The Axios website claims that developers and “official Intel members” have directly informed them that Apple will switch Intel processors on their Macs to ARM in 2020.
The rumor is interesting, because it allegedly comes from Intel. But it is consistent with other analogous that have taken place in recent months.
Apple itself, its latest Keynotes, has already assured several times that its iPad Pro “has the performance of a computer”, and that many apps of its tablets have the same features as Mac. Apple’s intention is to bring both platforms together at the software level. That one developer can create a single app that works on both Mac and iPad. This will happen in 2021, but the previous step will be to bring the architectures closer and replace the Intel processors of the Mac and Macbook with ARM processors like the iPad has.
Just a few years ago, it was unthinkable that an ARM processor focused on mobile devices could compete with a computer CPU.
But in recent years, thanks to nanometer size reductions and other improvements, the ARM architecture has dramatically improved its performance to compete with lower and mid-range notebooks. The latest example is the new Snapdragon 8cx, which works like Intel’s Core i5, already installed on some laptops.
Even Microsoft itself supports this type of CPU, with the release of Windows 10 for ARM.
The Mac Mini 2018 is the renewal of the family of entrance to the world macOS. It’s a compact desktop computer that can perform everyday office tasks thanks to Intel’s eighth-generation processors.
When Apple launches the first Macs and Macbooks with ARM processors in 2020, it won’t be an easy transition. For a while, Macs will coexist with two architectures, and developers will have to create two completely different versions of their apps.
Apparently Apple is working on a platform called Marzipan that will enable 2021 to develop a single binary of an app that will work on both Macs with ARM and iPads. But until then, there will be a transition period in which this platform will allow the interface between the two versions to be shared, but it will still be necessary to create two binary files, one for ARM and one for Intel.
It will be a complicated process, but it’s neither new for Apple nor for Macs. Throughout its history, Motorola processors have been replaced by PowerPCs and later by Intel Core processors. It seems that the next evolutionary leap will be the Macs with ARM processors in 2020.