Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge
Apple will announce that it’s shifting from using Intel processors to its own ARM-based chips this month at WWDC 2020, Bloomberg reports. The developer conference is due to take place starting on June 22nd with an online-only format due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Bloomberg notes that the timing of the announcement could change due to the health crisis.
Rumors of Apple switching to using its own ARM-based processors in its Macs have been around for years, but a recent report from Bloomberg claimed that the shift was imminent, and that the first Mac powered by an ARM-based processor would arrive in 2021. The company reportedly has at least three ARM-based Mac processors in development based on the next iPhone’s A14 chip as part of Apple’s “Kalamata” project.
Although the actual release of its ARM-based hardware is months away, Apple needs to make its plans public to give developers time to optimize their software for the new architecture. We’ve written before about how this will be a key challenge for the company.
Bloomberg reports that the shift has been prompted by Intel’s slowing performance gains, and that Apple’s internal tests of Macs with ARM-based chips have shown big performance increases over their Intel-powered alternatives. The increased power efficiency of ARM-based processors could result in thinner and lighter MacBooks in the future, however they will still run the desktop-focused macOS. The shift to ARM will eventually include the entire Mac lineup, Bloomberg reports.
The last time Apple announced a major processor shift like this was back at its 2005 developer conference, when Steve Jobs took to the stage to say that the company would be switching from PowerPC to Intel. The first Apple computers powered by Intel launched the following year.