65tommy65 Posts: 56member
    I am really looking forward to the ARM-RISC based ARMBook or better called B-Book (B=business). Whatever they call it I am ready. If I look back to the Acorn RISC PC line you could stack and how powerful that was at that time I do believe Apple can shake-up the way we work once again if they do it right. Please Apple go big on this and don’t follow the path of fear of losing your installed base. You already have the software and yes MS Office is also available on ARM. Adobe will follow and Affinity is maybe close to finalize their products. It is time. 10 years of Intel is enough no gain to expect here it is old technology with a lot of plastered fixes and enhancements plus leaks. The ARM might be RISCy but powerful.
    rundhvidwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 78
    They should release this under the iBook line. A modern reimagining of an Apple classic.
    MisterKitjasenj1watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 78
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 9,869member
    KidGloves said:
    Could this be a hybrid Mac/iPad leaning more on the iPad OS side? Could it be where iPadOS is heading? Now that we have mouse/trackpad support could this possibly embrace that more and feature a standard touch-enabled laptop form factor running the next version of iPad OS with more of a focus on pointer support gradually morphing into a high performance almost traditional platform?

    The new iPad Pro and keyboard does look a bit clunky with its heavy screen requiring an over-engineered and expensive keyboard/stand combo. Reviews say that it works great though as a laptop replacement. Could an even more optimised for laptop-style usage iPadOS installed in a touchscreen MacBook enclosure be a way forward?

    As iPadOS improves and gains capabilities over time it would begin to make a strong case for itself against the Intel-only MacBook Pros. After a couple of revisions there would probably be enough optimised for iPadOS professional software available to make iMac/Mac mini go ARM. 

    I think that equating iPads to MacBooks is a bit like equating iPhones to iPads.   Their capabilities overlap but will never be entirely equal or interchangeable because of the differences in form factor and intended purpose.

    That becomes more apparent once you leave the rigid boundaries that currently exist in AppleWorld.  Elsewhere, laptops can function as tablets and tablets can function as laptops -- but yet laptops are still predominantly laptops and tablets are still predominantly tablets.

    That said, what the insides are made of (x86 or ARM processors) is a technical detail.
    macplusplustht
  • Reply 14 of 78
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 9,869member
    So, what does this mean for Intel?

    They can't do modems.
    They aren't that great at doing GPU's
    They're CPUs can be replaced.

    In a similar situation 40 years ago U.S. Steel bought an oil company and National Steel bought a drug distribution business.
    So, what should Intel diversify into?
    blastdoorTaintmasterwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 78
    Toilet paper? That would match some of their products well.

    Beatschiabaconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 78
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,339member
    ApplePoor said:
    Toilet paper? That would match some of their products well.

    lol, harsh.  
    chiawatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 78
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,648member
    It will be the best move of Apple, ever.

    It is also important to do it as fast as possible, late 2020 is already a bit late.
    Maybe no one sees this coming but competition from opensource hardware and software designs will be intense.
    Pine64 makes ARM hardware with Linux on it (not Android!) which is a decision as good as Apples macOS (Unix) on ARM.
    The point is that a Pine phone costs $150, and no it isn’t junk at all it is pretty impressive.
    On such hardware it is possible to install (for example) openbsd, one of the most secure and unhackable oses of this time,..
    I’m doing that as a project on my Rock64.
    Not being in a closed system has a lot of important benefits.
     
    edited April 2020 rundhvidwatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 78
    There's no way this thing doesn't run some version of ios. I realize we may not like it, but Apple currently has basically two product lines: one of them is synonymous with success and money and the other has been on some version of life support since its inception.

    Especially on the low end, Apple sells MacBooks to college freshman who have their whole lives invested in their iPhone, but who use their Mac *exclusively* to "run" googledocs.  And if a file ever does download to their harddrive, they have no idea how to find it.




  • Reply 19 of 78
    seankillseankill Posts: 547member
    FPRoyal said:
    There's no way this thing doesn't run some version of ios. I realize we may not like it, but Apple currently has basically two product lines: one of them is synonymous with success and money and the other has been on some version of life support since its inception.

    Especially on the low end, Apple sells MacBooks to college freshman who have their whole lives invested in their iPhone, but who use their Mac *exclusively* to "run" googledocs.  And if a file ever does download to their harddrive, they have no idea how to find it.




     If this thing runs iOS, it’ll never get my dollar. iOS is great for what it is but still sucks compared to Windows or MacOS when doing serious work. Just shifting files around on iOS is a nightmare. 

    The day MacOS goes, is the day I’ll buy my last MAC. 
  • Reply 20 of 78
    cincyteecincytee Posts: 336member
    They should release this under the iBook line. A modern reimagining of an Apple classic.
    Bring back the eMate! :)

    https://everymac.com/systems/apple/messagepad/stats/emate_300.html

    watto_cobra
Sign In or Register to comment.