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New reports claim Apple will soon announce plans for all of its future Mac computers (including the rumoured MacBook ARM) to ditch Intel processors in favour of Apple’s own ARM-based chips.
This doesn’t come as a huge surprise, as a MacBook ARM laptop has been rumoured for a long while now, although it was unexpected that Apple would announce such plans during this month’s WWDC event.
While the entry-level MacBook ARM (taking a similar form to the likes of the Galaxy Book S and Lenovo Yoga C630) will likely be the first Apple product to feature these ARM-based processors in 2021, Bloomberg reports that Apple plans to eventually integrate its own custom-built chip into the entire Mac lineup, including the priciest desktop computers.
Reports also suggest Apple’s ARM-based processors will offer “sizable improvements” compared to the current Intel chips, with battery life and graphics performance specifically highlighted. The ARM architecture will also likely allow Apple to create smaller and lighter laptops, as seen the Galaxy Book S.
Apple hasn’t confirmed any of this information just yet, so retain some scepticism for now. We’ll make sure to keep this article updated as soon as more details drop on the rumoured MacBook.
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MacBook ARM release date – When will it launch?
The first MacBook ARM is expected to arrive in 2021 according to reports from Bloomberg and analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
However, a more recent Bloomberg report suggests Apple will announce its plans to move to ARM-based architecture during the WWDC event on the week of June 22.
This apparently won’t affect the 2021 launch window, as Apple simply wants to let developers know about the move as early as possible so they’ve enough time to prepare for the switch to new hardware.
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MacBook ARM price – How much will it cost?
There’s no word on a price for the rumoured ARM-based MacBook so far.
Since it’s using ARM architecture, it’s possible Apple will undercut the current £999 starting price of the MacBook Air 2020. Although, it’s also likely Apple will instead increase the base price of the 2021 MacBook Air range to accommodate the cheaper 12-inch MacBook.
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MacBook ARM specs – What is the ARM MacBook?
The new MacBook is rumoured to feature an ARM-based processor. Laptops such as the Galaxy Book S have given us an idea of what to expect with ARM architecture, including increased battery life, ultra-portable designs and potential 4G support via SIM cards.
However, Apple is supposedly designing its own processor that features 12 cores made up of a combination of eight high-performance cores (code-named Firestorm) and four energy-efficient core (code-named Icestorm).
Bloomberg reports that TSMC will manufacture a new 5-nanometer process on Apple’s behalf, following the same technique that the current iPhone and iPad devices use. Despite this, future Macs will continue to use the macOS operating system, so don’t expect a smartphone-esque software switch over.
Apple has apparently suggested its own ARM-based processors will be more battery efficient than the current Intel processors, which could potentially result in improved battery life.
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MacBook ARM design – What will it look like?
Reports are few and far between regarding a new MacBook design. However, ARM architecture allows for a thin and light chassis.
Apple is reported as having made an ARM MacBook prototype back in 2018 based on the A12X processor from that year’s iPad Pro. The success of this prototype is said to have spurred on Apple’s hopes of replacing Intel in future Macs.
With this prototype in Apple’s rear-view mirror, the company would be expected to have a pretty good idea of the design to come for its first ARM-based Mac laptop.
We expect it to be the thinnest and lightest MacBook that Apple has released yet, although we’ll have to wait and see whether that becomes a reality.