Apple has long been rumored to be working on ARM-based Mac. The latest report from Bloomberg points to Apple launching a Mac with a custom ARM processor next year and has provided more details about the company’s efforts in this regard.
As per the report, Apple is working on three custom ARM processors for the Mac codenamed ‘Kalamata.’ They will be based on the A14 chip meant for the 2020 5G iPhone 12 lineup and iPads, though they will be much faster than them. The processors will be fabricated on TSMC’s 5nm node.
Apple is preparing to release at least one Mac with its own chip next year, according to the people. But the initiative to develop multiple chips, codenamed Kalamata, suggests the company will transition more of its Mac lineup away from current supplier Intel Corp.
The first Mac processors from Apple will feature eight high-performance cores codenamed ‘Firestorm.’ This will be paired with four energy-efficient ‘Icestorm’ cores.’ The company is also looking to use processors with more than 12 cores in the future.
Apple is also working on the second-generation of Mac processors that will be based on the 2021 iPhone chips. This points to Apple keeping its Mac processors on the same update timeline as its iPhone processors.
The move away from Intel processors is a complex one for Apple and it requires its software, hardware, and component team to work closely. However, given that most Apple employees are working from home due to the ongoing pandemic, there is a possibility of the shift being delayed.
The move to develop multiple ARM processors for Mac hints at Apple moving multiple Mac lineups away from Intel’s processors. The move to design and use its own ARM processors on Macs will provide Apple will greater flexibility over its performance and also help them differentiate it from the competition. ARM processors will also help Apple in unifying the app codebase for iPads and Macs. The Cupertino company currently sources processors for Macs from Intel which has been struggling with its 10nm fabrication process and has failed to provide any noticeable performance improvement with its recent CPUs.