Report: The first Apple Silicon Macs will be the MacBook Pro and Air | GeekComparison

Transition pack for Apple developers
Enlarge / The first Mac with Apple Silicon, technically: the developer’s transition kit. Consumer products will likely differ.

Sam Machkovech

Apple is kicking off the Mac’s transition to ARM-based Apple Silicon CPUs with three laptops — both 13-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros and the 13-inch MacBook Air — according to a report from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, who has built a track record of accurate reports on Apple’s recent plans.

Earlier this week, Apple announced plans to hold another livestream event on November 10 to announce new products. Tagged “One More Thing,” the event was already widely expected to unveil the company’s first Apple Silicon Macs, and the Bloomberg report confirms that it will. the focus of the event. Apple first formally announced its plans to move to its proprietary silicon in Macs this summer at its annual developer conference.

Today’s report claims Apple will unveil at least two of the new laptops next week, but notes that the two 13-inch models are further down the production pipeline than the 16-inch MacBook Pro. It also says there will be few, if any, design changes to the three machines besides the new chips.

Each laptop will feature an Apple-designed system-on-a-chip closely related to the A14 chip found in the newly launched iPhone and iPad Air models. Each chip would contain a CPU, a GPU, and a Mac version of Apple’s Neural Engine machine learning processor, and would be more efficient than the Intel chips in today’s Macs.

The report that there are no design changes suggests Apple’s pitch next week might be mostly about performance or battery life rather than making machines thinner – at least as far as this first wave goes.

Apple said this summer that it will update the entire Mac lineup with Apple Silicon within two years, so these machines are just a preview. The Bloomberg story claims that Apple is working to update its iMac with the new silicon and is also developing a new, smaller version of the Mac Pro.

It’s worth noting that the company has committed to supporting Intel CPUs in its Macs for the next few years, though it’s unclear if it plans to release new updated Intel Macs alongside Apple Silicon Macs in the coming months and years , or whether that statement simply meant that Intel Macs will continue to receive software updates.

The Apple Silicon transition will free Apple from Intel’s often unreliable product roadmap, and benchmarks from the iPad Pro and the Apple Silicon developer transition unit suggest users may see performance improvements for certain types of tasks.

Still, not everyone may see a completely smooth transition. While Apple claimed that legacy Mac apps designed for Intel CPUs often work well in emulation on Apple Silicon Macs through Rosetta 2 and Apple Silicon versions of some key software like Adobe Photoshop or Unity have already been announced, questions still remain for many professional users in particular.

For example, it is unclear what options software developers will have to run x86 Windows in emulation for testing purposes.

Answers to some or all of these questions will likely come in the coming weeks as Apple’s first ARM-based Macs hit the market.

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