The first Macs with Apple Silicon chips are here, and so far it seems like they’ve largely exceeded expectations in terms of performance and power efficiency. With a few notable exceptions, most software runs faster on the new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro with Apple M1 chips than on previous-gen models with Intel processors.

So what’s next? According to Bloomberg, Apple could launch “a series of new Mac processors” as soon as next year, with some expected to outperform Intel’s most powerful desktop processors.

Apple’s M1 chip for MacBook Air and 13 inch MacBook Pro laptops is just the beginning

The Bloomberg report is based on leaks, and it’s a little light on details, so it’s best to take things with a grain of salt. Even if the information is accurate, it’s a little vague and Apple’s plans could change in the coming months. But here are a few highlights from the report:

  • Apple could release new chips as soon as spring, 2021, with more processors coming in the fall.
  • Next-gen MacBook Pro laptops and iMac all-in-one desktops could be powered by chips with as many as 16 high-performance CPU cores and 4 efficiency cores (although Apple may also decided to go with a 8 or 12 performance cores for the 2021 models instead).
  • Apple is said to be developing chips with as many as 32 high-performance CPU cores for high-end desktop computers.
  • The company is also developing high-performance GPUs with 64 or 128 dedicated graphics cores. This may be an optional upgrade for high-priced, high-power systems.

By comparison, the Apple M1 processor that powers the current-gen MacBook Air and 13 inch Macbook Pro is an 8-core processor featuring 4 high-performance cores and 4 efficiency cores, and it still trounces Intel’s latest laptop chips in most benchmarks.

Apple has previously said it plans to transition its entire lineup to Apple Silicon by the end of 2022, but according to Bloomberg, the company may be a little ahead of schedule. The first of the new chips could debut in next-gen MacBook Pro and iMac models in the spring, while the even higher-performance chips will likely come to high-end desktops starting in late 2021. The report also mentions a new “half-sized Mac Pro” that could launch late in the year or in early 2022. It will likely feature one of Apple’s most powerful chips.

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20 replies on “Report: Apple is gunning for Intel in the desktop processor space”

  1. Apple is doing great. Really great. Decade ago, one of my cousins dealing with smartphone business I’ve said him old times leader “Noika” was soon to be disappeared, he just laughed. Noika was too self-confident in this tiny ice ground age.
    Ok I’m maybe not wiser than those million dollar waged white collars but can’t understand how they think and analyse ongoing situations?
    Last decade is just made me understand all “only hardware” businesses will fade away soon even largest. Apple has just shown a great achievement.
    Here in my country when I look at the adverts cellular carriers promote “New Iphones” everytime. So they made billion dollars profit to Aplpe and Samusng instead of deep thinking and investing money for operating systems and software base.
    Same like entertainment producers, instead of thinking about to build up “new digital distribution channells collectively”, they push “Neftilx” to invade the entire business. At the end Neftilx becomes world’s “Greatest Producer”.
    There were some recent rumors about Apple was researching/investing on “Satellite cellular communication” with “Apple Satellites”.
    Maybe soon we’ll farewell to “cellular netwoks” bills.

  2. It feels like after years of Intel dominance and then incompetence that the sharks of Nvidia, Arm, AMD and circling.

  3. I’d be interested in seeing Apple finally take gaming seriously and put that rumored GPU to good use in a Apple “console” that sits in between the Apple TV and Mac Mini in price and directly challenges MS and Sony.
    No matter how well their newest handheld/tablet is selling, Nintendo is honestly no longer a major factor in the home console space, so having Apple step in to become the new member of the “Big 3” could be very interesting. Of course, this won’t ever happen, because Apple views gaming as a peasants’ past time.

  4. Perhaps I’m in the minority but I’ll stick with whats the fastest in the non “walled garden” space.

  5. TSMC can’t make enough AMD Ryzen, Navi, Xbox or PS5 processors and Apple wants more processors? Expect shortages. People have to buy Intel because they have supply.

    1. TSMC is bringing up a 5nm facility in Arizona that will be going online in the next few years that should help offset things. Meanwhile, Apple has always been a low volume desktop and laptop company and I do not expect a change anytime soon.

    2. Bear in mind also that most companies are wisely still on TSMC’s 7nm, which is two steps behind what Apple is on (A13 on 7nm+ and A14 and M1 on 5nm). 7nm has significantly more allocated equipment and far higher yields than 5nm does at this late stage. By the time people are moving to 5nm, that Arizona facility will likely be already online and Apple will have already moved on to 3nm.

      1. It took Intel 8 years to get Fab 42 production ready.
        TSMC hasn’t even broken ground yet. I would think it would take them 8 years to get their new state-of-the-art fab completed.

        Here is the press release when President Obama visited Fab 42 in 2012.
        Here’s the article that says that the Fab is fully operational.

        1. er… I guess you overlooked the part in the second article where the building was completed in 2013 but then sat for 4 years before Intel finally decided to start outfitting it for production.

          1. Something similar could happen to TSMC’s factory. Not saying it will, but with the pandemic it could delay the start of operation by a few years.

          2. I doubt TSMC will experience the same delays. TSMC specializes in just fabrication and they have proven time and again they can iterate competently without delay. Besides, working in a clean room requires attire more antiviral than a mask: a whole bunny suit! The only thing the pandemic has done is increase revenue flow for TSMC which has made things even more in their favor.

  6. I doubt anything Apple makes will be technologically superior to anyone, but that would be great. Competition drives innovation.

    1. Why would anything Apple makes not be technologically superior to anyone?
      Their CPU cores are more powerful than the competition in the phone space, the watch space, and the AI space.
      Their screens are superior to the competition in phones, and video editing spaces.
      Their Macs use 100% recycled metal, again beating the competition, and their supply chain is totally carbon neutral, and soon to be carbon negative, again beating the competition.
      I am not trying to be flippant, I am genuinely curious.

      1. “Their CPU cores are more powerful than the competition in the phone space, the watch space, and the AI space.”

        AMD’s Zen 3 is actually still faster and on TSMC’s older 7nm process, no less. Apple is getting a large chuck of their CPU performance because of TSMC’s process efficiency. They are two steps ahead of AMD, having already used 7nm+ and now 5nm. Apple may be saving money by making their own chips. But at the same time, they are having to pay big bucks to get first dibs on the latest manufacturing process since their funding is what brings TSMC fabs online. I would like to be the fly on the wall and see just how much Apple signs for to get that exclusive access because they have to outbid everyone else to do it.

          1. Anything can be used in the “AI space”. AFAIK they usually use graphics cards when it’s not silicon analogues of neurons that (it sounds like) a bunch of laptop chips have on board now (it sounds like). When it comes to applications of “””AI””” on consumer devices, I really don’t know of any aside from guessing at what was an aberration in recorded video, photos, and audio to make those look more like what you wanted them look like.
            Fair point about the other stuff though. If apple actually offered their chips for use in non-apple laptops, phones, and as socketable CPUs, running on standard firmware, so I could run whatever OS I wanted, I’d be forced to consider them quite strongly. But they never do that.

      2. Lol, this post sounds like an Apple press release. But where did all these random facts come from? I am not trying to be flippant, I am genuinely curious.

        But I feel like it’s all comparing apples to oranges. Apple made a “new” SOC and made the memory layout and access way better. Then they optimized the software for it. Now everyone is saying “look this M1 is working better than this generic intel with old code.” Then you can’t do anything worthwhile on their locked down phones , except take pictures. Makes all that screen and CPU seem like a waste.

        And I totes believe LG and Samsung made iPhone screens and then put worse screens in their phones…cause Apple said so… probably with some 2X, 100x, 500x figure bar graph.

        1. It’s important to keep in mind that many articles gushing over the M1 have been comparing it to the previous macbook pros, which were seriously throttled by improper cooling design.
          Perhaps purposefully.

      3. Aiming to be carbon neutral by 2030 isn’t the same thing as being carbon neutral now.
        Unless, of course, it’s not 2020 and we’re actually living in the year 2030, but don’t know it yet because 2020 is keeping our minds hostage!

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