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Apple Event: One more thing — Apple Silicon Macs Will Showcase Power

Apple Silicon Macs may be the talk of the computer industry very soon. Next week Apple’s new “One last thing” event seems destined to mark a key inflection point in the industry.

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Apple has announced yet again another special event for next Tuesday, 10 November 2020. The event is called “One more thing” which was a favorite phrase of Steve Jobs during his keynotes. Those words “one more thing” always meant Apple had one more big announcement up its sleeves at the end of an Apple keynote.

One More Thing

In the tradition of “one more thing,” Apple has usually saved up the best for last and we have already seen some remarkable new product upgrades this fall. So what could top what Apple has already given us?

The answer is Apple Silicon Macs!

Architosh expects Apple to showcase the computational power of the next-gen Apple Silicon Macs next week at the One more thing event. Performance demonstrations will naturally showcase the CPU and GPU advantages of Apple Silicon over Intel using a range of software, from graphics-intensive games to photography applications to professional 3D modeling and CAD programs.

Bloomberg is reporting some details on these new Macs as a set of laptops with the new 5-nm process ARM-based custom SoC chips inside them. The new Apple Silicon SoC chip inside these new Macs is based on the latest Apple A14 Bionic in the new iPhone 12. What we don’t know about the new Apple Silicon inside the upcoming new Macs is how much different will that chip be from the A-series chips Apple puts into its iOS devices like iPads and iPhones. Will the chip be much larger (hold more transistors) and contain other specialized computational units? These are the questions we have today and we can only speculate on the answers.

What we do know is that Apple has said these new chips will be customized for the macOS operating system and the thermal envelopes of the Macs running that system. As Architosh has mentioned before, (see: architosh INSIDER Xpresso, #20, Oct 2020) the thermal envelopes of Macs vary widely and are vastly larger than iPads and iPhones. This gives Apple room to put in much bigger ARM-based chips into the Macs. The larger thermal envelopes also provide Apple the opportunity to speed up the frequency these chips run at over what happens inside iOS devices.

What to Expect

We will just have to wait and see what the future holds for Apple Silicon SoCs inside next-gen Macs. It won’t be long now. What Bloomberg is reporting is these new ARM-based Macs will be new 13-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros and a new 13-inch MacBook Air.

The new Apple Silicon Macs will use the A14 as the basis for their chips (SoCs) not the chip itself as is. We expect the new Apple Silicon-based Macs to feature larger chips but how much larger is very unclear. The A14 Bionic is very fast as it is, but Apple will seek to differentiate the next-gen Macs from their iOS siblings.

The fastest chip in the latter unit above today is 1.2GHz 4-core i7 with Turbo Boost to 3.8Ghz. The A14 Bionic today—which the new Apple Silicon Macs SoCs are based on—is a 1.8Ghz 6-core A14 with turbo boost to 3.01GHz (on 1-6 cores). This appears to be a modest improvement on the i7 chip from Intel but, again, Apple is basing the new Apple Silicon on the A14 not inserting the exact chip into new Macs.

Bloomberg reports Apple is currently at work on a redesign for the iMac and a new Mac Pro model that looks like the current model but is smaller in size. These updates, plus an updated Mac mini will likely take place throughout 2021 and into 2022. Apple said previously the transition to Apple Silicon will be a two-year process and they will continue to offer Intel-based Macs during this transition period.

Showcasing Power

These new Apple Silicon Macs may feature far greater battery life than the Intel MacBook Pros and Air. But we believe Apple will showcase the computational power of the new Macs with its own Apple Silicon, especially for the MacBook Pro models.

MORE: Amy Bunzel of Autodesk talks to Architosh about AutoCAD, Mac and the new iPad Pro

We have already seen over the years just how fast Autodesk’s AutoCAD is on the iPad Pro. This isn’t to say we expect Apple and Autodesk to surprise us next week with an AutoCAD for Mac update that brings in support for Apple Silicon. It could happen but likely won’t. Instead, we expect other but similar technical software offerings coming over from the iOS software world to the macOS software world. And we expect to be quite impressed with the sheer power these new Apple Silicon Macs can bring to the market.

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