Kuo: Several ARM-powered notebook and desktop Macs coming

ARM-powered Macs coming. Image: Apple's MacBook
Apple’s MacBook
In a research note analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today, Apple plans to launch several ARM-powered notebooks and desktop Macs in 2021. Kuo believes Apple’s move away from Intel processors will significantly enhance the Mac’s competitive advantage, allow Apple to free the Mac from Intel’s rather stagnant processor roadmap, reduce costs of processors by 40 to 60 percent, and provide Macs with even more hardware differentiation from Windows PCs.

Joe Rossignol for MacRumors:

Earlier this month, Kuo said Apple’s first Mac notebooks with Arm-based processors will launch in the fourth quarter of 2020 or the first quarter of 2021.

Kuo expects ASMedia Technology to become the exclusive supplier of USB controllers for Arm-based Macs, adding that the Taiwanese integrated circuit designer will benefit from Macs gaining support for USB4 in 2022.

USB4 converges the Thunderbolt and USB protocols as part of Intel’s goal to make Thunderbolt available on a royalty-free basis, which should result in wider and cheaper availability of Thunderbolt accessories like docks and eGPUs.

MacDailyNews Take: We’ve been anticipating ARM-powered Macs for quite a long time now and we can’t for the the process to begin!

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

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


  1. Yes and how will this effect those who just bought very expensive Mac Pro’s? Will there be at least 5-8, even 10 years life in these machines as we got in the 2009-2012 Mac Pros? How long will Apple also support Intel or even possible AMD Macs and when will they abandon the Intel ship altogether? Many need this roadmap info even if years away.

    1. The beauty of OS X is that Apple has developed this on PPC, Intel and ARM chips (as iOS). That means that ARM chips and Intel chips will have the ability to run on a the next generation OS X to support the Mac platform.
      So if Apple release ARM laptops and desktops that are cheaper it helps Apple compete with the low to mid range market. It does not mean that Apple will stop making high end machines driven by Intel.

      The fact is that Intel’s pipeline is slowing down and ARM offers another direction to expands Apples reach.

    2. For years, pros complained about the 2013 trash can Mac Pro and demanded an update. Given the great new Mac Pro and pro display that addresses virtually the complete pro wish list, now you are worried about the eventual release of an even better ARM-based Mac Pro in the future? New flash…there is always a better Mac in the future. You should be glad about that!

      Those who recently purchased new Mac Pros are currently enjoying the performance benefits of those machines. There is no reason for buyer’s remorse. I believe that it is safe to say that the new Mac Pro machines will be productive for years to come, as has been true for previous versions of the Mac Pro. Whether or not it will make sense for pro users to retain these machines for 5-8 years, or even up to 10 years, is beyond my ability to prognosticate. But I would assume that most pros tend to upgrade their equipment periodically to maintain adequate performance – time is money, after all.

      It Will likely be a while before Apple releases an ARM-based version of the Mac Pro. I would expect Apple to roll out ARM-based processors in lower end Macs, first. Regardless, I anticipate that Apple will support the new Intel Mac Pros for quite a few years to come, probably until most pros have moved on to newer equipment.

      In summary, I think that you are worrying far too much about your Mac Pro purchase. You buy the best that you can when you can.

      1. Thanks but those are all obvious points debated on this site for years. I have Oscar winning friends still using 2010-1012 Mac Pros. Maybe a 10 year upgradeable honeymoon with Apple pro products is no longer possible. All I want is some reasonable assurance this rather hefty investment in a really nice machine isn’t cut short by Apple shortsightedness, diverging focus and ambition. All of us have been stung here and there when Apple decides to stop support.

        Granted this stuff doesn’t last forever nor should it but again all I’m asking is Apple attention on ARM Macs isn’t at the expense of Intel Pro Macs development. Otherwise I welcome our new ARM Overlords!

        As a stockholder I share Steve Jobs ambition for Apple to make the whole widget and be able to further differentiate themselves as a superior product.

  2. Years ago I would have been excited by the possibilities. But Apple is not the company they once were. All I can think of now is that this is yet another excuse to break our software.

  3. “provide Macs with even more hardware differentiation from Windows PCs”
    It would do that; but not necessarily in a good way.

    I can almost see the case for ARM-based laptops. Desktops, not so much.

  4. Well, we’ve been down this road before when Apple kit was not compatible with the de facto standard CPU, Intel command set. The best thing that ever happened to the Mac was migrating to Intel processors as it opens up so many possibilities for the Mac that would not be available otherwise. That’s what PERSONAL computing is all about, and why the new behemoth Apple does not want you to have that. It much prefers you live in their walled garden of de facto subscriptions. My love affair with Apple has all but ended at this point as I don’t like the trajectory Apple is on. macOS is declining from a UI perspective, and that’s what differentiates it from other platforms. The hardware is closed or exceptionally overpriced for mere consumers. I get that many customers are okay with this. But I’m a greybeard who has been with Apple from the start, that found passion in supporting a technology company that delivered excellence and superior value for a modest premium. That all died along with Jobs the visionary, and the company has steadily eroded as it transmogrifies into one with a typical corporate mindset. I guess nothing lasts forever. I wish it did though, at least during my lifetime. I miss the excitement and zeal of those days.

  5. Apple executives have lost the plot. Nobody wanted keyboards 0.5 mm thinner. Nobody wanted a one port Macbook. Nobody wants irreparable ARM laptops sealed like a phone. iPad users aren’t ever going to be able to be as productive as Mac users for the vast majority of tasks, including lightweight word processing and web surfing. existing iPads serve the needs of people who don’t need a personal high power/productivity Mac.

    The money Apple would waste in an attempt to transition seamlessly to an ARM Mac without losing software developers and users would be better spent employing more people to update Macs annually with more user friendly features and the latest chips. Intel is not Apple’s Mac problem. Apple doesn’t use the latest chips and they have priced the Macs as if they were all handmade to order. But Apple actually offers the fewest configurations of desktop and laptop options. Cook isn’t trying very hard to make the Mac the best PERSONAL computer it can be. It’s not supposed to be an afterthought when the execs are done wining and dining at the Sundance film fest.

    1. Dear Paul,
      I love you!!! Well, you know what I mean….VERY WELL SAID! People like you can change Apple, that can change the world! They just don’t want to… it is only about profit and agenda…

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