Kuo: Apple Silicon Macs to Include 13-inch MacBook Pro and MacBook Air This Year, 14.1-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro Models Next Year

At last month’s WWDC, Apple officially announced that its Mac computers will be transitioned from Intel x86 to homegrown Apple Silicon chips. Apple said it plans to deliver the first ‌Apple Silicon‌ Mac by the end of the year and complete the transition in about two years.


According to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, a redesigned 13.3-inch MacBook Pro with a form factor similar to the current 13.3-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌ could be the first Mac to get an Arm-based chip designed by Apple. In March, Kuo predicted this new ‌MacBook Pro‌ will launch late in 2020 or early in 2021.

In a research note with TF International Securities today, seen by MacRumors, Kuo said he expects the ‌Apple Silicon‌ 13.3-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌ to go into mass production in the fourth quarter of this year, but he also now predicts we will see an Arm-based MacBook Air either in the same quarter or in the first quarter of next year.

Kuo still believes that Apple intends to launch a mini-LED 16-inch ‌‌MacBook Pro‌‌ and a redesigned 14.1-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌, also with a mini-LED display, but these will likely arrive in the second or third quarter of 2021. Previous rumors suggested an updated 16-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌ could arrive this year in October or November.

Kuo made no mention in today’s report of the ‌Apple Silicon‌ iMac he previously predicted. Apple is still expected to launch a redesigned ‌iMac‌ this year, although it’s not expected to be an ‌Apple Silicon‌ machine.

In the same report, Kuo predicts that MacBook shipments in 2020 are expected to increase to 16–17 million units. Kuo also said that under optimistic circumstances, if Apple lowered the price of the new ‌MacBook Air‌ to reflect a cost reduction, and if demand was high for the new 14-inch and 16-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌ models, shipment volume could increase significantly next year to 18-20 million units.

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Should I Buy an Intel Mac Today or Wait to Buy an Arm-Based Mac?

Apple at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference announced its intention to transition away from Intel processors to Macs powered by its own Apple Silicon chips starting in late 2020. Apple says that by using its own Arm-based processors, it will be able to build better Macs that will boast better performance while also being more energy efficient.


Apple’s announcement at WWDC 2020 was expected, but the timing of the transition has left many people in the market for a new Mac wondering whether they should buy one now, or wait until the first Macs powered by ‌Apple Silicon‌ arrive. If you count yourself among those facing the same dilemma, then keep reading. This article summarizes the most salient points to consider.

Where Have I Heard of Arm Before?

Apple is no stranger to Arm-based architecture, and if you’re already wedded to the Apple ecosystem, you probably own a device powered by Arm chips. iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Apple TV all use Advanced RISC machine (Arm-based) processors instead of Intel chips, which use the CISC instruction set.


In fact, the MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac Pro, Mac mini, and Mac Pro are already equipped with Apple-designed Arm processors, in the form of the T1 and T2 chips that power the Touch Bar, Secure Enclave, and other features in these machines.

Indeed, Apple’s familiarity with the architecture is one of the reasons the company has decided that it’s time to make the wholesale switch for its desktop and notebook machines.

Will Arm-Based Macs Be Better Than Intel Macs?

Apple says it has been working on a family of system-on-chip processors for its desktop and notebook Macs that will usher in a new set of features and deliver “incredible performance.”

Apple loves superlatives, but the details are still thin, so it’s hard to know exactly what performance gains are in store. But based on past and current architecture, there are some benefits we can be sure of.


Thanks to Apple’s years of experience honing power-efficient chips for its ‌Apple Watch‌ and iOS devices, it’s fair to say that we can expect a better balance of high performance and low power consumption. Apple’s custom chips will also provide best-in-class security with the Secure Enclave, along with high-performance graphics capabilities for professional apps and games.

‌Apple Silicon‌ chips will also include Neural Engines and Machine Learning Accelerators, making Macs ideal platforms for machine learning. Other technologies set to feature include a high-quality camera processor, performance controller, high-performance DRAM, unified memory, and cryptography acceleration.

In addition, Apple has developed several custom technologies that it can build into ‌Apple Silicon‌ to integrate the system and further boost the Mac’s capabilities, making it stand out from the competition. Just take the T2 chip in current Macs, which integrates the system management controller, the image signal processor, the SSD controller, and a Secure Enclave with a hardware-based encryption engine, not to mention the Touch Bar and Touch ID.


By going all-in with its own silicon, Apple is increasing its ability to control both the software and the hardware, just like it does for iPhones and iPads, which should make for an improved user experience overall. Not only that, apps designed for the ‌iPhone‌ and the ‌iPad‌ will run on ‌Apple Silicon‌ natively when the first Mac with an Apple-designed chip is released.

How Much Faster Will ‌Apple Silicon‌ Macs Be?

The truth is we don’t know yet. Apple seems confident in the future performance of its Arm-based Macs. Presently, Apple is providing developers with a Developer Transition Kit, which is a ‌Mac mini‌ with an A12Z iPad Pro chip. This is based on a 2019 Arm CPU that was designed for the ‌iPad‌, so shouldn’t be seen as representative of what Arm Mac performance will ultimately be.

Due to the change in CPU architecture, current Intel Mac software will be translated under Rosetta — this means that performance of unoptimized software will be slower until developers have a chance to support the new Arm processors.

Early benchmarks show how the developer kit performs with unoptimized software, and delivers benchmarks roughly on par with 2013 to 2015-era MacBook Pros.

It’s worth noting, however, that the Arm-powered 2019 ‌iPad Pro‌ running Arm-native benchmarking software is faster than the 13-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌ (2019) in single core and multi-core benchmarks.

Overall, these early benchmarks seem promising, bearing in mind that Apple’s Arm-based Macs that run ‌Apple Silicon‌ will have new chips designed for specifically for the Mac and based on the A14 chip created for the 2020 ‌iPhone‌ lineup with a 5-nanometer process.

When Are the First ‌Apple Silicon‌ Macs Due to Launch?

At WWDC in June, Apple said that the first Mac that uses ‌Apple Silicon‌ will be introduced before the end of 2020. The company didn’t offer any more details beyond that, but rumors suggest Apple is developing at least three Mac processors all of which are based on the A14 chip in the upcoming 2020 iPhones.

Respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes the first Macs that will adopt Apple’s custom chips will be a refreshed 13.3-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌ and a redesigned 24-inch iMac, with the updated machines to launch in the fourth quarter of 2020 or early in 2021.


Apple analyst ‌Ming-Chi Kuo‌ has also said that Apple plans to release at least six Mini-LED products by the end of 2021, including 14-inch and 16-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌ models, so it’s possible that these new Macs will be among the first to run on ‌Apple Silicon‌.

Apple has already confirmed that its ‌Apple Silicon‌ Macs will continue to offer support for the Thunderbolt USB-C standard, so there will continue to be an Intel element in the new machines after all.

What Does ‌Apple Silicon‌ Mean for Intel-Based Apps?

Apple has said it will continue to support Intel Macs for years after the transition to ‌Apple Silicon‌ is complete, so if you buy an Intel-based Mac today, you can expect to receive software updates throughout the life of the machine.

As indicated by its Developer Transition Kit, Apple expects most developers to start building native apps immediately. However, users will still be able to run Intel apps on Arm-based Macs thanks to Rosetta 2, a translation process that runs in the background and is invisible to the user.


Apple has demoed Rosetta 2 with apps and games, and shown that there’s no apparent difference between running an Intel app on an Intel machine versus an ‌Apple Silicon‌ machine. Everything works as you’d expect, but if performance is important to you it may take some time for all your software to be updated to support the new processors.

If you rely on Adobe software, the good news is that Apple has given Adobe early access to its Arm-based architecture, and Photoshop and Lightroom are reportedly already running smoothly on ‌Apple Silicon‌.

What If I Need My Mac to Run Windows?

Unfortunately, Boot Camp won’t be available on Macs that run ‌Apple Silicon‌, and existing virtualization solutions also won’t support running Intel Windows. Even if VMWare or Parallels were to offer that support, it would suffer from slower performance due to the different CPU architectures involved.

Microsoft does have its own native Arm version of Windows it uses on its Surface Pro X, but that is only available to manufacturers who resell Microsoft products under their own name and branding. As far as we know, there are no current plans make an Arm-based version of Windows available for Macs. Even if that were to become available for the Mac, it has its own compatibility and performance issues with traditional Intel Windows applications.

Should I Buy a Mac Now or Wait for ‌Apple Silicon‌?

Apple is committed to supporting Intel-based Macs long into the future, and even says it has new Mac models in the pipeline that run on Intel processors.

In addition, Apple’s existing Mac lineup has never looked in better shape. The 16-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌ and the recently updated 13-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌ in particular are well-rounded machines that offer very impressive performance across the board.

If running Windows is an important factor, then buying a current generation Intel Mac makes more sense than waiting. Intel Macs will be supported for years to come with new Intel Macs still in the pipeline.

In addition, if you are looking to buy a higher end Mac with specific software where performance is important to you, it also may not be worth waiting. Early ‌Apple Silicon‌ Macs may not replace the top-of-the-line for some time and native software will take some time to arrive.


If you don’t need to buy a new Mac right away, and the idea of ‌Apple Silicon‌ excites you, it might be worth holding out for a little longer to see how things evolve. Apple says the first Arm-based Mac is set to be introduced before the end of 2020.

That said, Apple has also stated that it will take two years to transition its entire Mac lineup to ‌Apple Silicon‌, so depending on what kind of Mac you want, you could be in for a long wait.

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Apple’s Arm-Based Macs With Apple Silicon Chips Will Support Thunderbolt

Apple is working on Macs that use its custom Apple-designed Apple Silicon chips instead of Intel chips, but Apple has committed to continuing to support Thunderbolt, reports The Verge.


In a statement, an Apple spokesperson said that Apple’s upcoming machines will offer support for Intel’s Thunderbolt USB-C standard.

“Over a decade ago, Apple partnered with Intel to design and develop Thunderbolt, and today our customers enjoy the speed and flexibility it brings to every Mac. We remain committed to the future of Thunderbolt and will support it in Macs with Apple silicon.”

Apple at WWDC unveiled its plans for Macs equipped with ‌Apple Silicon‌ chips, the first of which is set to come out before the end of 2020. Apple eventually plans to transition all of its Macs to ‌Apple Silicon‌, a process that the company says will take two years.

According to Apple, ‌Apple Silicon‌ will bring a new level of performance with more powerful Macs that are also more energy efficient with better battery life.

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Apple’s A12Z Under Rosetta Outperforms Microsoft’s Native Arm-Based Surface Pro X

Apple’s Developer Transition Kit equipped with an A12Z iPad Pro chip began arriving in the hands of developers this morning to help them get their apps ready for Macs running Apple Silicon, and though forbidden, the first thing some developers did was benchmark the machine.


Multiple Geekbench results have indicated that the Developer Transition Kit, which is a Mac mini with an ‌iPad Pro‌ chip, features average single-core and multi-core scores of 811 and 2,871, respectively.


As developer Steve Troughton-Smith points out, the two-year-old A12Z in the ‌Mac mini‌ outperforms Microsoft’s Arm-based Surface Pro X in Geekbench performance, running x86_64 code in emulation faster than the Surface Pro X can run an Arm version natively.


Averaging seven Geekbench 5 benchmarking results, Microsoft’s Surface Pro X features a single-core score of 726 and a multi-core score of 2,831, meaning the A12Z outperforms the Surface Pro X in single-core testing and is on par or slightly better in multi-core performance.


The Surface Pro X features a Microsoft-designed 3GHz Arm processor based on the Qualcomm SQ1 chip.

Apple’s DTK provided to developers is just a test machine using an older A12Z chip (it’s the same as the A12X chip in the 2018 ‌iPad Pro‌ but with an extra GPU core unlocked). Apple’s Arm-based Macs that run ‌Apple Silicon‌ will have new chips designed for the Mac and based on the A14 chip created for the 2020 iPhone lineup with a 5-nanometer process.

Apple says its ‌Apple Silicon‌ Macs will bring major improvements in performance and power efficiency, and the first Arm-based Mac is set to be released before the end of 2020.


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Rosetta 2 Benchmarks Surface From Mac Mini With A12Z Chip

WWDC20 Rumor Report Card: Leaked iOS 14 Features, Arm-Based Macs, and More

WWDC was held online this year, but it was still packed with announcements, including iOS 14, iPadOS 14, macOS Big Sur, watchOS 7, tvOS 14, and Apple confirming its long-rumored plans to transition to its own custom-designed processors for future Macs. Sadly, there was no sight of a redesigned iMac, but that is still on the table for later this year.
With so many rumors shared every week, it …

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Developers Begin Receiving Mac Mini With A12Z Chip to Prepare Apps for Apple Silicon Macs

WWDC20 Rumor Report Card: Leaked iOS 14 Features, Arm-Based Macs, and More

WWDC was held online this year, but it was still packed with announcements, including iOS 14, iPadOS 14, macOS Big Sur, watchOS 7, tvOS 14, and Apple confirming its long-rumored plans to transition to its own custom-designed processors for future Macs. Sadly, there was no sight of a redesigned iMac, but that is still on the table for later this year.
With so many rumors shared every week, it …

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Apple Silicon Macs to Feature New Boot and Recovery Interface, New Mac Sharing Mode Replacing Target Disk Mode

Apple Silicon Macs will introduce a new system for accessing macOS recovery and security options at startup, Apple explained at a WWDC session on Wednesday.

The new Startup UI on Apple Silicon powered Macs

Existing Macs include a number of macOS Recovery options at boot-up that are accessed using key combinations. For example, Command-R boots Macs in Recovery mode, and Command-Option-P-R resets the NVRAM. On Apple Silicon Macs, these key combinations are being replaced by an on-screen Startup Manager interface.

In the new system architecture, users can hold down the power button on their Mac to access the new startup screen, which features recovery options for reinstalling macOS, as well as options to boot as normal, shut down, and restart.

Apple is also replacing Target Disk Mode, which is used to transfer data between two Macs, with what’s called Mac Sharing Mode. Mac Sharing Mode turns the system into an SMB file sharing server, providing another Mac with file-level access to user data. User authentication is required to access the service.

The security modes on Apple Silicon powered Macs

In addition, Startup Disk is a new feature that enables user to select different security modes for startup volumes. Full security, enabled by default, provides the same best-in-class security as enjoyed by Apple’s iOS devices and let users boot from an external disk without reducing the security of the system.

Meanwhile, Reduced security mode provides more flexibility by allowing users to disable System Integrity Protection and run any version of macOS, including those that are no longer signed by Apple.

Lastly, Apple Silicon Macs run separate security policies for each OS installation, whereas Intel-based Macs operate on a less flexible system-wide security policy. For more details on this and the other new startup features, check out the full WWDC session on the Apple developer website.

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