The Mac is about to begin its most radical shift in over a decade, according to a new report from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. Beginning next year, Apple will start the transition away from Intel chips used in its Macs to its own custom-designed ARM-based CPUs based on the A-series chipset found in its iPhones and iPads.
Apple’s switch to a proprietary ARM-based Mac chip has been rumored for years. ARM-based chips are used in virtually every smartphone as they are much more energy-efficient than Intel’s chips, yet have traditionally lacked the raw processing power of chips found in laptops and desktops. This could be on the brink of changing, however, with Apple’s upcoming ARM-based Mac chips.
Bloomberg says the upcoming Apple-made Mac chips will be based on the A14 chipset coming to the iPhone and iPad later this year. But far from just being an “iPhone chipset in a Mac,” the upcoming Apple-made Mac chipset is set to be fast enough to power a MacBook.
While the latest iPad Pros feature an Apple-made A-series chip with 4 cores, the first Apple-made chips used in Macs are expected to have as many as 12 cores, 8 of which will handle high-performance tasks and 4 of which will deal with lower-performance tasks.
Apple’s Mac chips with 12 cores will up to quadruple the number of cores that are found in current Intel processors used in Macs. However, Bloomberg’s report says that to start with, Apple is expected to only make the switch to its own chipset in entry-level MacBooks. That’s because the new chip won’t be powerful enough to compete with the higher-end chipset offerings from Intel that are currently found in Apple’s “pro” machines like the MacBook Pro, iMac Pro, and Mac Pro. Yet Apple is expected to eventually transition all their computers over to the company’s custom chipset in due time once their performance gains can match, and outpace, even Intel’s high-end chips.