New MacBooks that ditch Intel for Apple’s own CPU could arrive late 2020

MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)
(Image credit: Future)

Apple will release MacBooks which are powered by its own custom-designed ARM processors and they might arrive before 2020 is out, according to a well-respected analyst.

Ming-Chi Kuo is often on the money – or at least near – when it comes to Apple products, and he believes that such MacBooks will be available in either the final quarter of 2020, or the first quarter of 2021.

The information came in a research note highlighted by MacRumors, but sadly Kuo didn’t impart any further details on which MacBooks might get this treatment. So we’ve no idea if he’s talking about the MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, or perhaps an entirely new model, with those existing flavors sticking with Intel chips.

Kuo previously said that ARM-powered Macs wouldn’t debut until the first half of 2021, so he appears to have revised that timeframe slightly (again) with the possibility of a late 2020 ARM MacBook launch.

Scissor switch

Kuo also recently asserted that Apple will push out refreshes of the MacBook Pro and Air which have the new scissor keyboards (rather than the butterfly switch) in Q2 of 2020.

And another recent prediction from Kuo is that the new MacBook Pro could have a scaled-up 14.1-inch flavor to go with the bigger 16-inch model introduced last year. Other rumors in the past have pointed to this happening, too, as it makes sense for Apple to up-size the smaller model of the Pro in a similar manner to its bigger brother.

Of course, speculation about Apple bringing in MacBooks with ARM CPUs has been floating around for a long, long time.

Apple’s problems with Intel chips have included supply issues that seemingly caused a drop in Mac sales, and taking back control of the supply chain in this respect would obviously avoid such scenarios. The amount of security flaws which have shown up in Intel silicon in recent times is likely a worry for Apple, too.

In short, there are good reasons for Apple taking back control of its chip destiny, and that might just finally happen before the end of 2020.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).