Apple’s upcoming “One More Thing” event, announced this morning and scheduled for November 10th, will be a major break with tradition in more ways than one: it will be the first time the company unveils an Apple laptop featuring its own custom Arm-based CPUs. Apple plans to debut three new laptops next week, one 13-inch MacBook Air and two different-sized MacBook Pro models (13-inches and 16-inches) that ditch Intel processors, according to a new report from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman.
We had a strong inkling that this event — coming on the heels of an iPhone-specific one last month and one dedicated to the latest Apple Watch and iPads back in September — would be when Apple debuts its Arm-based Macs, which the company confirmed after years of swirling rumours back at WWDC this past summer. But it wasn’t clear, at least until Bloomberg’s report, what models might get the custom CPUs first. According to Gurman, a redesigned iMac, a new Mac mini, and a half-sized Mac Pro, all powered by Apple chip architecture, are also in the works.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said during the announcement of its own Arm-based Macs that the transition to fully supporting its lineup with the custom chipset would take about two years. That gives us a rough timeline of when we might see other computers outside the MacBook line get updated with Arm variants.
Apple has been testing how this might affect its software ecosystem by letting developers create and run software on a Mac powered by an iPad Pro processor. The core changes the Arm-based Macs will facilitate — most importantly, the ability to run iOS software designed for the iPhone and iPad on Mac computers — will also be enabled by the upcoming macOS Big Sur update, which will bring iOS, iPad, and macOS closer together than ever before. That OS update is likely to arrive or receive an official release date next week alongside the new MacBook devices.