Apple is set to launch its first Mac laptops powered by its in-house silicon today. The Cupertino, California-based company will host its third virtual month in three months to introduce the new devices. In September, Apple launched the iPad Air 4, iPad 8, Apple Watch Series 6 and SE. Last month, we saw the launch of four new iPhone 12 models alongside MagSafe accessories and the HomePod Mini.
Today, at a virtual event, Apple will bring its A-series chipsets to Mac. The event is being dubbed as “One More Thing” and shows Apple’s ability to navigate the challenges caused by the pandemic. At WWDC 2020 in June, Apple shared its plans to move away from Intel for the first time. The event offered a roadmap for how Apple plans to make this transition possible. However, there is more than meets the eye in this big transition. One thing is certain, Apple wants to lighten your wallet even during these unprecedented times.
How to watch Apple’s One More Thing event
The event is scheduled for 10am PT and will be streamed live from Apple Park campus. In India, the event will start at 11.30pm, which is an hour later than usual due to daylight saving time. Apple is streaming the event live on its website and on YouTube.
MacBook powered by custom Apple silicon
It is certain that Apple will introduce its first computers powered by its own custom silicon. At WWDC, Apple promised to launch its first Mac powered by Apple silicon by the end of the year. “Apple plans to ship the first Mac with Apple silicon by the end of the year,” it said in a statement. It also revealed plans to complete the transition in two years.
However, a report by Bloomberg claims that Apple is planning to launch two Apple silicon-powered Macs today. The report claims that the company is planning to launch a 13-inch MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro at the event. The report also noted that Apple suppliers are ramping up production of the 16-inch MacBook Pro as well.
There is a possibility that Apple will start shipping at least one model immediately and use a staggered launch for other models powered by its own custom silicon. These laptops will be powered by a custom silicon based on Apple A14 chipset found on iPad Air 4 and iPhone 12 lineup. It is not clear whether these processors will have more cores to deliver peak multi-core performance.
Apple offered developers a transition kit with a Mac mini powered by an octa-core A12Z processor at WWDC. A leaked benchmark has already proven that Apple’s custom silicon will beat Intel’s mobile processor in benchmark. However, the benchmark performance alone won’t be enough for Apple to justify this transition.
The aforementioned Bloomberg report also mentioned that the 13-inch MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro with Apple silicon will bear the same external design as existing models. The first few Mac powered by Apple’s custom silicon will serve as a testament to the transition. Based on that learning, Apple might introduce even better models.
The company has also said that it will continue to support Intel-powered Macs for “years to come”. There is a good chance that most consumers will get Intel-powered models initially to ensure app compatibility and support. For consumers, the workflow will also matter since most users would be invested in the x86 ecosystem of applications.
The precedent is definitely in favour of Apple. The company has pulled off similar transitions in the past as well. Apple moved from original Motorola chips PowerPC chips in the mid-1990s. In 2005, late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs announced the transition from PowerPC chips to Intel. This transition allowed Apple to catch up with Windows-powered laptops that offered huge performance incentive at that time. Apple also moved from the original Mac OS to Unix-based OS X in the early 2000s. However, this transition could be the biggest one for the company yet.
MacOS Big Sur gets a release date
Apple has released new versions of iOS and iPadOS so far this year. At the event today, Apple could officially announce the release date of MacOS Big Sur. With Big Sur, Apple is bringing a big visual overhaul for Mac including a design that resonates with iPadOS. Apple initially kept saying that iPad is a computer. Now, it is transforming its main computing platform with mobile appearance.
Big Sur brings a new control center that mimics the experience seen on iOS. There are also new system default sounds, including the return of Mac’s famous chime. Other changes include a customizable start screen for Safari. Messages now works similar to the way it does on iOS with ability to pin conversations. MacOS Big Sur is designed with Apple silicon in mind and today, we might see Apple shed more light on those plans.
One More Thing: AirTags and AirPods Studio?
If the last two virtual events are any indicator, Apple might only announce the new MacBook models powered by its own silicon today. The company would like to avoid the limelight being shared by any other device. However, Apple might change those plans and there are rumours of multiple new products.
One of the most widely rumoured products is AirTags, Apple’s take on Tile trackers featuring a circular design and ability to track things. Apple might also unveil AirPods Studio, a new over-ear headphones that will challenge the likes of Bose and Sony. Bloomberg reported that these headphones are already in production. It is said to feature swappable ear pads and headband.
It will also support noise cancellation, built-in touch controls and integration with Siri. Will we see a new Apple TV with a faster processor and an updated remote? That remains unlikely but with Apple, there is a possibility that we might see more than Mac at this event.