If you’re waiting for a new era in Mac laptops, then Apple’s November event will bring it back.
Apple plans to hold its “One more thing” product event via a live stream on Tuesday (November 10), starting at 1pm EST / 10am PST. With Apple launching the Apple Watch 6 and iPad Air 4 in September and the iPhone 12 series in October, that leaves Apple’s Mac line undergoing a major overhaul.
And we already know what that overhaul will look like, thanks to Apple’s announcement at the developer conference earlier this year – we’ll see the first Apple Silicon MacBook based on Apple̵7;s own A14-series chip.
Even as we know the main event, Tuesday’s product launch still has some mystery surrounding the specifics of what we might see. Here’s what to expect when you watch the One More Thing live stream starting at 1pm EDT on Tuesday.
Apple Silicon MacBook Air and MacBook Pro
In case you don’t remember Apple’s announcement from this summer – indeed, a lot has happened recently, so who can blame you – the company announced plans to build a laptop around its own CPU before a blow to Intel. It is also the way that Apple has used to great success with its line of iPhones and iPads.
The initiative, called Apple Silicon, will kick off this fall with the first Macs powered by ARM processors. Apple plans to roll out ARM-based chips for all of its Mac products to replace the processor Intel currently uses. The entire transition is expected to take about two years, with the first Macs moving to Apple Silicon this year.
The goal: to provide a laptop with equal or better performance than Intel notebooks with better energy efficiency. And the first Apple Silicon MacBook benchmarks look promising.
Rumors have indicated that laptops are first converted to ARM chips, so that’s what we expect to see on Tuesday. The most recent rumors surrounding Apple’s laptop plans point to three new MacBooks built around Apple Silicon.
Bloomberg reports that we will get the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro on Tuesday, both with 13-inch configurations and new processors. Alternatively, the 16-inch MacBook Pro could go on sale on Tuesday as well. These machines are expected to run on the same A14 processor that Apple recently introduced for both the iPhone 12 and iPad Air 4.
Because Apple still plans to release an Intel-based Mac during its transition to Apple Silicon on its Mac lineup, there may be other machines included in the announcement on Tuesday. Specifically, a 13-inch MacBook Pro with an Intel processor could be in the works, though we wouldn’t imagine that model would have a lot of time on stage.
Apple hasn’t released the new 12-inch MacBook in a while. The product is not even listed on the Apple website as an option. But some rumors suggest that Apple could revive this particular laptop with ARM-based processors.
There are also reports of an Apple Silicon-based iMac as well as a much more compact Mac Pro than the current version. Both desktops don’t seem to launch on November 10th,. However, with Apple likely to focus its initial efforts on laptops, its performance requirements are not too far from mobile devices like tablets.
How will Apple Silicon improve Mac performance?
Expect a lot of improvements over the Intel chips that currently power Apple’s laptops, and not just because Apple still only packs a 10th Gen Core CPU on some of its laptops, in when the top Windows models are using the 11th Generation chips from Intel. The A14 uses a 5-nanometer process, making it more efficient than Intel’s 10nm Tiger Lake chip.
The switch to Apple Silicon also brings Apple’s neural engine to the Mac, which will enhance machine learning features. (For example, think how the iPhone handles photos easily.) Apple has also touted benefits like advanced power management, high-powered GPUs for running professional apps and games, and a protected area. privacy for better privacy.
Using the same processor found in iPhones and iPads means the apps built for those mobile devices will also run on the Mac from now on. That expands the software you can use on a Mac and could make developers more willing to develop platforms.
macOS Big Sur
The latest version of macOS was also announced at the Apple Developers Conference, and it has been in testing since summer. Apple has promised a fall 2020 release for macOS Big Sur, and the same thing we said earlier about the week-end calendar applies here as well.
Expect Apple to use the Mac launch event to give us more info on the macOS Big Sur release date – if not just giving us a final update during the event itself.
Since Apple rarely sticks to a single thing – even at an event called One More Thing – we expect other products to join MacBook Silicon models onstage. And Apple certainly has a selection of some of the rumored products to be announced on Tuesday.
We’ve been waiting to see AirPods Studio for the two most recent Apple product events. These are wireless over-ear headphones that will complement the rest of Apple’s AirPod lineup. We expect AirPods Studio to offer noise cancellation features, but it’s unclear if they’ll be ready in time for this year’s holiday season. Some rumors suggest that the same kind of manufacturing delay pushed back the release of the iPhone 12 could mean the AirPods Studio won’t launch until 2021.
Another possible candidate is an updated version of the Apple TV decoder box. It’s been a while since Apple updated the Apple TV 4K, and a new version could have Apple’s A12X Bionic chip if product rumors prove to be correct. (Another old rumor indicates that an Apple TV with an A14 chip offers console-like performance, all better for streaming Apple Arcade games.)
Definitely not in Apple’s interest to remind us that they also make set-top boxes for TVs – the Apple TV Plus streaming service just launched, and everyone with a free subscription for the past year May need a reason to stick with the service.
There’s also the issue of the Apple AirTags, which has long been rumored to work with the U1 Ultra Wideband chip in recent iPhones. Such a product seems more suitable for the iPhone 12 launch event, and the fact that new iPhones are already here, and an Apple-made key finder doesn’t tell us that rumors about whether this device will be pushed back in 2021 is correct.