Apple to release first ARM Mac without Intel processor in next 18 months, predicts Kuo

Ming-Chi Kuo is out with a new analyst note today and the most interesting part of his forecast is that Apple will release its first Mac with an ARM processor in the first half of 2021.

Kuo is predicting that one of Apple’s new products to be released within the next 12-18 months will be a Mac with an in-house processor, instead of using an Intel CPU. There have been growing reports over the last couple of years about Apple making the switch to a custom-designed ARM processor for its Macs and today’s report gives a concrete timeframe for when to expect that launch, which has actually held true since Kuo’s prediction back in 2018.

Since the coronavirus outbreak, Kuo highlights that Apple has been “more aggressive” with its funding for research, development, and production of 5nm process chips that are expected to show up in the first Macs with ARM CPUs. That’s because 5nm chips will be integral to iPhone and iPad later this year, as well as Macs come 2021.

5nm process chip shipments are expected to be taken by Apple in mid-2020. In addition to Apple using the 5nm custom chips for its first ARM Mac in 2021, Kuo says that the flagship 2020 iPhone lineup as well as new mini-LED iPad expect in late 2020 to early 2021 will feature the new 5nm process chips.

The change from Intel processors in Macs to custom-designed ARM ones will be a major shift for Apple that will allow it to have more flexibility with Mac hardware updates as well as fine-tuning hardware and software efficiency for the best experience.

Notably, there will be work ahead for developers as the shift happens to make sure macOS software support is in place for the new wave of ARM Macs.

Developer Steve Troughton-Smith shared that if Kuo’s prediction is correct, this would be the last WWDC before ARM Macs launch and that Apple should be looking to roll out a Developer Transition Kit soon but there’s no guarantee…

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