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12-inch MacBook with 5 nm A14X before year's end, first iMac with Apple GPU in 2021

Apple's 12-inch MacBook form factor is expected to make a comeback, this time with an Apple A14X powering it rather than Intel. (Image: Apple)
Apple's 12-inch MacBook form factor is expected to make a comeback, this time with an Apple A14X powering it rather than Intel. (Image: Apple)
The first Apple Mac to ship with an ARM-based chip will be a 12-inch MacBook. According to a new report, it will be powered by an Apple A14X Bionic chip and will deliver between 15-20 hours of battery life. It will be followed in 2021 by an iMac that could feature Apple's first discrete GPU.
Sanjiv Sathiah,

Apple’s first ARM-based Mac will launch before the end of the year and come in the form of a 12-inch MacBook, according to a report by the China Times. It will be powered by an all-new Apple 14X Bionic chip that is currently going by the codename Tonga and will be fabricated on TSMC’s 5 nm process. Following in the footsteps of the ARM-based Samsung Galaxy Book S, it will weigh under one kilogram and will deliver battery life estimated at between 15-20 hours -- in our testing with the Galaxy Book S, we saw it achieve over 20 hours battery life, so this is very much in line with our expectations.

Another interesting aspect of the China Times report is its assertion that Apple will use USB-C ports on the 12-inch MacBook. Apple has already said that it will support Thunderbolt 3 on its ARM-based Macs but the lack of specificity around Thunderbolt doesn’t mean that the 12-inch MacBook will miss out on Thunderbolt 3 support. It is entirely possible that Apple could address this by adopting the new USB 4 standard over the Type-C connector which integrates support for Intel’s Thunderbolt standard after it made the specifications available to the USB Implementer's Forum.

When we correctly speculated that Apple would make a wholesale transition to ARM-based Macs across its entire range earlier this year, we also speculated that Apple would also scale up its in-house graphics architecture as well. Although Apple currently uses AMD GPUs in its Mac range, the China Times report says that it will indeed use in-house Apple GPU designs in its forthcoming Macs. Apple’s iMac range will be the first to debut this technology in what could well be Apple’s first discrete GPU cards -- this could prove very interesting to benchmark when it ships!

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 09 > 12-inch MacBook with 5 nm A14X before year's end, first iMac with Apple GPU in 2021
Sanjiv Sathiah, 2020-09- 1 (Update: 2020-09- 1)
Sanjiv Sathiah
I have been tech-obsessed from the time my father introduced me to my first computer, an Apple ][. Since then, I have grown to enjoy exploring and experimenting with any computing platform that I can get my hands on – I am the definitive early adopter! I have always been interested in how we can use technology to shape and improve our lives, most recently using it to record, mix and master my debut record, Acuity – Nature | Nurture out now on Spotify.