Kuo: Apple to Launch Several Macs With Arm-Based Processors in 2021, USB4 Support Coming to Macs in 2022

Apple plans to launch several Mac notebooks and desktop computers with its own custom designed Arm-based processors in 2021, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a research note obtained by MacRumors.

Kuo believes that Arm-based processors will significantly enhance the competitive advantage of the Mac lineup, allow Apple to refresh its Mac models without relying on Intel's processor roadmap, reduce processor costs by 40 to 60 percent, and provide Macs with more hardware differentiation from Windows PCs.


Earlier this month, Kuo said Apple's first Mac notebooks with Arm-based processors will launch in the fourth quarter of 2020 or the first quarter of 2021.

Kuo expects ASMedia Technology to become the exclusive supplier of USB controllers for Arm-based Macs, adding that the Taiwanese integrated circuit designer will benefit from Macs gaining support for USB4 in 2022.

USB4 converges the Thunderbolt and USB protocols as part of Intel's goal to make Thunderbolt available on a royalty-free basis, which should result in wider and cheaper availability of Thunderbolt accessories like docks and eGPUs.

As USB4 is based on Thunderbolt 3, it offers data transfer speeds up to 40 Gbps, which is twice as fast as the bandwidth of the latest USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 specification. USB4's underlying Thunderbolt 3 protocol also means the specification supports up to two 4K displays or one 5K display over a single cable.

The simplest way to view USB4 is as Thunderbolt 3, but royalty free for manufacturers. Intel will continue to offer Thunderbolt 3 on a standalone basis with a few advantages over USB4, including more support with reference designs and technical issues for manufacturers.

The new USB4 specification was published in September 2019, giving Apple plenty of time to implement it in time for 2022 Macs.
This article, "Kuo: Apple to Launch Several Macs With Arm-Based Processors in 2021, USB4 Support Coming to Macs in 2022" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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ARM Processors with Mac Pro Level Performance Possible Today

Former Apple executive and Be, Inc founder Jean-Louis Gassée explores the possibility of Apple's move to ARM-based Macs in the near future.


The speculation comes amidst of increasing rumors that Apple will be launching ARM-based Macs as early as 2021.

Gassée explains he was previously skeptical about the ability for ARM-based processors to achieve performance parity with current Intel offerings, but now says he was "wrong". Gassée points to a startup called Ampere Computing that offers high-power ARM-based processors that compete head-to-head with high end Intel chips:
Ampere top of the line chips consume less power, about 210 watts, than a competing Xeon CPU needing as much as 400 wats, for about the same amount of computing power — hence investors' interest in a device that could progressively supplant Intel products in tens of millions of servers around the world. Ampere shows us that the ARM architecture can yield the class of chips a Mac Pro would need.
Apple, of course, designs their own custom ARM processors, but it seems at least one other company is pushing the limits of performance with the ARM architecture. Apple's custom processors have quickly ramped up in performance that is comparable to their recent Mac laptops powered by Intel processors.

Serious rumors about Apple replacing Intel chips with ARM chips in their Macs started in 2018 with a detailed report from Bloomberg. The most recent rumor has placed the transition at stating in early 2021.

Related Roundup: Mac Pro
Tags: ARM, Arm Macs
Buyer's Guide: Mac Pro (Buy Now)

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Mac With Apple-Designed Arm Processor Coming in First Half of 2021

Apple's first Mac with a processor designed in house is set to be released during the first half of 2021, Apple analyst Ming Chi Kuo said in a note to investors this morning that was obtained by MacRumors.


There are no other details provided about the new Mac that's in the works, but the detail confirms multiple past rumors that have suggested Apple is working on custom Arm-based processors designed in-house that would allow it to transition away from Intel. Over the years, Apple's product releases have been stymied by Intel chip delays, and with its own chips, Apple will not be tied to Intel chip release cycles.

Earlier information indicated Apple could begin using Arm-based chips as soon as 2020, but Kuo's note indicates a new Mac with an Apple-designed chip won't be released this year.

Apple is said to be moving to Arm-based chips in an effort to make Macs, iPhones, and iPads work together and run the same apps. Apple's iPhones and iPads already use Arm-based chip technology, and there are custom Apple-created T2 chips in the iMac Pro and recent MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Mac mini, and Mac Pro models.

Kuo's detail about an upcoming Mac with an Apple-designed chip is a tidbit mentioned briefly in a note that suggests 5-nanometer chip architecture will be the "core technology" in Apple's new products in the next 12 to 18 months.
We expect that Apple's new products in 12-18 months will adopt processors made by 5nm process, including the new 2H20 5G iPhone, new 2H20 iPad equipped with mini LED, and new 1H21 Mac equipped with the own-design processor. We think that iPhone 5G support, ‌iPad‌'s adoption of innovative mid-size panel technology, and Mac's first adoption of the own-design processor are all Apple's critical product and technology strategies. Given that the processor is the core component of new products, we believe that Apple had increased 5nm-related investments after the epidemic outbreak. Further, Apple occupying more resources of related suppliers will hinder competitors' developments.
The new Mac with Apple-designed chip, the 2020 ‌5G iPhone‌, and a high-end ‌iPad‌ with a mini LED display rumored for the second half of 2020 are said to use 5-nanometer chips. Chips built on a 5-nanometer node will be faster and more efficient than the A13 chips used in the most recent iPhones that are built on a 7-nanometer+ process.

Apple is said to have become "more aggressive" when it comes to research, development, and production for 5-nanometer chip technology, ramping up investments to reduce uncertainty caused by the ongoing coronavirus outbreak in China.


This article, "Mac With Apple-Designed Arm Processor Coming in First Half of 2021" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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