It will be a gradual transition
After being in the rumor mill for a few years, Bloomberg confirms that Apple intends to sell Macs with its in-house processors as early as next year. According to people familiar with the development, Apple is working on three different processors. All of them will be based on the upcoming A14 processor, and one of them will reportedly be faster than A-series processors used on iPads and iPhones.
One of the upcoming in-house processors will reportedly be manufactured using TSMC’s 5nm process and will have 12 ARM cores: four Icestorm energy-efficient cores and eight Firestorm performance cores. This is at least double the number of cores offered with Apple’s current line of Macs. For reference, the entry-level 16-inch MacBook Pro comes with a six-core Core i7 processor while the entry-level 2020 MacBook Air comes with a dual-core Core i3 processor. Like the A-series processors used on iPad and iPhones, the custom Mac processors will have their own GPU.
Apple’s plan is to introduce one Mac powered by its own processor next year while retaining its Intel-powered models. The rumored model will be an entry-level model, as Apple’s custom chips could not rival Intel chips for its high-end MacBook Pros, iMacs, and Mac Pros. Prior to this, Apple reportedly developed a custom Mac processor based on the iPad Pro’s A12x processor for internal testing. The success of the test gave its engineers the green light to push for ARM-based Macs.
This development will be the biggest change for Apple’s Mac line since its transition from PowerPC to Intel back in 2005.