Apple will discuss the A12X CPU and GPU of the iPad Pro 2018 on stage on October 30, 2018.
A new Bloomberg report cites sources close to Apple that Apple is on the right track to launch Macs with Apple-made CPUs and GPUs in 2021. The chips that the company develops are code-named Kalamata.
While there have been reliable reports that Apple is doing this, today's article goes into much more detail than before about Apple's strategy and basic chip architecture. According to sources, Apple is working on three different systems on one chip for Macs. All will be based on the A14 chip that the company has developed for the next flagship iPhones.
The first wave of Mac chips will contain eight high-performance cores and four energy-efficient ones – codenamed Firestorm and Icestorm, respectively. Apple appears to be considering introducing chips with more cores in later products.
The fact that Apple is developing multiple Mac chips may indicate that Apple may not only be thinking of a single new Mac laptop made from internal silicon, but a whole series. This does not determine whether these will complement the current Intel-based product range or whether Apple will begin to replace Macs in its current product range with computers that were built with these chips in mind.
The report says that one of Apple's chips will be "much faster" than the ones used in the iPhone or iPad, though they won't be enough to replace the fastest Intel chips in the MacBook Pro or Mac Pro. However, like these iPhone and iPad chips, these Mac chips would be made in 5-nanometer manufacturing technology and manufactured by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing.
Apple plans to introduce new processors after the 2021 iPhones, which are also based on the chips on these phones, and Bloomberg notes that this likely means that Apple plans to develop silicon for the iPhone, iPad, and Mac that is progressively progressing. This is not surprising when you consider how Apple did it in the past.
All of this suggests that we will most likely be using Apple chip-controlled versions of the MacBook Air or Mac mini before Apple's performance workstations make the switch.
Apple currently uses Intel CPUs in all of its Macs, which has been the case since 2006. This move was a blessing for the platform, in part because it made it easier for developers to create software that could be easily ported to the Mac from the dominant Windows operating system, and vice versa.
But that was it. The landscape is very different now. Today, Apple's own iOS / iPadOS operating system is a giant of a platform with a far more robust software ecosystem than what users enjoy on the Mac. Last year, Apple launched a new initiative called Catalyst, which was about providing tools that developers could use to easily port iPad apps to macOS.
Moving Macs to chips closely related to those of iPads and iPhones would further promote this goal. However, Apple's leadership has publicly stated that the company does not intend to merge macOS and iOS / iPadOS. They would remain different operating systems, and this Bloomberg report confirms this.
There are other reasons for Apple to switch from Intel. Some updates to Apple's Mac product line have often been associated with bottlenecks waiting for updates or overcoming obstacles in the Intel roadmap that have not always been Apple's priorities and have historically been disruptive.
A central component of Apple's philosophy in the development and marketing of products is the integrated integration of hardware, software and services. This would give Apple more control over the entire Mac experience. It could also allow Apple to develop a new strategy to replace the development of specialized chips that add security features and the like, in addition to what Intel's chips already offer (such as the T2 chip), and take a more unified approach seen the iPhone.