Early Macintosh computers were powered by Motorola processors but in the mid-90s, Apple switched over to PowerPC. Roughly a decade later, Apple again changed its tune, opting to outfit its computers with hardware from Intel.
Apple may be weeks away from publicly revealing plans to outfit its Mac computers with ARM-based processors. Sources familiar with the matter tell Bloomberg that Apple could make the announcement at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC).
By announcing the shift early (the first wave of ARM-powered Macs aren’t expected to arrive until 2021), it would give developers ample time to tweak their apps to accommodate the new architecture which is fundamentally different from the Intel chips that current drive its computers.
Sources told the publication that Apple’s chip development group decided to move away from Intel due to concerns that performance gains between generations were diminishing. These sources said Apple was worried that adhering to Intel’s roadmap could be detrimental to future Macs.
Early tests appear promising. Sources say ARM-based chips have shown “sizable improvements” over Intel hardware, especially as it relates to graphics performance and with apps that use artificial intelligence. Apple’s custom hardware is also reportedly more power-efficient than Intel’s, which could result in thinner and lighter, or longer-lasting batteries in MacBooks.
WWDC kicks off on June 22 although due to Covid-19 containment measures, Apple has eliminated the in-person aspect and will be hosting the conference as a virtual event.