Apple Silicon could make its debut in a new 12-inch MacBook this year

12-inch MacBook 2017
(Image credit: Future)

We know that Macs are making the switch to Apple Silicon from Intel processors, but it's going to be a lengthy process – and we're not sure exactly when it will start. A new report from the supply chain suggests the new tech could make a debut later in 2020.

Apple will also use the opportunity to bring back the 12-inch MacBook model that disappeared from its laptop range last year, according to The China Times (via MacRumors).

Inside sources suggest a new Bionic A14X processor could be running the show, codenamed Tonga and manufactured by TSMC in Taiwan. It would supposedly be able to give the new 12-inch MacBook a battery life of 15-20 hours between charges.

The same A14X processor is being touted for the 2020 version of the iPad Pro as well, so it sounds as though Apple could have quite a bit of hardware to show off before the year is out – a new tablet and a new laptop running the same chip.

ARMed and ready

The same report from The China Times mentions a new iMac coming next year, also running on Apple Silicon and with a custom Apple-made GPU inside it too. The graphics chip apparently has the codename Lifuka.

By switching to its own ARM-based chips, Apple is hoping to reduce power consumption and improve battery life without too much of a performance hit. The more efficient processors should also lead to lighter, thinner laptops.

In other words, iPads and MacBooks are about to get more similar than ever before. The change will require some work from app developers on the Mac though, which is why it could take a year or two to happen fully.

The news fits in with previous rumors that we've heard: new Apple Silicon laptops before the end of 2020, but not yet in the largest 16-inch MacBook Pro, which would presumably require a little more in terms of performance and power.

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.