In 2010, Apple surprised the tech world when it announced it built its own chip, then called the A4, to power its newly revealed iPad tablet. This year, the company might do it again, but this time to announce a shift to its homemade chips for Mac computers, too.
The move, which has been long rumored, would mean Apple would start dropping Intel's processors chips from being the brains of at least some of its computers. The partnership, which was publicly announced in 2005, has made possible devices .
Apple will make the move official later this month at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference, according to a Bloomberg report on Tuesday. , and will be held online due to the . However, the timing of the chip announcement could change, Bloomberg said, due to the outbreak's impact on Apple's production.
Apple declined to comment.
The move to use its own chips to power its Mac computers would give Apple an opportunity to custom-design chips that fit its penchant for ever smaller, thinner and longer-lasting devices. In past years, while working with Intel, the company designed new fans to keep its laptops cool, new laptop cases machined out of a single piece of aluminum and new keyboards to allow for a lower-profile screen and hinge.
Now Apple will be able to use its well-regarded iPhone and iPad chips, which industry watchers have speculated will run cooler and offer better battery life.
The company's latest chip, the A13 Bionic, powers the iPhone 11 and . Apple's chips are based on technology designed by Arm Holdings, of Japanese conglomerate Softbank. Arm's designs are also used as the basis for chips made by Samsung, Qualcomm and Nvidia.
Rumors of Apple's shift away from Intel have floated around the industry for years. In April 2018, it was reported that Apple was in the early stages of creating its own processors for its MacBook and iMac. Should the shift happen, the Mac computer line would have a processor strategy similar to that for the iPhone and iPad,
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Apple's testing of Macs with Arm-based chips has shown improvements in graphics performance and apps using artificial intelligence over previous devices powered by Intel chips, according to Bloomberg. The new chips could also lead to thinner and lighter Mac laptops in the future, Bloomberg said.
The computer maker is reportedly working on at least three of its own Mac processors. The first Mac featuring the new chip could be available in 2021, Bloomberg said.