Apple-designed ARM-based Macs are coming, but why?

For years, rumors have swirled that Apple would dump sloth-like Intel and transition to ARM-based Macs powered with Apple-designed processors. Now, just this week, Apple supply-chain uber-analyst Ming-Chi Kuo writes that that Apple plans to release a Mac with an Apple-designed processor in the first half of next year.

ARM-based Mac. Image: MacBook Air

Jason Snell for Macworld:

If you look closely, you can see lots of signs of the direction Apple has been going with the Mac. The arrival of macOS Catalina swept away all the old 32-bit code that had been sticking around the Mac since the earliest days. Pulling all the oldest code out of macOS will undoubtedly make it run more readily on 64-bit ARM processors.

Catalina also introduced Mac Catalyst, a way for iPad apps to be modified to run on the Mac. Thus far Catalyst hasn’t made too much of an impact, but in a world where the Mac runs on ARM processors, it’s not too hard to see where this is all going: Developers will be able to create a single application that runs across all of Apple’s platforms, adapting to phone or tablet or laptop…

I’ll wager that the first ARM Macs to arrive will offer more processing power than the devices they’re replacing, so any emulation that’s required will be relatively painless… Moving away from Intel means a loss for people who also need to run Windows, but I don’t think Apple’s too concerned. I fully expect that Apple’s pro-level Macs will remain on Intel or compatible processors for a while, perhaps even indefinitely.

MacDailyNews Take: Mac users are well prepared for change, especially as we like to see Apple pushing the envelope whenever and wherever possible. We’ve been anticipating ARM-based Macs for quite a long time now and we can’t for the the process to begin!

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 has been, for years, building strength in the enterprise via BYOD and the rise of mobile which Apple ushered in with iPhone and iPad. “Compatibility with Windows” is not nearly as important today as it was even a few years ago… We expect to see Apple begin the ARM-based Mac transition with products like the MacBook and work their way up from there as the apps are brought over to ARM via Xcode and as the rest of the world continues to throw off the Microsoft Windows shackles into which they stupidly climbed so many years ago, lured, wrongly, solely by Windows PC sticker prices.MacDailyNews, June 19, 2019

35 Comments

  1. Have been mac user since 1989. Presently use iMac, ipad pro, iphone 11 pro. Love mac os despite it’s recent foibles. More recent finder is not as good as older finder but it doesn’t crash. Fair trade off. Do not like iOS and it is iMac and mac os halo effect that encourages my use of ipad and iphone NOT the other way round. The more future os resemble iOS the more likely I’ll return to a windows machine.

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