Apple ditches Intel for ARM processors

1 min read

Apple has announced that it is 'ditching' Intel’s x86 desktop chips for its own processors based on ARM designs.

The company's CEO, Tim Cook, speaking at Apple's World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC), which is being held virtually for the first time due to the Covid-19 pandemic in the US, announced that the first silicon-based Mac would ship by the end of 2020.

Cook said that the transition is expected to take two years and while Intel-powered Macs would still be introduced in that time, all Intel-based Macs would be receiving software updates for “years to come."

According to Apple’ the shift to its own ARM-based chips will give it even greater control over the its hardware and software, much like with the iPhone and iPad. Apple is promising users a very powerful machine that will be drastically more efficient, with longer battery life, the same instant-on features as a phone and the potential for built-in mobile broadband.

Apple said switching to its own chips would not only open up performance but also new, innovative technologies such as the AI neural engine, high-performance graphics and best-in-class security.

Apple Silicon is called ‘A12Z Bionic’. In performance it is said to be close to Apple’s 2018-vintage A12X. Both Z and X have 8GPU cores clocked at 2.48GHz.

Apple said it had already ported all its apps to the new ARM-based chips, including its heavy, professional apps such as the video-editing suite Final Cut Pro.

“Apple has made enormous investments in Arm chip design and it’s logical that it extends that capability beyond the iPhone and iPad,” said Geoff Blaber of analysts CCS Insight. “Its motivations for doing so include reducing its dependence on Intel, maximising its silicon investment, boosting performance, and giving itself more flexibility and agility when it comes to future products.”