After much speculation, Apple finally announced its third keynote event this fall: Mark your calendars for Tuesday, Nov. 10. Previous events focused on the Apple Watch, iPad, and iPhone, so this one is all about the Mac—or at least that’s what everyone’s betting on. And while we’re still short on concrete details, a recent surge of rumors and reports paints a pretty detailed picture of what might be on the docket. Here’s what we expect to see next week.
According to Bloomberg, Apple is ramping up production of three new Mac laptops that will all come equipped with Apple-designed processors: a 13-inch MacBook Air, a 13-inch MacBook Pro, and a 16-inch MacBook Pro. While we don’t expect Apple to take its current Intel-based MacBook off the shelves immediately, announcing three new Apple-designed ARM-based MacBooks would signal a strong start for Apple as the company embarks on its two-year transition to convert its entire computing lineup over to its in-house processors.
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Bloomberg says the CPUs in these new MacBook will be based on the A14 chip featured in recently launched iPhones and iPads, along with new Apple-designed GPUs and machine learning chips.
In at least a partial confirmation of Bloomberg’s report, noted leaker L0vetodream also posted a short tweet saying “13 inch X 2″ suggesting that the two new smaller MacBooks are probably a lock to be announced next Tuesday. Apple choosing to begin its transition to custom ARM-based chips with new 13-inch systems makes a lot of sense, because its 13-inch laptops are the company’s most popular computers, and starting off with more mainstream systems could give Apple and other third-party developers extra time to port more sophisticated apps like Photoshop or AutoCad over to ARM.
In addition to new systems, the other big part of Apple’s transition to ARM is software—many popular apps and programs will need to be tweaked or recompiled to run on ARM-based chips. So to address that, according to the The Verifier (via 9to5Mac) Apple is also planning to officially port TestFlight over to the Mac to help aid in testing new ARM-based Mac apps.
While it’s not clear if Apple will announce new ARM-based desktops next week, Bloomberg noted that the company is working on a redesigned iMac and a new desktop that looks like the current Mac Pro, but in a case that’s about half the size. To me, a smaller version of the Mac Pro is the most interesting development, because following the death of the previous Mac Pro (aka the Apple Trashcan), Apple’s desktop lineup has kind of been lacking a reasonably priced mid-tower PC that’s actually designed for home users. The current Mac Pro is so expensive it really only makes sense for large studios or companies.
And who knows? Apple might still have a few surprises in store (possibly AirTags?), so make to join us next Tuesday at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET as we live-blog the whole thing right here.
Senior reporter at Gizmodo, formerly Tom’s Guide and Laptop Mag. Was an archery instructor and a penguin trainer before that.
My money is on a revamped Macbook Air that is not only the slimmest to date, but has something like a 15+hr battery life. Kind of a 2 work day machine.
They’ll really need to hard sell people on the advantages of Arm over Intel, at least at the start of the transition cycle when there are less optimized software for Arm to shine in raw processing power. They’ll have to flex efficiency first.
However, I’d love to be proven wrong and have Apple unleash something crazy like a 28 core Arm chip for Macbook Pro, already optimized for things like Final Cut and Photoshop, and still gets like 10+hrs of battery life of serious use. Total pipe dream for the first era, but that’s the general direction they want to take it.
Apple, Macintosh, MacBook, Apple mobile application processors
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