There is no doubt that the hardware and software destined for Apple’s first ARM-powered MacBook are impressive technical tricks, but Tim Cook and his team cannot sell the machine. Fortunately, this is one of Apple’s strengths. Let’s start at the top … what should the new Mac be called?
August 16 update: Famous Apple commentator Komiya KJ on Twitter Has gathered information from Intel about the release plan for Apple’s transition of the macOS platform to ARM.
“Apple Silicon Transfer …” 2020: MacBook, MacBook Pro 13 Inch. 2021: iMac (partially), MacBook Pro 16 inch (partially). 2022: iMac Pro, Mac Pro, iMac (rest), MacBook Pro 16-. Inch (left)
Two points of note from it. The first is that the MacBook Air is nowhere to be named. The second is that the name MacBook Pro will make the jump to ARM with the 13-inch model. I’m curious to see how Apple will differentiate the ‘MacBook’ and ‘MacBook Pro’, and how much power the ARM processor can push. Apple clearly thinks it deserves the ‘Pro’ suffix.
August 18 update: Details on Apple’s new A14X Bionic chip have been leaked. This processor is destined for the new iPad Pro, and is widely expected to power the first MacOS on ARM hardware. Saying that YouTuber is Luke Mian:
“A14X performance outstripped leaked / suspected A14 info + average performance gain from previous X chips. This puts the Geekbench 5 around 7480, roughly equivalent to an i9 9880H. This thing can be insane.”
How it will convert to real-world performance, and how much it matches the current MacBook Pro benchmark, remains to be seen. This is a promising sign that ARM hardware will match Intel hardware. The biggest question will be on software compatibility. Not very important if business critical applications cannot run on new laptops.
It is unlikely for Tim Cook that Apple will ever send something to retail outlets called ‘.Apple MacBook laptop (A14X version) is powered by MacOS on ARMOS‘(No, I’m not looking at you, Redmond …) But it is likely that the team will be thinking carefully about the name for the debut.
While geekerati is likely going to be excited by the name of the A14X chip, Apple’s first goal for the Mac platform, Apple’s real goal, is to make the transition from ARM to Intel possible. The technical details of the new laptop are going to be outlined in the background – the benefit of using ARM instead will be the focus. Concentrations will be focused on more power, better battery life, thinner design and a lighter laptop.
ARM is all about the benefits of the Mac platform. Apple would not like the general public to worry about any of the obvious headaches for those following Apple compatibility or story details.
But there should still be something that suggests that this is a new approach to the MacBook, something fresh and revolutionary that people should get along with.
For me that rules using ‘MacBook Air’. When it launched ‘Air’, it brought an ultraportable and lightweight laptop. Over time, the original meaning of the air has been lost – to the point that the Air now means ‘slightly fewer specs than the MacBook Pro’, as there is not much physical difference between the 13-inch Pro and the Air. Using the MacBook Air for the new ARM-powered MacBooks is going to remove any value from the suffix.
Perhaps it is best to refuse the ‘MacBook Pro’, at least for the first ARM machine. Although the initial benchmarks for Apple’s ARM-based developer Transition Kit are strong, no one is expecting the first ARM-powered MacBook to bump up the external performance of the MacBook Pro. It is likely to follow in the future, but the new laptop is trading in ‘small and portable’ and not ‘grunt and graphics’.
(Of course if Komiya’s schedule is on the nose, there will be a new MacBook Pro running the ARM processor. This … conspiracy me).
It is also worth remembering that the current Intel-powered MacBook Air and MacBook Pro machines are not going to disappear suddenly. They will remain on sale, they will remain in vogue for many years, and there needs to be a clear line between this generation and the next generation.
Apple has been here before, with a new concept in use launched with both the ‘Air’ and ‘Pro’ designations. Launched in March 2015, the 12-inch MacBook launched the Air and -Pro. It was kept small and light, had a fan-less design, and was pushed as a highly portable laptop for daytime work. sounds familiar?
The MacBook Air is very old and has lost its elite talent. The aura of the MacBook Pro is not a comfortable fit with what is currently expected from Apple.
How about ‘MacBook’?
Now read more about the impact of the Macbook powered by ARM on Google’s Chromebook project …