We know Apple’s going to launch products powered by its custom silicon soon. How soon and which products, however, are currently up for debate. However, a report from the China Times hints that the first Apple Silicon computer might arrive later this year—and it’d be an extremely lightweight 12-inch MacBook that supposedly has 15-20 hours of battery life. Also on deck for late 2021 is an Apple Silicon iMac with a custom, Apple-developed GPU.
The China Times report says the 12-inch MacBook would be powered by the A14X processor, citing industry sources as saying the chip has been finalized and that mass production would begin before the end of the year using Taiwan-based supplier TSMC’s 5nm process. The 12-inch MacBook, supposedly nicknamed “Tonga” will have USB-C, weigh less than 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds), and get up to 15-20 hours on a single charge because of the “low-power consumption advantage” afforded by the A14X chip.
Per MacRumors, this is the second time we’ve heard rumors that Apple might be bringing back the 12-inch MacBook. The first came via Twitter from leaker @choco_bit in June. At the time, the leaker hinted that the A14X-powered 12-inch MacBook could have 8-12 cores, and possibly support 5G connectivity. That’s bolstered by a Bloomberg report from April, which noted the first Apple Silicon processors would have at least eight high-performance cores, and at least 4 energy-efficient cores.
As for the iMac, China Times says on top of being powered by another TSMC-produced 5nm process chip—as well as a custom Apple-made GPU codenamed “Lifuka.” Supposedly, the new Apple GPU will deliver better performance per watt and uses a different technique for rendering than what AMD, Nvidia, and Intel typically use. That all just means it should be more power-efficient and potentially more powerful than its competitors. This iMac will reportedly be available in the second half of 2021, which makes sense given that Apple just launched its last Intel-powered iMac.
As always with leaks and rumors, it’s important to take everything with a grain of salt. Apple prophet Ming-Chi Kuo, for example, has said the first ARM-based Apple computer would come later this year and be a 13.3-inch MacBook Pro. He also noted that an ARM-based MacBook Air might either launch at the same time or in early 2021. Kuo also says he believes Apple might come out with a 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pro sometime between the second and third quarters of next year. Who knows. It could be all of these. It could be some of these. It could be none of these because Apple’s decided to just fuck with all of us for fun by releasing an entire line of new MacBook sizes. (Though, probably not.) Right now, all we know for sure is that Apple will release an ARM-based computer in the coming months.