Apple to Announce Shift to ARM-Based Mac Chips at WWDC 2020 Later This Month: Report

APPLE

Apple will announce the shift from Intel processors to its own ARM-based chips for Mac computers at WWDC 2020 later this month, according to a report. The new development comes months after the Cupertino company was reported to have plans to launch not one or two but “several” ARM-based Mac notebooks and desktops in 2021. By adopting the new chips, Apple could reduce processor costs on its machines by 40 to 60 percent, reports suggest. App developers who build macOS apps, however, will have to make some changes to their apps so that they can support the new hardware.

The announcement at WWDC 2020 would give third-party app developers some time to adjust to the changes before the rollout of new Mac machines based on ARM chips that is slated for 2021, reports Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the development. There could be some changes in the plan as the hardware transition wouldn’t come anytime soon.

Apple has been in the plans to move from Intel to ARM chips for its Mac computers for quite some time, with some initial reports suggesting the change back in 2014. It is believed to be a part of the company’s “Kalamata” project. At least three of Apple’s native processors are in the works, with the first based on the A14 chip that would power the iPhone 12.

Alongside offering the main processing unit, the proprietary chips by Apple that will be based on ARM architecture are said to have a graphics processing unit and a Neural Engine to handle machine learning and various artificial intelligence (AI) tasks. Taiwan’s semiconductor company Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) will reportedly build the new processors using a 5-nanometre production technique.

Initially, Apple developed a Mac processor based on the iPad Pro’s chip for internal testing in 2018, according to the report. That testing helped the company decide the final plan that would be revealed at WWDC in the coming weeks.

Tough time for Intel?
The move towards the custom-designed, ARM-based chips could make the market even tougher for Intel as this will be the first time in the history of Mac that there won’t be an Intel Core-series processor powering Apple machines. Other PC makers are also likely to start parting ways due to the change.

In 2017, Apple rival and Windows maker Microsoft partnered with Qualcomm to bring ‘Always Connected’ PCs based on ARM-based Snapdragon chips. Companies such as Asus and HP also embraced the initial concept by launching their new notebooks with 4G connectivity and up to 20-hour battery life. The San Diego-based chipmaker also convinced manufacturers by launching its new Snapdragon chips supporting the new experience.

Apple is hosting its WWDC event through a video stream due to the coronavirus outbreak. The conference will take place between June 22-26.


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