Apple’s WWDC will be one of the largest in years


Apple is expected to make major changes to the interior of its computers. Óscar Gutiérrez / CNET

People are often obsessed with Apple product designs: their smooth glass screens, aluminum and stainless steel edges and colorful designs. But one of Apple’s most attractive design changes may be indoors rather than outdoors.

Apple is expected to announce Monday that it will no longer use Intel chips as the processing brain for its Mac computers. Instead, it would switch to its own chips, using the same base as in its A-Series processors, which have powered iPhones and iPads since 2010.

The announcement is expected to be made in the context of an introductory speech. Launches Apple Global Developer Conference, or WWDC, which starts on Monday. The event is taking place entirely online in the middle of coronavirus pandemic, which has led governments around the world to order people to stay at home, cancel events and temporarily close businesses. Apple is also expected to announce new updates for its iOS software for the iPhone, MacOS software for Mac computers, iPadOS for its tablets and WatchOS for its Apple Watch.

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Why Apple Could Drop Intel In New Macs


But Intel’s transition to its own chips will draw most of the attention, given the seismic change in the direction of its computers and the implications for how they will evolve in the coming years. Mobile processors are said to be more energy efficient, offer permanent capabilities found in a smartphone, and work better with cellular capabilities, although questions remain about their ability to power a full-fledged computer and sophisticated programs. Later, the change could open the door to Apple’s merger between its iOS and MacOS platforms, as they would run on the same chip designs, although the company has often said that will not happen.

For many Apple observers, the abandonment of Intel was a foregone conclusion. Apple has touted the performance of its A-Series chip for years, claiming in 2019 that the A13 Bionic chip for the iPhone 11 was the most powerful chip ever seen on a phone.

“Our Apple-designed chips have been at the forefront of the industry for years,” said Kaiann Drance, then vice president of marketing for Apple.

Now Apple’s chips should start to power his laptops as well.

Long coming period

The decision, which has been rumored for years, comes a decade and a half after Apple forged a partnership with Intel to replace IBM chips to power its computers. In 2020, Apple is also a much larger company, at the center of an ecosystem of application developers that account for billions of dollars in sales and tens of thousands of jobs.

Many analysts agree that Apple that changes its chips has a strategic sense. Apple’s decision will give it greater ability to refine the technology that powers its devices, likely offering products with a more consistent experience. It will also help Apple to potentially include 5G wireless in his computers because the technological basis behind his A-series chips is so deeply linked to cellular capabilities.

But Apple’s change comes as the company comes under scrutiny, both from its developer community and from regulators around the world. Apple has strong control over its App Store for Mac and iPhone, which has kept its devices largely safe from hackers and night scammers creating fake apps. But he has also been involved in public debates with developers whose applications he rejects because they try to replace Apple’s own programs, operate in a way that the company does not allow, or try to gain the money without giving Apple a cut of the product.

These developers, including Spotify and the business productivity company Basecamp, have caught the eye of industry influencers and government regulators, who are wondering if the company is acting monopolistically.

“Because of Apple’s market power, it charges exorbitant rents – theft on the road, basically – intimidating people into paying 30% or denying access to their market,” said Representative David. Cicillin, a New York Democrat who chairs the House. The competition subcommittee told The Verge on Thursday. “This is a direct consequence of the enormous market power, that Apple is the gatekeeper. ”

the The European Union also opened two investigations into Apple, including one triggered by a Spotify complaint about high fees that the tech giant charges and another on Apple’s restrictions on developers to let them know about cheaper payment options outside of the app.

Apple A13 processor in the iPhone 11, 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max

Apple’s A13 processor in the iPhone 11, 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max.

Screenshot of Stephen Shankland / CNET

No matter what happens outside of Apple, it will take years for the company to transition away from Intel. And the company will have to convince its loyal fans that this decision is worth it.

“It’s a non-trivial task,” said Bob O’Donnell, a longtime technology industry analyst at Technalysis Research. He estimates that it will take about 18 months before Apple can say it has completed the transition, and probably longer for its high-end $ 5,000 desktop computers like the Mac Pro.

The company can let developers rent a computer from the company with Apple-designed chips, but it’s unlikely to sell these new computers publicly until next year.

“It will take them years to successfully transition,” said O’Donnell.


Apple MacBooks can benefit the most from the company’s new chips.

Óscar Gutiérrez / CNET

It’s worth it

In 2005, when Apple last changed its processing brain in its computers, the company and its development partners did a lot of coding work so that applications that spoke “binary” language for IBM chips can be translated into the code used for Intel chips.

For most industry observers at the time, this decision was obvious. Intel chips offer better battery life and faster performance than the IBM chips Apple used. In the end, Apple was able to leverage its work with Intel to build computers like the ultra-thin MacBook Air, which drove competing laptops to offer thinner, lighter, and more beautiful devices.


When Steve Jobs first introduced the MacBook Air, it was the thinnest laptop in the industry.


“This is awesome technology,” said Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, discussing the small size and fast performance of the first MacBook Air chips in 2008. At the time, Apple marketed the device as the world’s thinnest laptop, without compromise.

This time, the change will be more difficult.

Mobile chips are more energy efficient and will allow for even thinner designs. But unlike Intel processors, Apple’s iPhone and iPad chips are not yet powerful enough for desktop and laptop computers. And while tech giant Microsoft and others have built laptops that run on mobile chips, most PCs run on Intel.

Apple is also a very different company from what it was in 2005. At the time, there was no iPhone. Apple barely totaled $ 14 billion in annual sales, mostly from Mac computers. The iPod, which was to lead Apple’s rebirth, represented around 33% of the company’s sales at the time.

Fast forward to modern times, when Apple’s sales increased nearly 19 times more. Any move it makes now has a much wider impact on its much larger customer base and its vast ecosystem of developers who have created apps and accessories for its products.

“Apple needs to show what it contains to users and what it contains to developers,” said Patrick Moorhead, analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy and former chip manager at rival Intel Advanced Micro Devices.

Yet, he said, it’s likely that the tech industry’s dependence on web applications such as Slack messaging, Evernote online note taking, and G productivity online applications -Suite from Google will ease the transition as they are designed to work on just about any device.

The most significant benefits may be on the line. With MacOS and iOS running on the same processor platform, Apple has the option of possibly merging the two or at least touting the ability for developers to create an app to work more easily on multiple products.


CNET editors praised the $ 399 iPhone SE for its high-performance A13 Bionic chip.

Angela Lang / CNET

No more movements

While Apple’s public breakup with Intel could begin at WWDC on Monday, it’s not the only thing people will be looking for.

The biggest changes rumored to be for iPhones and iPads, for which Apple could allow more customization of the home screen, better multitasking, and better augmented reality technology. AR technology, which uses the camera and screen of a phone or tablet to overlay computer-generated images on the real world, would be a first step for Apple, possibly announcing AR-compatible glasses, presumably this year.

It is also rumored that the company is ready to launch new iMac desktops, with more powerful Intel chips, to convince users until it switches to its own chips next year.

The company may even announce that its previously canceled AirPower cargo mat may be ready for release, according to rumors.

The CNET world team will cover the Apple event, as well as other conferences that have traveled online. And our coverage will include real-time updates, comments, and insights you can’t get here.


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