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Arm-based iMac, 13-inch MacBook Pro expected by end of the year, Kuo predicts


Future Mac computers would be powered by Apple Arm-based chips, unlike this 2019 iMac shown above.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Apple is expected to announce its first Arm-based Mac at the World Developer Conference this week, according to research note from analyst Apple Ming-Chi Kuo. The first five models using processors are expected to include a 13-inch MacBook Pro and an iMac with an “all-new form factor,” according to Kuo’s note, seen by Apple Insider.

Apple would be ready to start using its own homemade chips for Mac computers, just like in 2014 with its new iPad tablet. The long-rumored move would mean Apple would start removing Intel processor chips from the brains of at least some of its computers. The partnership, which was publicly announced in 2005, made devices like the MacBook Air laptop possible.

The decision to use its own chips to power its Mac computers would give Apple the opportunity to design custom chips that match its penchant for ever smaller, thinner and more durable devices.

The first models using an Apple-designed processor could appear as early as the fourth quarter, with the Arm-based iMac with a 24-inch screen, Kuo predicted, according to 9to5Mac.

The company’s latest chip, the A13 Bionic, powers the iPhone 11 and iPhone SE. Apple’s chips are based on technology designed by Arm Holdings, a subsidiary of the Japanese conglomerate Softbank. Arm designs are also used as the basis for chips manufactured by Samsung, Qualcomm and Nvidia.

WWDC 2020 is scheduled to take place on June 22 and will be held online due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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