The possibility that Apple introduces a Mac equipped with Arm architecture processor development on its own acquires ever greater consistency. Multiple rumors suggest that commercialization will take place over the next year and reviving the hypothesis is today Mark Gurman, reliable source and always well informed on the events of the house of Cupertino.
From the detailed report published on Bloomberg it emerges more clearly that the first Mac with ARM processor will only be the tip of the iceberg of a more complex project: code name Kalamata, aim to produce one varied range of chips intended for Macs for ease dependence on Intel and consolidate the Apple ecosystem.
Apple is working on three processors for Macs based on chip A14 of the next iPhones and iPads. To take care of the realization will be TSMC resorting to the production process a 5 nanometers. The starting point will consist of a chip with 12 cores: eight designed to obtain maximum performance (codenamed Firestorm) and four to contain consumption (codenamed Icestore). However, models with more than 12 cores are already being studied.
In 2021 there will be at least one Mac model with Arm processor but it will take some time to cut bridges with Intel sharply: the first chips for Mac designed by Apple, in fact, they will not be able to cope with the desktop counterparts developed by the Santa Clara house, which is why the debut will take place first on the lower-end MacBooks and only later on the high-end models of the MacBook Pro lines and iMac.
The source also traces the development of chip for managing specific Mac functions – for example those dedicated to security or energy saving – which can interact with Intel CPUs. Its use can be envisaged during the transition towards the complete abandonment of the historic Apple partner. When this circumstance occurs it is still premature to establish it: on the one hand there are the limits in terms of performance already mentioned, on the other there is an equally detailed work on the software.
Gurman confirms that Apple is developing specials tools to help developers make applications made for Macs equipped with Intel CPUs compatible with future Arm chip models. Tools that add to the Catalyst technology that allows you to develop apps for iPad that can also work on Macs. For the avoidance of misunderstandings, the operating system of the Macs with Arm chips will always be MacOS. Throughout this complex path there is always the unknown linked to the pandemic that could slow down the roadmap.
However, it seems certain that having a ecosystem perfectly coherent from the hardware and software point of view is a goal that Apple has long wanted to pursue. According to the source, the Kalamata project started in 2018 with a variant of the iPad Pro A12X chip readapted to work on Macs. The results of the internal tests had led Apple to consider a debut possible this year, but the timing has been shifted by about one year.