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Macs With Apple-Made CPUs Could Debut in 2020

Famed Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggests that Apple's A-series processors could be coming to Macs sooner rather than later. In a note seen by 9to5Mac, he suggested that the first Macs with Apple's own processors instead of Intel's could come in 2020 or 2021. In April, Bloomberg reported that the switch to Apple's Arm-based chips would come in 2020, so this corroborates that report.

This could free Apple from Intel's processor roadmap, which could allow the Cupertino, Calif.-based company to make more frequent updates to the Mac. However, Arm-based chips are unlikely to take on Intel's highest performing chips (like the ones you find in high-end MacBook Pros and desktops), so it could move out in stages. It could also mean more profit for Apple.

Kuo's note also forecasts TSMC as the sole supplier of the A-series processors, including a predicted A13 in 2019 and A14 in 2020. Apple's rumored plans to move solely onto its own chips could be a big deal for TSMC, which could see a big windfall.

This would pose some big questions about a platform change. It wasn't long ago that Apple made the switch from PowerPC to Intel. Now, it could make developers ship versions of apps built for Arm processors. Apple's plan to bring iOS apps to macOS witih AppKit and UIKit could make it easier for some developers.

The research note also suggests that TSMC will work on Apple's long-gestating car program. Kuo suggests that TSMCs 3nm or 5nm chip processes will enable fully autonomous driving.

  • shrapnel_indie
    Apple History: CISC, CISC, RISC, CISC, and now back to RISC.

    Apple doesn't really make anything anymore. They design it and then farm it out to be manufactured in China.
    Reply
  • jimmysmitty
    So what do they plan to do for the users who want to run WINE and have a Windows VM to run x86 based applications that don't run on Mac at all?

    I guess those people will be forced to move back to PC. This will also kill gaming for Mac if Apple plans to push it across their lineup.

    I only see this for two things. Either control and profit, Apple will make way more using their own CPU design vs using Intels, or they will push this to lower end devices with higher end devices such as the Mac Pro keeping higher end Intel CPUs. I doubt the latter as it would require Apple to support two types of hardware in Mac OS and that would add complexity to the OS thus increasing potential problems and we all know how they like to support problems.

    I also wonder if they plan to do this to be able to unify iOS and Mac OS much like how Windows 10 can be on anything from a cell phone to a desktop.
    Reply
  • captaincharisma
    the way apple is going i wouldn't be surprised if they kill off mac OS and make a desktop version of IOS to go with these new CPU's. after all they thought the notch was a good idea for their phones lol
    Reply
  • photoew
    Considering the iPhone XS not has a processor that has beaten even the iMac Pro in one particular measurement, I would not be so sure about Apple not being able to compete with Intel's high end. Even Intel hasn't made the 10nm transition standard for their processors, and that was supposed to happen when? 2015?

    AMD and Apple fans should be pretty happy to see Intel shown up by the competition. And we should be happy to buy devices that aren't hobbled by Intel's foot-dragging ways.
    Reply
  • photoew
    Folks, Apple made it absolutely clear they are not going to merge iOS and MacOS. Why would they when they make more money (profits, based on profit margin, not market share) on the Mac than the top five competitors combined? There's a cost to making things on a razor-think profit margin as the competition does.

    Besides, they know they would lose a lot of developers if they were to drop the Mac. Because you can't run Objective C on an iOS device.

    Maybe some day when one device can actually do everything a computer and a phone can do at the same time and not compromise the user interface, they'll come out with something completely new, not "a camel is a horse designed by a committee" abomination that would come out of merging iOS and macOS.
    Reply
  • jimmysmitty
    21410156 said:
    Considering the iPhone XS not has a processor that has beaten even the iMac Pro in one particular measurement, I would not be so sure about Apple not being able to compete with Intel's high end. Even Intel hasn't made the 10nm transition standard for their processors, and that was supposed to happen when? 2015?

    AMD and Apple fans should be pretty happy to see Intel shown up by the competition. And we should be happy to buy devices that aren't hobbled by Intel's foot-dragging ways.

    Maybe in single threaded applications but it is still at best a 6 core CPU vs Intel and AMD both launching 8 core to mainstream and even more on HEDT. Apple can move if they want but there is a lot more at stake than just change the CPU and "everything just works". It would take a lot of "bribing" to convince software developers to re-write entire code for a new CPU.

    We shall see but I think its a mistake. The biggest advantage Apple has with Intel is the ability to run WINE and run Windows so Mac users can utilize x86 applications that are otherwise not available on Mac OS. Thats a big change to make.
    Reply
  • bobba84
    At least Apple will have a valid reason to charge what they want, instead of getting an actual PC, changing the firmware and doubling the price.
    Reply
  • bloodroses
    I'm thinking this will be a bad move for Apple since they'll either have to split their hardware market for OSX to support both architectures, or settle for inferior performance on their higher end machines. ARM chips are designed more so for low power consumption, not absolute performance.

    To give an idea how ARM currently compares, this article tests a snapdragon 835 vs x86 chips:
    https://www.extremetech.com/computing/270550-are-arm-cpu-cores-finally-ready-to-fight-intel-for-the-laptop-market

    the A76 they claim will compete vs an i5-7300u (which is a dual core, ht chip btw). According to the article above, that will place it just below the middle of the pack. According to this tom's article, ARM claims their performance increase will be 15% each generation for the next two releases:
    https://www.tomshardware.com/news/arm-new-cpu-chips,37614.html

    Even with a 15% gain each generation, it still doesn't put them in the performance realm of the high end mobile chips; not even taking into consideration newer x86 models coming out. Again, this means either fragmenting their OSX market for the two architectures/markets, or taking a performance hit. The only other option is to release a higher wattage chip for higher performance, but then you'll be starting to tread into Intel's 15 watt territory (ARM currently uses 5 watts).
    Reply
  • svan71
    captaincharisma yeah that stupid notch, Im getting a new Pixel 3 oh wait...
    Reply
  • alextheblue
    21410077 said:
    Apple History: CISC, CISC, RISC, CISC, and now back to RISC.

    Apple doesn't really make anything anymore. They design it and then farm it out to be manufactured in China.
    "CISC" isn't really CISC anymore. It's not even really relevant. Also designing is kind of a big deal in the scheme of "making" a modern SoC. Really, that's the bulk of the work. With that being said, yes it would be nice if we had more domestic fabs.
    Reply