Apple confirms Mac transition to ARM CPUs

Apple’s plan to move its Mac family of computers from Intel’s Core-series CPUs to self-developed ARM processors has been an open secret for years, with each new macOS release — and subsequent small hints to developers — helping to ease the eventual transition. Today, Apple made the impending switch official, letting developers and customers know during its WWDC 2020 keynote that it will start the chip transition to Apple silicon.

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The company’s recent struggles with Intel chips were well documented, reportedly including the redesign of entire laptops, thermal performance controversies, and even postponing its first 5G iPhones due to chip development problems. Meanwhile, Apple’s internal chip teams forged ahead with industry-leading smartphone and tablet chips, setting the stage for ARM-powered laptops. Apple chip lead Johny Srouji notes that the X-suffix processors built for the iPad now deliver 1000 times the graphics performance of the original model, in just 10 years, while the Apple Watch has achieved best-in-class performance for its size, delivering 2 billion total system on chips since they began producing processors.

Performance alone is just one advantage Apple will achieve, including power management, a superior Secure Enclave, and higher performance GPU than before — plus Neural Engine improvements for AI. There will be a family of Mac-specific SoCs, using a common architecture across all of Apple’s product lines.

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