What is Holding the ARM Mac Release?

The event held on the 30th of October solidified the idea roaming the Internet since a few years: ARM Macs are coming, and they are coming soon. A-series chips have caught up to all but the best Intel mobile chips1, so why is there an Intel processor inside the new MacBook Air?

I have a theory: A-series chips are not powerful enough–but in an unapparent way.

In my previous article I have predicted that Apple would:

  1. Rename the current MacBook to MacBook Air.
  2. Discontinue the 13″ MacBook Pro without TouchBar.
  3. Introduce a new, cheaper, 13″ computer called MacBook.

This did not happen as predicted. What was announced is a new MacBook Air, which is a 13” version of the current MacBook. Other laptops in the MacBook line were untouched.

What I think will happen next year is:

  1. Apple will introduce a new 12” MacBook Air and “discontinue”2 the MacBook line.
  2. Apple will introduce a new 13” MacBook with Apple ARM chip3.

But herein lies the problem. Which chip would go in? If Apple took the A12X processor from the current iPad Pro and added a bit of RAM, this setup would breathe at the neck of the current 15” MacBook Pro with Touchbar4. This would have serious implications for the Pro line as the only differentiator would be the software they can use.

In order to offer compelling Pro hardware, Apple needs to make a beefier A-series chip. One that would give even the Intel desktop chips a run for their money.

  1. An A12X chip is neck-to-neck with a 6-core Intel Core i7-8850H; it only falls behind an i9 [return]
  2. In today’s Apple’s philosophy this means that it will continue to be sold, maybe with lower price. [return]
  3. I expect this name to be something unexpected, what about an “Apple Mac”? [return]
  4. If they added active cooling, I would bet that it could run circles around a 45watt 4-core Intel processor. [return]