Apple expected to go the ARM way with 13-inch MacBook Pro, iMac refresh; announcement likely at WWDC 2020

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Updated: Jun 22, 2020 11:10 AM

Apple is expected to announce its plans to switch from Intel to ARM chips for its Macs at WWDC 2020 later tonight.

Kuo also notes that Apple will stop making Intel-powered MacBook Pros (13-inch) once the ARM-based model is launched.

Long-term Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has tipped major details about Apple’s purported plans to part ways with Intel and go the ARM way and the first wave of Mac computers that will seemingly be powered by Cupertino’s custom processors. Apple is expected to make the announcement later tonight during WWDC 2020 opening keynote later tonight (details here).

Kuo notes that the first Mac computer to pack Apple’s custom ARM-based processor will be a 13-inch MacBook Pro. This new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Apple’s custom ARM processor will be launched sometime in Q4 2020 or early 2021 with a design largely reminiscent of the current model (with Intel inside). Kuo also notes that Apple will stop making Intel-powered MacBook Pros (13-inch) once the ARM-based model is launched.

The other device, that will also be powered by Apple’s new ARM chip, in the first wave, will be a 24-inch iMac, which is tipped to launch in Q1 2021. Apple is also said to launch an Intel-based model of this iMac (which may be announced later tonight at WWDC 2020) this year (in Q3 2020) and that would be the last “new” Mac to launch with an Intel processor. This new iMac refresh is also said to have slim bezels. Whether or not Apple will discontinue the Intel-based iMac after launching the ARM version is something only time will tell.

If true, this will be similar to how Apple did things with its last processor switch. To recall, Apple had announced its plans to switch to Intel processors (from PowerPC) for its Mac computers at WWDC 2005 with actual devices shipping from next year. Also, the iMac and MacBook Pro were the first Apple Mac computers to launch with PowerBook G4 processor (back in 2006).

Apple is also said to be planning a new MacBook design with ARM chip in the middle of next year.

Kuo also notes that switching to ARM will boost Mac performance by up to 50% (even 100% in some cases) and that the whole transition will happen in 12-18 months.

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