The long-rumored transition from the Mac from Intel processors to Apple's own ARM designs could be faster and more extensive than might be expected. According to a new research note by analyst Ming-chi Kuo, reported by MacRumorsApple plans to launch "multiple,quot; ARM-based Macs in 2021, on both laptop and desktop form factors.
Kuo believes that switching to ARM will allow Apple to cut its processor costs by 40 to 60 percent while gaining more flexibility over its line of hardware. He recently claimed that Apple would launch its first ARM-based laptop in the fourth quarter of this year or the first quarter of next.
Relative to Intel or AMD x86 processors, ARM designs are generally associated with mobile devices due to their increased energy efficiency, giving products like the iPad a long-lasting battery without the need for active cooling. It makes sense, then, that Apple sees its increasingly powerful A-series processors as a good fit for MacBooks.
The notion of ARM desktops is perhaps more intriguing, mainly because no one has really tried it yet on consumer computers. Energy efficiency is closely related to performance: Mobile ARM devices operate at low power because they need to preserve battery life and run cold in a slim form factor. What kind of performance could be achieved, for example, with something like the new iPad Pro A12Z chip in an iMac-style body with active cooling and a permanent power supply from the wall? And what would this mean for the new ultra-designed, ultra-expensive, and Xeon-based Mac Pro?
Regardless, it looks like the ARM transition will be great news for Mac next year. Apple would typically announce these kinds of things at its annual World Developers Conference in June, but this year's in-person event will not take place due to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, the WWDC 2020 keynote and other developer sessions will air online at a time not yet specified.