It has been touted for several years that Apple may start using ARM processors in their Mac line up. However, in recent months with AMD releasing more and more powerful Ryzen processors pundits have been guessing Apple will announce an ARM based Mac at the upcoming Apple WWDC.
What could this mean for us Mac users and should you hold off on buying a new Mac?
Well only 15 years ago Apple successfully moved their desktop Mac line up from PowerPC processors to intel. This was done because Intel based x86 processors were more powerful & energy efficient than the PowerPC alternatives and staying with PowerPC was going to hurt the Mac line up.
The transition from PowerPC to Intel x86 chips such as the Core 2 Duo was a fairly seamless experience for most users with Apple introducing Rosetta which allowed your PowerPC based apps to run on your intel Mac up until MacOS Snow Leopard. Or if you stuck with Leopard it was / is possible to keep running PowerPC based apps.
Apple moving to its own ARM based chips which already power your iPads and iPhones may allow Apple to reduce the cost of each Mac or provide more features for the same money. With AMD launching the Thread Ripper series of processors it would also allow more powerful Macs to be released.
In the short term I would imagine if Apple were to release an ARM based Mac it would be on its own chip and be either a MacBook or a MacBook Air the MacBook Pro & MacPro would more likely still come with an Intel processor as standard for several years to come.
With that said if you’re thinking of buying a Mac that isn’t one of the base models waiting for an ARM version wouldn’t be worth it, even if Apple does introduce an ARM based Mac they will still continue to support Intel based Macs for years to come just as they did with PowerPC based Macs.
Apple may even continue to produce Intel based Macs at the same time as ARM based Macs, using their own processors in certain Macs would allow them to save money on the production cost for certain models.
Obviously, this is all speculation, but with so many people now betting on Apple releasing an ARM based Mac I wouldn’t be surprised to see one. It also makes sense for Apple as they make a lot of their own hardware so why not the CPU for some or all of their desktops.
Stay tuned as we’ll cover any significant items to come from the virtual WWDC later this month.