Intel execs believe that Apple’s ARM-based Macs could come as soon as 2020

“Apple is widely expected to move its Mac line to custom ARM-based chips in the coming years,” Ina Fried reports for Axios.

“Although the company has yet to say so publicly, developers and Intel officials have privately told Axios they expect such a move as soon as next year,” Fried reports. “Bloomberg offered a bit more specificity on things in a report on Wednesday, saying that the first ARM-based Macs could come in 2020.”

“Apple has already made several big shifts in the 25-year history of the Mac, moving from Motorola chips to PowerPC processors and then to Intel,” Fried reports. “It’s also moved from the classic Macintosh operating system to the Unix-based Mac OS X.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: MacBook first?

As we wrote back in January 2015:

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

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

Apple’s Project Marzipan could mean big things for the future of the Macintosh – February 20, 2019
Apple iPad Pro’s A12X chip has no real rivals; it delivers performance unseen on Android tablets – November 1, 2018
Ming-Chi Kuo: Apple A-series Macs coming in 2020 or 2021, Apple Car in 2023-2025 – October 17, 2018
MacBooks powered by Apple A-series chips are finally going to happen soon – September 18, 2018
Apple A-series-powered Mac idea boosted as ARM claims its chips can out-perform Intel – August 16, 2018
Did Apple just show its hand on future low-end, A-series-powered MacBooks? – July 13, 2018
How Apple might approach an ARM-based Mac – May 30, 2018
Pegatron said to assemble Apple’s upcoming ‘ARM-based MacBook’ codenamed ‘Star’ – May 29, 2018
Intel 10nm Cannon Lake delays push MacBook Pro with potential 32GB RAM into 2019 – April 27, 2018
Why the next Mac processor transition won’t be like the last two – April 4, 2018
Apple’s ‘Kalamata’ project will move Macs from Intel to Apple A-series processors – April 2, 2018
Apple plans on dumping Intel for its own chips in Macs as early as 2020 – April 2, 2018
Apple is working to unite iOS and macOS; will they standardize their chip platform next? – December 21, 2017
Why Apple would want to unify iOS and Mac apps in 2018 – December 20, 2017
Apple to provide tool for developers build cross-platform apps that run on iOS and macOS in 2018 – December 20, 2017
The once and future OS for Apple – December 8, 2017
Apple ships more microprocessors than Intel – October 2, 2017
Apple embarrasses Intel – June 14, 2017
Apple developing new chip for Macintosh in test of Intel independence – February 1, 2017
Apple’s A10 Fusion chip ‘blows away the competition,’ could easily power MacBook Air – Linley Group – October 21, 2016


  1. And that ARM threat alone may suggest to many pros to jump ship NOW to the Dark Side regardless of what the 2019 Mac Pro’s design and desirability. It will take a lot longer for ARM to match multicore Intel chips, not to mention software conversion and sorting out all the various issues.

    Might be prudent to take a 5 year or more sabbatical to the Dark Side during the rough ARM transition era.

    Unless I’m missing something…

    1. I doubt the transition will be that rough, though I don’t look forward to it.

      ARM, in some ways, takes Apple back to its pre-Intel days with the PowerPC. While I’m sure there is virtually no real code similarity or even usable code from the OS9 days and earlier (the shift to UNIX happened at the same time, after all), I would expect the transition to be as smooth as that one was to Intel.

      Then again, this isn’t the same Apple. Let’s just hope it isn’t an Orange now!

    2. I do not believe that your skepticism is warranted. A single A-12 is already reasonably powerful in comparison to Intel offerings. If Apple’s ARM-derivative processor design supports parallelization, then Apple could group a dozen or more A-12 processors together to produce a powerhouse workstation. Apple could use dozens of A-series processors in parallel to provide a truly amazing Mac Pro. And A-series processors are very power efficient, which also means less waste heat.

      Apple’s suppliers deliver hundreds of millions of A-series per year at lw cost per chip. And Apple has annually upgraded the A-series processors every year. Intel…not so much.

      I like the idea. I really like it. And I think that it could be the silver bullet that catapults the Mac ahead for years to come.

      1. Any delays in creating a new platform that worked like the old one in terms of similar continued productivity levels will be an anathema to business and pros alike. It’s a transition a couple years in the making at the very least. Who wants to be around trying to get real work done in that time period except those with lesser needs?

        It’s like what happened to Final Cut Pro X not being ready for prime time for years and years after it’s introduction.

        I can hardly believe all things will be equal in a short amount of time and any new platform hopefully is better than the old one. Issues unforeseen can await any major new transition. The Apple of today does not make me optimistic in that regard or any regard.

        1. It’s not like Apple is going to make this then YANK the cheese grater mac off anyone’s desk. Anyone needing to get real work done, will continue to get real work done on their real work computer that’s sitting right there in front of them.

        2. The other concern being how short a shelf life any new $$$ Mac Pro Intel machine will have now. I suspect the long shelf life enjoyed by cheese grater MP’s will be greatly curtailed with an impending architecture change looming. However Microsoft & Windows will continue blithely along no doubt with Intel chips for quite some time. So which is the safer bet for now for maximum ROI?

        3. Seeing as how those cheese graters are already not running the latest software, it’d be the exact same situation. You buy a new $$$ Mac Pro Intel machine, at some point in the future, software will no longer be made for it and you’ll just run the last versions of whatever will run on it.

    1. But, you see, Apple will never do this because CISC and RISC and Intel specific code in the OS and your can’t compatible to two different chips using the same source and… let’s see, what were all the other reasons why this was never going to happen? I should go through the macdailynews archives.

      Intel likely thinks this (and doesn’t KNOW this) because they’ve probably had a conversation like this with Apple:

      Intel: “HEY! I know it’s been a bad few years with, you know, not shipping what we said we’d ship BUT ya know, I think we’ve nailed it. We finally think we’ve got this high performance mobile chip thing WITH mobile memory up to 32G deal solved! So, how many can I put you down for next year?”
      Apple: OH, ah… we’ll get back to you on that.
      Intel: OK, well, you’ll want to get your orders in so we can know how many to allot for you.
      Apple: Oh, um… ok, we’ll call you once we have that figured out, ok?
      Intel: Ok, good, well, that’s fine. Let’s move on to desktops..
      Apple: Oh right, so, we’ll need to get back to you on that. The guy that does the Intel chip assessment is working.. on stuff. BUT when he gets back, we’ll tell him to give you a ring, though. His stuff should be done in about 12 months or so.

  2. All that matters to me is that the Mac does not give up its functionality in pursuit of making it more like a tablet. I am seeing little things in the interface that suggest they are doing that, I have no polite words for that. Mouse, keyboard (bring back the tall key keyboards for typing accuracy) assign Minimalism to the dump, fine to simplify but NOT at the expense or functionality. get it out when I think of it)

    I don’t care what anyone says, if Apple loses the Mac base in favor of the tablet type interface, the creative base of the Apple community will be gone, rightfully so.

    After 30 years of experience on Mac graphics, the only thing keeping me is that the 3rd party app developers for Mac has never been better. If those developers add Windows versions, its over for the graphics side, especially if yo yo’s like Sir Jony start messing with an interface that still works. It does not work as well as it did before “minimalization”, but still good.

    “change for the sake of change” (which immature minds gravitate toward) is what could kill it.

  3. As an iOS developer, I was also a die-hard Mac user. However, recently I have also started doing AI development. Unfortunately, most AI application are written to use NVidia Chips. Thus I needed to buy a new computer because my Mac just couldn’t do the job. When my new Linux box arrived doing image training improved by 32X. I miss the quality of construction of my Mac, but I don’t miss the OS or the speed. Oh, BTW I have also switched my phone over to android too. Things have really gone downhill since Steve passed away.

  4. Point to note:

    For Apple to be able to be successful in squeezing Intel for better CPUs and better prices …

    … Intel has to believe that Apple actually has a viable non-Intel alternative to go to.

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