With huge changes looming, should you avoid buying new Macs?

“It seems that Apple is paving the way to change the Mac’s processor architecture once again. But the last time the shift was focused exclusively to the desktops and laptops,” Adrian Kingsley-Hughes writes for ZDNet. “This time around it will be far more wide-ranging, changing the entire face of Apple’s ecosystem.”

“The switch could kick off as early as 2020,” Kingsley-Hughes writes. “Combine this with the equally credible reports that Apple is also planning to bring to developers the tools they need to be able to develop a single app and offer it for the iPhone, iPad, and Mac, then you begin to see just how wide-ranging this change could be. This is far, far bigger than the shift that Apple made from PowerPC to Intel.”

“The move would unify the Apple ecosystem in a way that no other ecosystem of hardware and software currently on offer could match,” Kingsley-Hughes writes. “If you’re someone who is all-in on the Apple ecosystem, and refreshes their hardware every year or so — or at least as far as Macs are concerned, whenever new stuff comes out — then this isn’t that big of a deal… The people who, as far as I see, should proceed with caution are those who make their hardware last as long as possible… It’s you folks who like to get every last cent of value out of their hardware who need to tread carefully.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Exciting times ahead! For those on long refresh cycles, proceed with caution. A wait-and-see approach will be of great benefit to you right now. We hope WWDC 2019 in June will offer up some useful information in this regard.

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

Intel execs believe that Apple’s ARM-based Macs could come as soon as 2020 – February 21, 2019
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

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


  1. I just had to buy two, though I would have preferred to wait. Sometimes you just don’t have a choice, especially with Apple. When people ask what is coming, when it is coming, and you have nothing to speak of but rumors and vapor, they just go with what’s available.

  2. If Apple does this I will never purchase another Apple computer again. I have had Mac since the 1990s and when Apple finally went with x86 processors I was happy. I can run virtual machines with with Windows on my Mac with no speed lose. I won’t go back, everyone needs Windows at some point, if I can’t run Windows on my Mac for some Apps I may as well get a PC for 1/2 the price.

    1. “everyone needs Windows at some point.”
      Once you realize that this statement isn’t even REMOTELY true, you’ll have a better shot at understanding what’s coming.

      1. “Once you realize that this statement isn’t even REMOTELY true, you’ll have a better shot at understanding what’s coming.”

        Once you manage to convince niche market developers to code for MacOS or iOS, THEN you’ll have a better shot at being correct. Until then, try to understand that there are an awful lot of programs that people need regularly that require Windows.

      2. As I’ve said on this forum many times – Excel and Visio. Its tough to “escape” them. Sometimes you need “real” Excel and there are just few real options to Visio (I own Omnigraffle PRO, have used Lucid Charts, Flow Charter etc…please don’t bother pointing out options). Where I think the original poster missed it is that with the new processors I doubt we will take a performance hit to the level we used to with emulators. As long as you have the RAM I expect no issue. I PROMISE you Parallels LOVEs Apple going this way.

        1. Grandma “escapes” them every day when she posts pictures of her flowers on Facebook. All the retail and service employees don’t need excel Excel or Visio either. Actually, I’d guess the number of people/jobs that don’t require Excel or Visio far outnumber those that do.

  3. Watch Cook’s Apple make a mushy, kind, white-gloved introduction of the new OS when it happens. People will clap nicely like at the Rigoletto opera by Verdi. It should instead do something charismatic in order to get atypical attention such as raising a giant pirate flag over its spaceship campus to draw free PR to honor and reflect Apple’s radical 1984 commercial. But Cook is not about radical visuals. He’s kind and he’s nice.

    1. Yes, “kind and nice.” Because of this, he definitely has no/can have no real idealogical connection to the “misfits,” or the “crazy ones.”

      Even worse, he THINKS he does. For a mental check/confirmation, size Tim up with this part of the Apple DNA credo:

      “They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo…..
      They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

      ($1000: Tim thinks he aligns.)

  4. I wouldn’t wait. I bought a new MBP about 6 months ago now, and I’ve never been happier with a computer purchase. As much as I look forward to some things I currently do on my phone being available on a laptop, I wouldn’t wait for that.

    And as for Windows being needed – it just isn’t. I have a few things I do at work that are Windows only, but they are large enterprise database things that I don’t even want to do from home. With some of that moving “to the cloud”, I could do some of it from a Mac if I wanted, but I don’t.

  5. Now this is something REAL where the trolls and whiny bitches don’t need to make fantasies up and then complain about it.

    We’ve already seen the possible consequencies in the castration of Pages. The convergence version 5 came out in October 2013 and it is still getting numerous one star reviews today, at version 7.3.
    2012’s version 4.3 is still far more useful for my business.

  6. Apple will have to do some fast talking to the pro community when they introduce the 2019 Mac Pro to assuage feelings of being ARM abandoned in the near future or added complexity that might keep real work from being done. Or making the 2019 Mac Pro a short shelf life proposition. All but leading the way to freely buying a PC Workstation and not worrying about it (unless you use FCPX or Logic Pro).

    1. If there is even a hint of the possibility that the 2019 Mac Pro is the last of the Intel series, one of two things will happen.
      1. There is a rush to buy them as the last of a kind and users hanging on to them for years until they are absolutely no longer viable.
      2. They will be viewed as dead end machines and virtually no one buys them other than those that feel they absolutely must do so (like with the Trashcan Mac).

      No matter how much fast talking Apple does, if the 2019 Mac Pro is ARM based, the sales will be minimal at best. Think on the order of a few thousand through the end of 2020. I believe the only organizations that will buy them will be those that are 100%, or nearly 100%, Apple exclusive. And, even then those machines will be there only for things like compatibility testing with new software.

      But hey, Apple has been shipping virtually the same Mac Pro since December 2013. Apple could ship the new Mac Pro in December 2019 and still be shipping that same machine in November 2025. By that time Apple could have developed an ARM based implementation that makes even the true, high end pros happy.

    2. “Apple will have to do some fast talking to the pro community.”
      I think not… Mainly because “fast talking” doesn’t run your business for the next 5 years, so there’s no amount of “fast talking” that’s gonna fool anyone… I don’t think they’ll waste the effort.

      Any Pro still using a Mac… well, once you take into account that a large number moved on awhile ago, there are a couple groups. I mean, if you’re using a cheese grater, you decided not to upgrade a LOOONG time ago and whatever happens with Intel or ARM won’t make your software/hardware stop working. That’s one group. There’s another where using Apple’s tools are so integral to everything they do, that they’re not going anywhere. They will just take whatever Apple offers because there’s no alternative.

      Then, there are those that continue to use Apple Macs, out of some innate feeling that through some miracle, the machine they’ve been waiting to upgrade to will FINALLY come out next year. It will be worth the pain, and reward their loyalty.

      That group, I don’t understand. There’s absolutely zero loyalty due Apple in the professional space, yet you’ll see people post that they are GOING to go elsewhere if Apple does this or that… going as in, not already gone. Fast talking is not needed for the other two groups and won’t work on the third.

  7. Creative professionals whose bread and butter depend on a predictable work flow will do best to avoid buying in on the first generation of new processors on Macs. Having held the hands of many, many professionals during the transition from Power PC to Intel, and having to deal with the myriad of problems of hardware/software/app compatibility, I’d have to advise caution. I saw hours, days, weeks and months of lost productivity with creative pros.

    And as most “folks who like to get every last cent of value out of their hardware” will continue to be conservative in moving to a generational shift in hardware/software/apps, they will benefit from the early adopters who will bear the brunt of the inevitable problems.

  8. IIRC, Apple talked about the PowerPC – Intel conversion as developing OS on BOTH platforms for 3 or so years. f It shouldn’t be hard to imagine them developing OS X on both Intel and ARM – and having done so for 3 or more years.

    I can see, however, that this conversion will be more difficult as the ARM side has had an explosion of software – a lot of which cannot be ported in the future without a major re-write. Current innovation, like the Watch, does open a huge door for an ARM compatible Mac. There is, however, a massive amount of work to bring it all together.

    The best thing about Tim Cook is that he will ensure there is cash available to handle the software and hardware development demands.

    1. The conversion sucked then and such a move would suck even more today. I don’t know a single pro that wasn’t massively affected by the transition to x86. The difference between then and now, of course, is that Apple was cranking out dramatic hardware and software improvements for Mac users so that in ~3 years, Mac users could take full advantage of superior performance of the Intel chips, new software that didn’t completely axe important functions, etc. This was all possible for two fundamental reasons: back then, Apple had a competent CEO. Also, Intel is a CISC architecture which can do everything the PowerPC RISC chips could do and much more. Moving in reverse back to a RISC chip architecture is the stupidest idea I can imagine for software makers and for users. There is literally no technical reason that a laptop of desktop should ever be dumbed down to a mobile platform.

  9. I waited a very long time to buy my 2018 MBP feeling I was too far past the Retina Display releases and waiting on keyboard issues, etc., to be addressed in 2016 and 2017. I can’t begin to describe my frustrations when Apple issued upgraded graphics choices just two two months later. I have seriously not looked at my now outdated brand new MBP the same way. I was duped and remain bitter and frankly have been seriously reconsidering my 100% Apple loyalty especially in view of their many software shortcomings the past too many years. Plus, I still can’t type on it without accidentally activating the trackpad! So excuse me if I can’t manage to get excited over upcoming Apple products. I’d like to be excited, but once bitten, twice afraid.

    1. Part of being an Apple enthusiast is to put up with Apple’s quirks, lapses, and incompetencies. Switching to the dreadful Windows world simply brings different quirks, lapses, and incompetencies perhaps even worse. So no use switching, IMO.

      1. I have some quirks and inconsistencies too.

        The best of these can be found in my incredibly original and non-annoying work for which I am most proud.

        You can tell it is my work because the frog says “Ding ding” which is a wonderfully clever play on my name, Dingler.

        It just shows that I think different and am a super clever creative – and astonishingly modest. And good looking.

  10. Eh, we don’t yet KNOW this is going to happen, much less in 2020.

    Maybe it will, but just for the lowest performance model. Does that matter to anyone else? Probably not for some time. I wouldn’t worry about buying a new Mac because of this. If it does happen, it will take years before the sales numbers impact the number of machines out in the field. By that time, you’ll likely be ready to buy a new one anyway.

  11. I personally think ARM is inevitable, and I’m going to wait as long as possible. The loss of Wintel compatibility (if there is one, it remains to be seen. Too much is up in the air at present) would be a HUGE blow. I’m not buying a new Mac anytime soon. As much as Apple claims to love the Mac, it gets progressively more neutered over time. That my older machine is more useful at present than their state of the art says a lot. At least to power users like myself.

  12. I’ll believe it when I see it.

    Apple has not come out with a new design of any of its products (except for removing the home button on the iPhone/iPad) since 2011, after Steve Jobs died.

    1. Spot on. We stopped buying Macs by 2015 when Cookie made it clear that only iOS gadgets received any development budget. Every Mac product release since 2011 has been two steps forward, 3 steps back for the users.

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