Six Colors
Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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Bloomberg: Apple to announce Mac ARM transition at WWDC

Mark Gurman at Bloomberg says that the ARM transition is imminent:

Apple Inc. is preparing to announce a shift to its own main processors in Mac computers, replacing chips from Intel Corp., as early as this month at its annual developer conference, according to people familiar with the plans.

The company is holding WWDC the week of June 22. Unveiling the initiative, codenamed Kalamata, at the event would give outside developers time to adjust before new Macs roll out in 2021, the people said. Since the hardware transition is still months away, the timing of the announcement could change, they added, while asking not to be identified discussing private plans.

We have, of course, been expecting this move for some time now, but it certainly seems as though the evidence is mounting for an announcement at WWDC.

Gurman’s report contains a few interesting tidbits, such as the fact that the hardware transition is still months off, suggesting that developers will be given a healthy heads up to adapt their software before new products start to arrive.

It also lends credence to the idea of the iPad Pro as a stealth ARM Mac development kit, since those developers will presumably need to test their software on something.1

Gurman also says that Apple’s internal tests show significant performance gains in graphics performance and AI-based apps, and suggests that power efficiency should be better as well. That raises an interesting question, to my mind: is there any place where Apple’s chips don’t measure up to Intel’s? Price? Non-graphics compute performance? Or is it all upside?

This is likely to be the biggest shift in the Mac since the Intel transition, although given Apple’s penchant for keeping underlying technical shifts seamless, it may go largely unnoticed by many users. With just under two weeks until WWDC, looks like we’ll find out sooner rather than later.

  1. My guess is that, if Apple did take this approach, it would be limited to the 2018 and 2020 iPad Pro models, since they have support for the Magic Keyboard and a USB-C port. 
—Linked by Dan Moren

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