The first few months of the year were rough for companies and organizations that regularly hold large events year in and year out. Most have canceled while others have put their events on hold, albeit indefinitely. Google did cancel its annual I/O developers conference but Apple is pushing ahead with an online version of its yearly WWDC. And it’s a good thing, too, because it’s now expected to make one of the biggest announcements in the company’s history since the late Steve Jobs announced it would be abandoning the PowerPC platform for Intel.
It won’t be an instantaneous shift, of course, though it could be nearly instant for different product segments. When Apple introduces its long-awaited ARM-based MacBook and Macs, it will still leave a window of opportunity before all Intel-based models are phased out. That window of opportunity might not be so big, though, as Ming-chi Kuo seems to suggest.
According to the analyst, WWDC 2020 on Monday will open with the official confirmation of the company’s shift to its own ARM-based processors to replace Intel in Macs. It will be the announcement that Intel dreads, even if it still remains the premier chip on PCs. That will all be the ARM-related announcement Apple might make next week but Kuo does share a few details of his own.
The first MacBook to sport an Apple ARM chip inside would be a 13.3-inch one sporting a familiar design. An ARM-based 24-inch iMac, on the other hand, will have an all-new form factor that Kuo isn’t able to describe just yet. He also says that once these new devices are launched, their Intel equivalents will be discontinued, though he expects the iMac to get one more refresh in the third quarter before the new ARM-based model launches.
This shift from Intel to ARM will be one of the most disruptive changes Apple will have made in decades, not only in terms of hardware but especially in terms of software. While ARM chips definitely have their benefits in terms of power-efficiency, it remains to be seen how well they’ll fare in performance with a desktop operating system like macOS. Hopefully, Apple can pull it off on the first try better than Microsoft did.