New MacBook Pro Leak Reveals Stunning Detail

New MacBook Pro Leak Reveals Stunning Detail

July 18 update below, post originally published July 16.

The news that Apple was moving from Intel to ARM was one of the expected highlights of 2020’s Worldwide Developer Conference. What wasn’t expected was the speed of the transition, with Tim Cook’s ambitions of the Mac range all running ARM within two years.

And the unexpected highlight? We could be seeing the first ARM powered MacBook Pro sooner than we thought.

Key Speakers At Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference

Philip “Phil” Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing for Apple Inc., displays the … [+] new MacBook Pro laptop computer while speaking at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Monday, June 11, 2012. Apple Inc. is releasing a fresh lineup of computers and software tools to woo consumers and keep developers making applications amid accelerating rivalry from Google Inc., Microsoft Corp. and, now, Facebook Inc. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg *** Local Caption *** Phil Schiller

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July 17 update: One of the issues in moving to ARM is third party applications. Tim Cook may have said that the transition will be complete in two years, but Apple’s own developer environment will help bridge the app gap. There’s a legion of iPhone developers that Apple could leverage to supercharge the app library on MacOS. Chaim Gartenberg looks at the potential:

“All of the apps that already run on iOS will work natively on the new Macs, meaning that there’ll be a huge amount of software ready to go on day one. Bessey also speculates that bridging the platforms together could see a burst of new Mac apps that are universal across iOS, iPad, and macOS. Where developers may not have had an incentive to create a native Mac app before, the new ARM-based architecture means that it’ll be far easier to expand iPhone and iPad apps to the desktop platform.”

It’s clear from the last few updates of MacOS that Apple is bringing the iOS and iPadOS flavour to the desk-bound machines, but there is still a functionality gap between phones, tablets, laptops, and desktops. That’s a gap that may be quickly bridged when the ARM devices go on sale and developers see their new market.

American multinational technology company Apple logo seen on...

SHANGHAI, CHINA – 2020/01/12: American multinational technology company Apple logo seen on a screen … [+] of a MacBook Pro in an Apple retail store in Shanghai. (Photo by Alex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

July 18 update: One thing that may help the transition in the long-term will be the recent increase in working from home (due to COVID-19). This led to a rush of new technology purchases, and that meant more MacBook sales than normally expected. Darren Allan reports:

“A lot of this increase in MacBook sales is driven by the folks who are now working at home due to the Covid-19 outbreak, an uptick which was originally thought to only have an impact for a limited time, but now the expectation is sales will be driven by this for a lot longer than anticipated.” 

What does this mean for MacOS on ARM, and the upcoming ARM-powered hardware? There are three things to consider here. The first is that these new Macs are going to have an average life (with their first owner) of around four years. Secondly, Tim Cook has stated that the transition to ARM will take two years. Finally, while the first ARM-powered MacBook Pro is going to arrive in short order, it’s going to be sitting on the bleeding edge. New chip architecture, a raft of issues with third-party applications, and the latest version of MacOS, are three of the big concerns. 

I’m pretty sure these will all be addressed in the two-year window, and the pandemic of creatives sporting new hardware won’t be expected to update to the new hardware for a year or two beyond that. Apple and its geekerati have time to get this right.

Apple Opens New Flagship Store In Beijing

BEIJING, CHINA – JULY 17: Chinese customers look at Macbook laptops at the official opening of the … [+] new Apple Store in the Sanlitun shopping area on July 17, 2020 in Beijing, China. The new store replaces Apple’s first ever China store which opened in 2008 prior to the Beijing Olympics adjacent to the new location. Chinas economy returned to growth in the second quarter of 2020, after historic declines in the first quarter due to the coronavirus pandemic. According to figures released by the government Thursday, the gross domestic product grew 3.2% in the quarter from a year ago, reversing a 6.8% contraction in the first part of the year as the country battled the outbreak. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

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 The latest news from the supply chain points to a manufacturing schedule that makes a holiday release a racing certainty for the first ARM-powered Mac. Jacob Siegel reports:

“Apple showed off a Mac running on its custom silicon during the live stream, but wasn’t quite ready to pull the curtain back on any specific products that would include the hardware. We don’t know which Mac will be the first to use Apple silicon, but a report from DigiTimes suggests at least two Apple silicon laptops will ship in 2020.

“The report claims that Taiwan’s supply chain will begin shipping parts and components for next-generation MacBook and iPad units in the third quarter of this year ahead of multiple new product launches”

Shipping parts in the third quarter of the year suggest that Apple will be building up stocks for a Q4 release to the public.

Given the prominence of MacOS on ARM at WWDC, it’s unlikely but not impossible that it would play second string to the iPhone 12 during the traditional September launch.

That leaves the almost regular late October slot. This has previously been the domain of the iPad family but the last few years have seen the tablets move into March. An October event would see the first ARM-powered MacBook Pro in the spotlight ahead of going on sale in time for Christmas.

Curiously, this could make the iPhone 12 the second string in October. Tim Cook and his team would not miss an opportunity to promote the sales and user satisfaction ratings for the new smartphone. And I can see a script that includes “if the iPhone was revolutionary… let me introduce to our new MacBook.”

Now read how Apple’s move to ARM will influence Windows 10 on ARM’s development…

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