We don’t normally publish news posts about Apple sending out RSVPs for product launch events, but this one should be especially interesting.
This morning Apple has sent notice that they’re holding an event next Tuesday dubbed “One more thing.” In traditional Apple fashion, the announcement doesn’t contain any detailed information about the content expected; but as Apple has already announced their updated iPads and iPhones, the only thing left on Apple’s list for the year is Macs. Specifically, their forthcoming Arm-powered Macs.
As previously announced by Apple back at their summer WWDC event, the company is transitioning its Mac lineup from x86 CPUs to Arm CPUs. With a two-year transition plan in mind, Apple is planning to start the Arm Mac transition this year, and wrapping things up in 2022.
For the new Arm Macs, Apple will of course be using their own in-house designed Arm processors, the A-series. As we’ve seen time and time again from the company, Apple’s CPU design team is on the cutting-edge of Arm CPU cores, producing the fastest Arm CPU cores for several years running now, and more recently even overtaking Intel’s x86 chips in real-world Instruction Per Clock (IPC) rates. Suffice it to say, Apple believes they can do better than Intel by designing their own CPUs, and especially with the benefits of vertical integration and total platform control, they might be right.
Apple has been shipping early Arm Macs to developers since the summer, using modified Mac Minis containing their A12Z silicon. We’re obviously expecting something newer, but whether it’s a variant of Apple’s A14 SoC, or perhaps something newer and more bespoke specifically for their Macs, remains to be seen.
In the meantime, because this is a phased transition, Apple will be selling Intel Macs – including new models – alongside the planned Arm Macs. So although Apple will no doubt focus on their new Arm Macs, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see some new Intel Macs announced alongside them. Apple will be supporting Intel Macs for years to come, and in the meantime they need to avoid Osborning their x86 systems.
As always, we’ll have a live blog of the events next Tuesday, along with a breakdown of Apple’s announcements afterwards. So please be sure to drop in and check that out.