For the past few years, rumors have been circulating that Apple could replace the Mac Intel processors with its own chips, a step that would cause a seismic shift in the PC industry. Apple can confirm that news at the WWDC developer conference this month, according to Bloomberg. It will reportedly reveal details about the processor switch (codenamed Kalamata) at the June 22nd event to give developers time to prepare.
As we learned from previous leaks, the new chips would be built around the ARM-based A14 processor used in iPhone and iPad devices. The chips would be designed by Apple and built by contract manufacturer TSMC, which also manufactures processors for AMD and NVIDIA. That would give Apple control over the components used in its Mac laptops and desktop computers, while doing a huge blow to Intel, the current supplier of the Mac CPU. Mac computers would continue to run a version of macOS, which has been upgraded to use the new chips.
Apple has seen major improvements in Mac performance with the ARM chips, according to Bloomberg, especially in terms of graphics and AI performance. As a result, it would also be possible to build thinner, lighter, and more energy-efficient models. As before, when Apple switched from PowerPC to Intel chips, the biggest problem is likely to be the compatibility of the app. Productivity and content creation apps such as Photoshop should be optimized to get the most out of the new chips.
Apple has reportedly decided to move away from Intel’s x86 chips because production issues slowed down the development of the chip giant’s technology. In recent years, Intel has stalled on the same 14-nanometer technology, while AMD, Apple, and Qualcomm will use much more advanced 5-nanometer technology by 2021. Last year, Intel acknowledged that it won’t even catch up with AMD’s current 7-nanometer technology until at least next year.
All this is still a rumor, and even if it is true, Apple could postpone the chip announcement for later. At WWDC, it is also expected to unveil updates for iOS, tvOS, and watchOS, with mobile performance enhancements and new AR and fitness features. WWDC will start on June 22nd, but it will be an online event this year due to the COVID-19 crisis.