Mac With Apple-Designed Arm Processor Coming in First Half of 2021

Apple's first Mac with a processor designed in house is set to be released during the first half of 2021, Apple analyst Ming Chi Kuo said in a note to investors this morning that was obtained by MacRumors.

16 inch macbook pro orange background
There are no other details provided about the new Mac that's in the works, but the detail confirms multiple past rumors that have suggested Apple is working on custom Arm-based processors designed in-house that would allow it to transition away from Intel. Over the years, Apple's product releases have been stymied by Intel chip delays, and with its own chips, Apple will not be tied to Intel chip release cycles.

Earlier information indicated Apple could begin using Arm-based chips as soon as 2020, but Kuo's note indicates a new Mac with an Apple-designed chip won't be released this year.

Apple is said to be moving to Arm-based chips in an effort to make Macs, iPhones, and iPads work together and run the same apps. Apple's iPhones and iPads already use Arm-based chip technology, and there are custom Apple-created T2 chips in the iMac Pro and recent MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Mac mini, and Mac Pro models.

Kuo's detail about an upcoming Mac with an Apple-designed chip is a tidbit mentioned briefly in a note that suggests 5-nanometer chip architecture will be the "core technology" in Apple's new products in the next 12 to 18 months.

We expect that Apple's new products in 12-18 months will adopt processors made by 5nm process, including the new 2H20 5G iPhone, new 2H20 iPad equipped with mini LED, and new 1H21 Mac equipped with the own-design processor. We think that iPhone 5G support, iPad's adoption of innovative mid-size panel technology, and Mac's first adoption of the own-design processor are all Apple's critical product and technology strategies. Given that the processor is the core component of new products, we believe that Apple had increased 5nm-related investments after the epidemic outbreak. Further, Apple occupying more resources of related suppliers will hinder competitors' developments.

The new Mac with Apple-designed chip, the 2020 5G iPhone, and a high-end iPad with a mini LED display rumored for the second half of 2020 are said to use 5-nanometer chips. Chips built on a 5-nanometer node will be faster and more efficient than the A13 chips used in the most recent iPhones that are built on a 7-nanometer+ process.

Apple is said to have become "more aggressive" when it comes to research, development, and production for 5-nanometer chip technology, ramping up investments to reduce uncertainty caused by the ongoing coronavirus outbreak in China.

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Top Rated Comments

oneMadRssn Avatar
55 months ago
Unless they have an absolutely killer x86 and x64 interpreter, then the last Intel Macbook might be the last Macbook I buy.

There is just soooooooo much great software available for x86/x64 that is designed for traditional desktops and laptops that a switch away from x86/x64 would be giving up. Don't get me wrong, ARM is great but then might as well just have an iPad.
Score: 49 Votes (Like | Disagree)
venom600 Avatar
55 months ago
The concern i have is that they are going to lock it down hard. This 16" Macbook Pro may be my last Mac, particularly if they remove bootcamp functionality.
Score: 43 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MacLawyer Avatar
55 months ago
I need Bootcamp. Period. I *don't* want a slow virtual layer between me and the Windows apps I need to run.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cardfan Avatar
55 months ago
So dumb. First Catalina. Now this. Nothing worthwhile will run on it.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
xnu Avatar
55 months ago
Apple is an incredibly innovative company, but I am not feeling great about this. I hope I am wrong. I happen to like the progress AMD is making and really would hope to see some of their products in Macs. Sure iPhones, iPads and perhaps even an ultra portable for an Apple chip, but I like my desktop with a standard processor having lived through Motorola and the PowerPC eras.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DHagan4755 Avatar
55 months ago
Ta-ta, Intel.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)