In his latest investor’s note, TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims that Apple will be launching multiple Macs with its custom Arm-based processor in 2021.
The analyst believes that Arm-based MacBooks will give Apple an advantage as it would not have to rely on Intel processors for refreshing its Mac lineup. It would also reduce the processor costs by 40 to 60 percent for the company and further help it in differentiating Macs with Windows-based PCs. Right now, Apple has to refresh its Mac lineup depending on Intel’s product roadmap as well. The latter has been struggling with its 10nm processors which would have likely had an impact on Apple’s MacBook product roadmap as well. In fact, the 2018 MacBook Pro overheating issues would have likely not existed in the first place if Intel had fabricated the CPUs on the 10nm node.
Apple is expected to launch the first Arm-based MacBook in late 2020 or early 2021. It will be interesting to see how the Arm-based MacBooks from Apple do in terms of performance. It is possible that Apple uses its custom Arm CPU inside the MacBook lineup first before expanding it to the MacBook Pro lineup. MacBooks have a thinner chassis design than the MacBook Pro and could benefit more from using an Arm-based processor. MacBook Pros are generally used by professional users and Apple’s custom Arm processor might not be able to keep up with their demanding workloads.
Kuo also believes that Apple will be adding USB4 to its Macs beginning 2022. The USB controllers will be exclusively supplied by ASMedia Technology. USB4 offers the same speed of up to 40Gb/s and benefits as Thunderbolt 3. Right now, OEMs have to pay Intel a royalty for using Thunderbolt 3 on their devices. However, the company has made Thunderbolt 3 royalty-free and made it a part of USB4. So, once OEMs adopt USB4 on their machines, they will no longer have to pay Intel any royalty. The specification was finalized last year giving Apple plenty of time to implement it in its Macs.