Apple might be ditching Intel and designing its own processors for the Mac, possibly as early as 2020.
That’s according to Ian King and Mark Gurman, who outlined the potential change for Bloomberg:
The initiative, code named Kalamata, is still in the early developmental stages, but comes as part of a larger strategy to make all of Apple’s devices — including Macs, iPhones, and iPads — work more similarly and seamlessly together, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private information. The project, which executives have approved, will likely result in a multi-step transition.
It’s worth noting that noting is confirmed here, and even if this is true now Apple might yet change course. But this has been rumored for a while, and macOS is dropping support for 32-bit apps. That could be in preparation for a transition like this.
Apple switched from PowerPC processors to Intel back in 2005, and used visualization software to ease the transition. It’s possible Apple could use a similar approach, and ditching 32-bit apps before that transition could make things easier.
Apple has designed its own processors for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch for quite a while already. But as John Gruber outlines on Daring Fireball, that doesn’t mean they can design a desktop processor in two years:
But when you start thinking about the details, this transition would (will?) be very difficult. First, while Apple’s existing A-series chips are better for energy-efficient mobile device use (iPhone, iPad, just-plain MacBook), Apple’s internal team has never made anything to compete with Intel at the high-performance end (MacBook Pros, and especially iMacs and Mac Pros). I’m not saying they can’t. I’m just saying they haven’t shown us anything yet.
Another thought: installing Windows on your Mac using Bootcamp would be impossible after this switch, which is going to disappoint anyone who occasionally needs Windows. That’s probably not as big a deal now as it was in 2005, though: pretty much everything runs in a browser now anyway.