Kuo: First ARM Macs will be 13.3-inch MacBook Pro and overhauled iMac

Apple’s first Mac models powered by in-house designed processors based on the same ARM CPU technology that’s utilized in the company’s mobile chips should be a new iMac all-in-one desktop featuring an all-new form factor and a 13.3-inch MacBook Pro notebook.

The prediction was made by reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo with TF Securities in a note to investors shared this morning and seen by MacRumors.

The new 13.3-inch MacBook Pro should not look too dissimilar from the current 13.3-inch model with Intel inside, but production of the Intel-based model should wind down as soon as its ARM replacement starts shipping. An ARM-based iMac is said to sport an all-new form factor design which includes a 24-inch display. Apple will first update the existing iMac range in the third quarter before releasing the new ARM-driven all-in-one desktop.

Both new Mac models are believed to outperform their Intel-based counterparts in terms of CPU performance by between 50 percent and 100 percent.

Kuo expects the ARM transition to complete by the end of 2021.

The analyst previously made claims suggesting that an unspecified MacBook notebook featuring an “all-new form factor design” and powered by an ARM-based chip would enter mass production in the second half of 2021.

Kuo’s predictions were corroborated by Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, who in a piece published in April  called for at least one ARM-ed Mac by 2021. Gurman’s sources mention three desktop chips from Apple, one based on the Apple A14 silicon for the upcoming iPhone 12 models. These chips should be fabbed on TSMC’s 5nm process technology, with one of them supposedly offering much faster performance than the current iPhone and iPad processors.

The first Mac processors will have eight high-performance cores, code-named Firestorm, Gurman has it, and at least four energy-efficient cores, known internally as Icestorm. He claims that Apple is exploring Mac chips rocking more than twelve processing cores.

“In some Macs, Apple’s designs will double or quadruple the number of cores that Intel provides,” reads the report. Apple’s current entry-level MacBook Air has two cores. As Apple’s most popular notebook, the MacBook Air in my view makes the prime candidate for the first ARM-based Mac computer.

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