Bloomberg: Apple to announce switch from Intel to ARM for Mac this month

Apple is announcing at its WWDC 2020 conference, which the company will hold virtually in the week of June 22, that it will be using its own ARM-based chips for Mac systems. That’s what Bloomberg claims.

Apple would like to equip the first Mac systems with its own processors instead of Intel chips next year, but will announce that during its online WWDC event later this month. This gives developers time to prepare for the transition.

The rumor comes from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, a journalist who has proven to have good resources within Apple. The site does take a hit; the sources say plans may change as the transition to ARM is still relatively far in the future.

Apple’s project to migrate the Mac from Intel to ARM would be called Kalamata. Apple already develops its own socs for iPhones and iPads. The designs for the Mac would be based on ‘the same technology’. Unlike iOS, macOS doesn’t run on ARM systems, and developers will likely need to tweak their software to make it work for future Macs.

Incidentally, when Apple switched from IBM’s PowerPC to the x86 architecture of Intel processors in 2006, the company temporarily enabled older programs to run using the Rosetta emulator. That came at the expense of performance compared to software written natively for x86.

Apple would eventually like to transfer its entire Mac line to ARM. In testing, the proprietary chips developed would already show significant performance gains, especially in graphics and computations for artificial intelligence. The processors would also function more economically than Intel chips. The first Apple processors for the Mac would have eight powerful and four energy-efficient cores, and Apple would have the chip made at 5nm, according to earlier rumors.

The reason for the switch would be Intel’s moderate performance gains over the past processor generations. Sticking to Intel’s roadmap could delay the release of future Macs, Apple engineers feared, according to Bloomberg. These concerns may be traced to the problems Intel had around 2017 and 2018 with its 10nm chip process.