ARM-based Macs might be coming as early as next year

Apple has long been trying to be the architect of its own destiny by placing as much of its parts and their production in its own hands. The lesser it depends on sources outside of its control, the less it has to negotiate and compromise. It has already started doing that for iPhones and iPads and is expected to do the same for Macs, moving them Intel's processors to its own custom ARM CPUs. But if you thought that's still a long time coming, even Intel's own developers and officials think it might start as early as next year.

When the ones that will be most affected by the change start talking about the inevitable, you know something might be up. Granted, Intel won't exactly go bankrupt when Apple switches to the competing ARM architecture but losing a high-profile customer will hurt nonetheless. Especially when it will happen so close, as Axios' report claims.

Bloomberg gives a more detailed timeline for Apple's transition in the coming users. Moving to ARM-based Macs is actually just one step towards a bigger scheme. It isn't just about controlling its own ecosystem, it's also about bridging the iOS and macOS worlds. Or specifically, writing apps that will run on both.

Apple already got the ball rolling last year with what was called Project Marzipan and sources say that it will be rolling out a software development kit or SDK to help developers port their iPad apps to the Mac. By next year, that SDK will also cover iPhone apps as the first ARM-based Macs start to appear. And by 2021, developers will be able to just write and submit one "universal" app for iPhones, iPads, and Macs.

That this major change is coming is probably now more of a question of "when" than "if". But perhaps more importantly, it's also a question of how painless the transition will be. There might already be some naysayers, especially from the Mac camp, who fear this unified future. For developers, however, it means a period of uncertainty and a lot of work to align their apps with Apple's grand vision.