The recent Apple event in New York City had a lot of time and we are still working through all the new products the company showed. But as the dust cleans, it's a lasting impression that I feel incredibly sure.
There is a sea change.
John Gruber referred to this on Daring Fireball about the new MacBook Air:
Look at the iPad's A12X over the iPhone A12 and you can see how much attention Apple pays for iPad system architecture . There's no reason that they do not pay much or more attention to Mac's custom silicon when they switch from Intel to their own chip designer. It should be simply brilliant.
This line in the middle, delivered in an actual way, has stuck with me. Not "if they change." "When."
Like many other Apple watchers, I consider this transition a prior conclusion. I've already put an effort into the fact that Apple will send a Mac with custom silicon by 2020 at the very latest and I'm up to it.
The question is: Which Mac goes first? In my mind, there are two major challengers in this room.
The addition of MacBook Air threw Apple's portable line into even more disarray. We now have 1
It's particularly hard to see how the MacBook fits into this setup. It's $ 100 more than MacBook Air, and does not pack just as well for the money. (Given if you're looking for thin and light, you still manage to blow the air on both fronts.) Certainly, the MacBook is due to a refresh, though … and what if it's updated to the headline A transition to an Apple design chip?
MacBook appears to be well positioned to be the first to take the opportunity. Like iPad Pro, it does not use a fan, which means that high performance without generating too much heat is a key factor. Currently, the MacBook uses one of Intel's lower power devices to accomplish it, but if Apple has demonstrated something, it's the ability to collect a lot of power out of a piece of paper with modest power.
Such an update can also place the MacBook more sensibly in the Apple laptop series. It is possible to switch to one of Apple's own processors can help reduce costs, both from an integration perspective as well as with regard to supply. (Remember, Apple is already making millions of these chips every year for iPads and iPhones.)
Everything in it seems that MacBook would be an ideal candidate for Apple's first priority to create its own chips for Mac. But that's not the only option; And, strangely, it is the second possible option at the opposite end of the scale.
Mac Pros Without Disadvantages
We know little about Apple's upcoming resurgence of Mac Pro (where it's going to join two other Macs, Mini and Air, who recently believed death) other than it's because of a time next year. But what if the upcoming Mac Pro contains a surprise in the form of an Apple-made processor?
This idea is not mine-I have my friend, developer and sporadic podcast co-host James Thomson to credit / owe it. But the more I began to think about Jacob's theory, the more bizarre sense it started to do, especially from a strategic perspective.
If you are going to carry out a major architectural change over the next couple of years, you want your brand New, state-of-the-art pro-desk – which customers will probably not replace for years to be linked to the old technology? Or would you rather have it as an indicator of where the platform is going?
It will also help make sense of Apple's pro-desktop market, which is almost as crowded and intricate as its portable laptops: In addition to the powerful iMac 5K, the company has already launched iMac Pro with an eye on pro users. Add the mix option to configure a Mac mini with a fairly solid 6-core Core i7 processor, as well as generous RAM and storage assistants, and you have another machine that is viable for many tasks on a level.
So where in This mix fits Mac Pro? Well, it can represent a whole new way Apple is doing things and is not that what you want from one of your flagship machines? Especially one aimed at a segment of the market that tend to be envelope pushers.
I admit that there may be a less likely scenario than the MacBook, especially from a point of view of performance. While the recent references of the new iPad Pro-A12X chip have put it near Apple's Macs for specific tasks, it's a matter of delivering the kind of performance people expect from a machine that is all about all about performance. Then again, maybe Apple also has a surprise on the sleeve there.
Chipping away on the Old Guard
At this point, Apple does not see switching the Mac line to its own processors as a staggering opportunity. The benefits are just too overwhelming, from performance and power consumption, to integration, to supply chain, and even to unite device architectures. I would say it's more likely that Apple would get rid of the Mac line completely, rather than switching it to its own processors – and to be clear, I do not think it's very likely.
Think about it this way: Mac is now only Apple product line that does not use the company's CPUs. What is the purpose of keeping things that way? What benefits does Apple get from current setup than it is status quo? And when has Apple ever been satisfied with status quo?
By 2020, Apple will have ten years of sending its own processors under the belt. And it is well prepared to review these transitions; It has already been done twice before and each time has become a bit smoother. The fuse is lit: the only remaining question is which first Mac should blow?