Whether it’s a formal announcement or just a slide in a presentation, Apple is expected to say something on June 22 at the beginning of its Worldwide Developers Conference, according to reports.
Practically, it means that Macs, over time, will become more like the iPhone and iPad internally and less like the MacBooks being sold today.
The iPhone and iPad use Apple chips based on the ARM architecture, which is more suitable for mobile devices.
The move will “bring with it benefits such as longer battery life and cellular connectivity,” Jitesh Ubrani, an analyst at market researcher IDC, told Fox News. Those are both hallmarks of the iPhone and iPad.
Apple’s newest 2020 iPad Pro, for example, has been praised for high performance while offering long battery life.
Ubrani expects this transition to initially happen with entry-level MacBooks, like the MacBook Air, or possibly a new take on a small MacBook akin to the now-discontinued 12-inch MacBook.
The key is consistency. Ultimately, using these chips in all Apple devices helps developers.
“It makes development easier since developers would be easily able to create an app that runs across all of Apple’s devices without the need to port from one platform to another,” Ubrani said, referring to Apple’s need to develop for both Intel processors and its own processors.
But don’t expect to be able to run out and buy a variety of Macs running on the new hardware anytime soon.
Switching to a new hardware platform is complicated and, potentially, a Pandora’s box of challenges as software developers try to get applications to run smoothly on the new hardware.
“Once they solve the issue of getting all the professional apps working on ARM, then you will see [the processors] on higher-end Macs as well,” Ubrani said.
This isn’t the first time Apple has done this
Apple announced the transition from PowerPC processors, made by IBM and Motorola, to Intel processors back in 2005 at the Worldwide Developers Conference. And that came after a transition to PowerPC years before that.
When Apple made the switch to Intel, Steve Jobs said that OS X had been running on both the old platform and new platform simultaneously. Jobs described it as OS X living a “secret double life” inside Apple, as pointed out by MacWorld.
So don’t be surprised if Tim Cook makes a similar revelation next week at the Worldwide Developers Conference.
Apple is also rumored to announce a new iMac at the conference. It is said to use "iPad Pro design language" with thinner display bezels along the lines of the Pro Display XDR, according to MacRumors.
The online-only Worldwide Developers Conference will be streamed directly from Apple Park and can be watched on Apple.com or YouTube.