Report: Super-Lightweight 12-inch MacBook Powered By Apple Silicon to Launch This Year
Apple has designed a 12-inch MacBook powered by Apple Silicon that weighs less than one kilogram and the company intends to launch it by the end of the year, according to a new report today.
Apple's first ARM-based Mac will use an A14X processor, which is codenamed "Tonga" and manufactured by TSMC, and the MacBook will have a battery life of between 15 and 20 hours, according to the Chinese-language newspaper The China Times.
According to Apple's supply chain, Apple is expected to launch a Macbook with a 12-inch Retina Display at the end of this year, using its self-developed and designed A14X processor, with the development code of Tonga, supporting a USB Type-C interface and weighing less than 1 kilogram, because of the low-power advantage of the Arm-based processor. The Macbook battery lasts 15 to 20 hours. The A14X processor will also be used in the new generation iPad Pro tablet.
Apple announced at its WWDC developer conference in June that its Macs will transition from Intel x86-based CPUs to its self-designed Arm-based Apple Silicon processors over the next two years. Bloomberg has said that Apple is currently developing at least three Mac processors that are based on the 5-nanometer A14 chip that will be used in the upcoming iPhone 12 models. According to the Chinese report's sources, the first Apple-designed A14X processor has been finalized and will be mass produced using TSMC's 5-nanometer process by the end of the year.
Apple's first Mac processors will have 12 cores, including eight high-performance cores and at least four energy-efficient cores, according to Bloomberg. Apple is said to be exploring Mac processors with more than 12 cores for further in the future, with the company already designing a second generation of Mac processors based on the A15 chip.
This is the second time we've heard rumors of Apple reviving the 12-inch MacBook form factor to showcase its first consumer Apple Silicon machine. Fudge, a leaker who goes by @choco_bit on Twitter, said in June that Apple could revive its now-discontinued MacBook, with a new 12-inch model unveiled as the first Mac with an Apple-designed Arm-based chip. Fudge said the 12-inch MacBook could look the same as the retired version with minimal design changes, although 5G connectivity could be a feature.
In contrast to today's report, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said a 13.3-inch MacBook Pro with a form factor similar to the current 13.3-inch MacBook Pro could be the first Mac to get an Arm-based chip designed by Apple. In March, Kuo predicted this new MacBook Pro will launch late in 2020 or early in 2021.
Kuo said he expects the Apple Silicon 13.3-inch MacBook Pro to go into mass production in the fourth quarter of this year, but he has also predicted we will see an Arm-based MacBook Air either in the same quarter or in the first quarter of next year, so it's not impossible the 12-inch machine turns out to be a redesigned MacBook Air.
Today's report also claims that Apple will launch an Apple Silicon iMac next year with a powerful custom-designed graphics processing unit, replacing the mobile AMD GPUs that Apple has traditionally relied on. In addition, the report claims the A14 chip to feature in Apple's upcoming iPhone 12 lineup is codenamed "Sicilian."