ARM-Based Macs Appear Inevitable

This week, Mark Gurman posted that Apple will announce a transition to ARM-based Macs at WWDC later this month. It is interesting how those of us on the outside have slowly arrived at the term “inevitable” concerning Apple putting a variant of the chip it makes for its phones and tablets in its computers. I think it will be an easy case to make to Apple customers.

By making their own chips, Apple cuts out a middle man, giving them more flexibility on price and raising their profit per unit. Moreover, no longer does Apple (or its customers) have to wait for Intel manufacturing delays to get sorted out before Apple can ship new Macs.

The most significant benefit, however, will be battery life. With a decent-sized battery and a power-efficient A-series chip, Apple could easily double (or triple) laptop battery life. I hope Apple looks at this as an opportunity to dramatically increase battery life and not dramatically decrease weight (by keeping existing battery life and just removing more of the battery).

It is interesting that while the existing Apple A-series chips are powerful, they’ve got nothing in a class that could power the iMac Pro or Mac Pro. Will Apple scale up the A-series for their more power-hungry Macs or stick with Intel for those. My money’s on former and not the later.

If you run Windows on your Mac, this probably isn’t good news. In your shoes, I’d buy one of the last Intel-based Macs and spec it up, so you’ve got several years of use in the tank.

Either way, I sure hope the rumors are true, and we get some news in a few weeks at WWDC. An ARM transition for the Mac is the kind of thing that pushes all my nerd buttons. If you’d like to learn more about this, former Apple engineer David Shayer wrote up a detailed breakdown of the hypothetical ARM transition over at TidBITS.