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.