12-inch Apple silicon MacBook reportedly due within months

According to the Chinese-language site, The China Times, Apple’s first Mac to pack Apple Silicon will be a 12-inch MacBook with an A14 processor and a battery life of 15-20 hours.

Apple's MacBook with 12-inch Retina display
Apple’s MacBook with 12-inch Retina display (discontinued on July 9, 2019)

Dennis Sellers for Apple World Today:

The Apple Silicon MacBook will purportedly weigh only 35 ounces and sport a USB Type-C interface. (The China Times adds thats the next gen iPad Pro will also use the A14X processor.)

The China Times says that we’ll see an iMac incorporate it in the second half of next year. What’s more, the report says the all-in-one will also sport an Apple-developed GPU [graphics processing unit].

I believe the 12-inch MacBook will be the only Apple Silicon Mac released this year. 2021 should see the iMac (both 21 and 27 inches), Mac mini, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air making the transition. I think the Mac Pro won’t make the move until the first half of 2022, and that the iMac Pro will be discontinued.

MacDailyNews Take: Yup.

Start with the “MacBook” and make it as seamless as possible to users and developers. Play up the benefits, of which there will be many, for some examples: True all-day battery life, universal apps that work across iPhones, iPads, and Macs, etc. Release an ARM-powered Mac Mini and maybe even an iMac a short time later. During the next 1-2 years after the initial launch, work to move all other Macs to ARM…

Now, the question is, does that seem doable? Again the question is, “What happens to sales of Intel-based Macs?” Do they fall off a cliff like sales of PowerPC Macs during the last transition? Is there some way for Apple to make Intel-based Macs not seem like, or even be, a dead end?

Obviously, there are many questions, but if the benefits to users from moving Macs to ARM are clear and compelling, and [if] the changeover is executed well, Apple-designed ARM-based Macs could lead to greater sales than ever before!

We’ve been anticipating ARM-based Macs for quite a long time now and we can’t for the the process to begin! — MacDailyNews, March 9, 2020

We’ve been anticipating ARM-based Macs for quite a long time now and we’re excited that the process has finally begun!

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


  1. The difference from the last transition is that there was nothing a user could do with a PowerPC Mac that an Intel Mac did not do, and in most cases do better. That was also true of the prior transition from 68000 to Power. The new processors were much faster than the old. This time, Windows compatibility at tolerable speed (if at all) will still require an Intel Mac.

    1. There is risk here but I expect the upside to be compelling expecially in the mobile arena where true interoperability with Appes mobile devices has potential that if done right no one else can compete with. That will undoubtedly lead to a shot in the arm for Windows powered options in an attempt to compete and due to the increased exposure Apple will bring to Arm chips for computers when performance and battery life shames PC equivalents. Ironically that effect will as years pass reinstate true Windows capability to a greater advantage than Apple presently holds I suspect. Yes this will take time but will play almost certainly to Apples advantage as Microsoft, developers and its hardware manufacturers commit to Arm in catchup mode. Whatever initial dip there is during the change when Apple has to convince its users will at least potententially bring massive benefits thereafter with the opposition suffering from timing, decisions, costs and performance issues that they will be dreading thereafter in trying to compete. But to achieve this true potential Apple does have to get most of its own decision making during transformation right in the meantime in terms of performance, cost and compatibility to impress most and alienate few of its users to set the positive scene others will envy.

    1. If by immediately you mean shipping on or before 31 December 2020, I agree.:
      If I were doing the roll out (and clearly I’m not), I’d do
      (“no later than” shipping dates, not announcement dates):
      MacBook & Mac mini: 31 December 202
      MacBook Air & small iMac: 30 June 2021
      MacBook Pro (all variants) & iMacs (all variants): 31 December 2021
      Mac Pro (all variants): 31 December 2022
      iMac Pro: DEAD

      I expect that Apple will beat these dates by a wide margin (at least the latter ones), but I would be OK with this schedule.volume

  2. Makes sense. The MacBook is the best unit to be able to take advantage of the superior energy usage of Apple silicon, plus the type of usage will be for web based applications and basic office apps. So power is not the major factor. Instead weight, form factor and long battery life will be the key selling points.
    The price will be interesting. Apple will probably still sell at a premium especially if the battery life is in the 18 hour range.
    Eventually I would like to see Apple release a Mac Book Air type device that is considerably cheaper so that it could put pressure of mid-range Windows / Chrome PCs. This is not the right time yet but I bet you start seeing those in 1-2 years time.
    I too love the Mac mini but due to its sales volume I think it is unlikely that you will see a new version until next year.

  3. For some reason my girl was pretty excited to hear there was a new 12″ silicon Mac that’s faster, better graphics and has a longer battery life.

    Maybe she thought I said silicone…

  4. Apple MUST support Intel Macs for at least another 5-7 years. People (like me) who just bought an extremely pricey Mac Pro (thinking I’m good for another 8-10 years) will be screwed twice – the first time by it’s ridiculously late arrival and the second by becoming available just before a major CPU change and obsolescence.

  5. I love my 12 inch Macbook, I take it everywhere, so I very much look forward to a new version with even longer battery life. I don’t need it to do any heavy lifting, mostly just web and email while on the road and screen sharing to a MBP backstage to make projection adjustments in the theatres we visit.

  6. There are few things to consider that nobody has yet brought up.

    You don’t want to screw your pro users’ workflow with buggy software. Therefore you start with consumers that oftentimes use just a few common apps. That gives laggard SW teams time to fix their stuff without revenue risking issues for pro users.

    CPU and GPU desing is hard and it takes time. Also for the SW and testing teams etc. It makes sense to first make known ARM with integrated GPU stuff work before sweating with the all new Apple GPU or 3rd party GPU drivers for arm.

    So, I’d first release all models without a dedicated GPU. That would mean mini soon, MB Air before Pro, and 13” before 15” (IF they keep 15” only with dedicated GPU – I would not count on that, dedicated GPU would really make the 12” Pro a REAL Pro machine), and also iMacs in waves.

    I think Apple wants back to education machines now that ARM makes it competitive. The low end iMac was the only iMac that didn’t get updated last time, and I would not be surprised if they make an eMac, even though desktop are probably passé there. Anyway, an entry level model first, mid range with dedicated GPU later.

    One More Thing: there will be desktop CPUs that are not just overclocked variants of laptop CPU with more cores. These will be in Mac pro and high end iMacs. That’s also when they’ll add 3rd party GPUs.

    3 waves:
    1. integrated GPU (MB 12”, Mac mini, MB Air, entry iMac, maybe 13” MB Pro)
    2. Apple GPU (MB pro, mid range iMac)
    3. desktop CPU, 3rd party GPU (high end iMac, Mac Pro)

    Note: same wave doesn’t mean same release date.

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