As Microsoft and Qualcomm work on ARM-based PCs, the stage is set for Apple A-series Macs

“Qualcomm today announced that it is working with Microsoft to bring support for Windows 10 its Snapdragon line of processors,” Chance Miller writes for 9to5Mac. “The Snapdragon chips have primarily been used in mobile devices and the support for Windows 10 is a first for ARM-based processors.”

“This brings the question, why isn’t Apple working to bring macOS support to its Ax line of processors?” Miller writes. “Or is it working on it as we speak?”

“A variety of benefits would come with a switch to ARM processors for macOS,” Miller writes. “One, such a switch would provide a greater control over security for Apple, an area that is becoming increasingly important with the addition of things like Apple Pay and Touch ID… Apple would also have a greater control over the development of new processors should it switch to an in-house Ax design. Apple currently works to Intel’s timetable when it comes to adopting new processors in the Mac lineup. Using a custom processor, like it does with iOS devices, would allow Apple to update processor technology on its own schedule.”

Miller writes, “Last but certainly not least, the switch to ARM-based processors in the Mac would likely bring a variety of improvements to battery life.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: There is also the issue of cost. Apple could reduce the price of Macs by using their own A-series processors and could therefore reduce the prices of Macs – bringing Macintosh to more people – while retaining healthy margins.

iOS devices and OS X Macs inevitably are going to grow closer over time, not just in hardware, but in software, too:

Think code convergence (more so than today) with UI modifications per device. A unified underlying codebase for Intel, Apple A-series, and, in Apple’s labs, likely other chips, too (just in case). This would allow for a single App Store for Mac, iPhone, and iPad users that features a mix of apps: Some that are touch-only, some that are Mac-only, and some that are universal (can run on both traditional notebooks and desktops as well as on multi-touch computers like iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and – pretty please, Apple – Apple TV). Don’t be surprised to see Apple A-series-powered Macs, either.MacDailyNews Take, January 9, 2014


There is no reason why Apple could not offer both A-series-powered Macs and Intel-based Macs. The two are not mutually exclusive…MacDailyNews, January 14, 2015

macOS Sierra code suggests Apple could dump Intel processors in Macs for Apple A-series chips – September 30, 2016
The iPhone’s new A10 Fusion chip should worry Intel – September 16, 2016
Apple’s MacBook Pro not likely to sport Intel Kaby Lake processors this year – August 16, 2016
Mac sales to grow in enterprise with new Apple A-series-powered Mac – October 14, 2015
Apple is a semiconductor powerhouse; expect the first ARM-based Macs to appear in 2016 – March 31, 2015
Apple A-series-powered Macs are not only feasible, they may be inevitable – January 15, 2015
Why Apple dumping Intel processors would be disastrous – January 14, 2015
KGI: Apple is designing its own processors for Mac – January 14, 2015
Apple A9-powered MacBook Air? – December 16, 2014
Why Apple will switch to ARM-based Apple A-series-powered Macs – August 27, 2014
Intel-powered Macs: The end is nigh – August 4, 2014
Intel’s Broadwell chips further delayed; not shipping for most Macs until early-mid 2015 – July 9, 2014
Apple will inevitably drop Intel for their own A-series processors in the Mac – June 26, 2014
How long before Apple dumps Intel from MacBook Air? – June 26, 2013


  1. Cook is too lazy. He cares ZERO about the Mac and/or innovation.

    Cook’s specialty: creating stripped down, overpriced, unbuyable products with an Apple logo on it (that doesn’t glow anymore for a reason).

    1. Sadly true, Apple is allowing companies like MS to get a shoe horn back into the market even though they’ve had the capability to launch ARM powered Macs for a couple of years now. It seems like a total no brainer to me, what’s not to like about low power, low cost, high quality Macs for the masses. Tim Cook needs a sideways move to make room for a dynamic visionary who really can see where the puck is heading.

      1. Tend to agree, the Air brand has been stagnating unloved for a few years now but is crying out to fulfil this function of that inbetween product seamlessly uniting the iPad and Mac and testing the ground for Arm based Macs generally. If this is not on the product list for next year come the next A class (maybe B class) chip then I Really will lose confidence in the future. At least with the prospect of Windows 10 on Arm the main drawback of of moving to the chip is likely over time to be removed and would encourage developers to become more interested even if Microsofts reasoning is to allow them to compete in phones and tablets.

  2. What would be the point Apple no longer care about the iMac, they are a phone company.

    I have more Apple products than most, does anyone else still have an Apple battery powered portable printer, and would love to buy an up-to-date iMac. But I doubt it will happen anytime soon.

    1. You’re right, Apple are becoming a bit of a one trick pony. The average joe Bloggs can aspire to an iPhone, it’s just in reach for the vast majority of the worlds users albeit an expensive piece of kit. The intel powered Macs especially the new MacBook pro are brilliant but niche, way too expensive for 90% of laptop users including myself, I simply cannot justify spunking £2500 on a laptop. Apple should be making amazing laptops for the masses for less than $1,000 like they do with the iPhone. They could easily achieve an ARM powered laptop running MacOS, with incredible battery life for less than $1,000 built to Apple quality standards that would sell in there hundreds of millions. But are simply to blinkered by iOS. It’s a real shame because the potential is unlimited. MS are gaining ground and Apple need to be very careful or the tables will be turned once again.

  3. Microsoft developed Windows for ARM as part of Windows 8 and shipped product with it. The response at the time was lukewarm at best. Same for the x86 small factor slates running Intel Atom x86 CPUs.

    Windows 10 is essentially an update of Windows 8 after they finally listened to users who hated the Metro first UI. Readdressing the need for low power compact slates on ARM makes since in the long run. Microsoft had already done most of the hard work, but the ARM CPUs at that time were less powerful than what is available now,

  4. Apple has sold a billion iOS devices. It’s obvious Apple will be moving to an iOS laptop to take advantage of its user base and developers. On the other hand, Microsoft no longer makes phones, so their only mobile play is with the Surface. Apple is better positioned to win the mobile battle.

    1. Correct Apple are much better positioned , so it begs the question what has been stopping them from producing these products years ago? are they worried about cannibalising the iPad, have Apple simply become too complacent? have Apple simply taken the wrong path? I’m being serious what is going on at Apple these days? if it wasn’t for the iPhone there would be a pretty negative outlook for Apple based on recent actions.

    2. MS is rumored to be coming out with a new phone in the Spring. And those same rumors say that it takes a lot of cues from MS’s very capable and successful Surface Book. It’s supposed to be able to run Wintel apps.

  5. I don’t think that Microsofts intentions will have any influence on Apple’s plans one way or the other.

    There is a good argument for Apple offering an ARM powered laptop for users who do not need Intel compatibility. Such a laptop would enjoy much greater efficiency than Intel laptops and would therefore have impressive battery life.

    It wouldn’t be at the expense of Intel MacBooks, but would offer an alternative for those who prefer it. The two ranges could sit perfectly happily alongside each other with customers choosing the best solution for their particular needs.

    Being cheaper to build than an Intel one, the cost advantage would be particularly attractive to people like students, who would welcome an affordable Apple device with a proper keyboard and display. An ARM Macbook would run all the usual Apple applications and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it were more locked down like IOS devices are so that only trusted software could be installed.

    I have no doubt that Apple has been developing this concept for some time and could release it very soon. Being in a position where they design their own silicon as well as the hardware and software gives Apple some incredible advantages over other manufacturers allowing them to closely match the chips, hardware and software.

    Apple has a long tradition of making very intelligent tradeoffs so that they don’t end up with bottlenecks where a very fast part is held back by am ill-selected part in the chain. They sometimes use CPUs that appear to be somewhat slow, but Apple still manages to make the complete device outperform rival devices fitted with seemingly faster CPUs.

    ARM MacBooks are not going to be suited for power users, but will be a compelling choice for students, photographers, office workers and journalists. If they became popular, I would expect ARM iMac style desktop Macs to follow.

    1. Agreed there is no doubt OS X has been running on their A-series chips in the labs for a long time, waiting for the right moment. Maybe the Intel iPhone modem fiasco will push that chip out the door too.

  6. “why isn’t Apple working to bring macOS support to its Ax line of processors?”
    Because that’s what apple do, release a series of rumors in order to make companies crazy releasing devices that they think apple will come out with some day and once every single competitor is a few billions short because they tried to get ahead of apple, the is when apple came out with some very different implementation of the idea. It happens al the time, they have fun with other companies all the time realizing false or misleading rumors.

  7. We all thought that Apple would surely add Siri or even gaming to the Apple TV many many years before the Amazon Lexa and Google Home.

    Poor Apple TV just lay there abandoned until the Alexa and Home because semi-hit products. Now we hear Apple is making their own. Maybe this will finally light a fire under them once MS and Qualcomm release their rig.

  8. Chance Miller, much as I respect your work…

    NO IT’S NOT. There will never be an ARM Mac. After all the pile of data pointing out exactly why that’s the case, all I can say at this point is: DUH!

    Techno-Ignorance is rampant. I don’t particularly enjoy being some kind of priest of tech-knowledge who comprehends such things. Every computer tech expert should immediately know exactly why Macs will never go to ARM CPUs. But the ignorant meme lives on and on and on and

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