Apple Silicon: Next big thing, or more of the same?

Apple seems poised to unveil the first crop of Macs powered by in-house designed Apple Silicon processors. But will these bring something new to the table, or is this move mostly for Apple's benefit?
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

Apple has another event slated for this coming week, and it's expected to be the unveiling of the first crop of Apple Silicon-powered Macs.

Apple is no stranger to shifting platforms on the Mac. First, there was the PowerPC architecture. Then, Apple made the shift to MacOS X. Next came the shift to Intel processors. And now, Apple is beginning the transition away from Intel and to its own processors.

And based on what we saw at the WWDC keynote earlier this year, Apple's been working hard to make this transition as smooth as possible.

But there are plenty of unknowns, starting with what Macs will be the first to make the switch. Rumors are scattered across the board, but Bloomberg reported that the first to make the switch could be the 13-inch MacBook Air, and the 13 and 16-inch MacBook Pros.  

WWDC 2020: Apple Silicon highlights in pictures

But there are more important questions that go beyond which Macs will be the first to shift over.

The first question on people's lips is a simple and predictable one -- will Apple Silicon Macs be cheaper than Intel-powered Macs?

Nice idea, but I doubt it.

Apple Silicon

Apple Silicon

It is highly unlikely that Apple is going to use the switch to its own processors as the time to start a race to the bottom. After all, who is it competing against? Itself?

Next big question -- what benefits will this bring to the end-user?

After all, Apple's made a big deal of the technology that's gone into this -- from the hardware itself to the software support such as Rosetta 2 -- but will owners see any advantages?

There are a lot of possible benefits, from better battery life to improved performance to thinner/lighter/cooler hardware.

If the first Apple Silicon Macs are lower-end hardware, such as the MacBook Air, then Apple will be playing things slow and safe. But if we see the MacBook Pros making the switch, then this is a massive move forward, and means that Apple will have beaten what Intel silicon can offer right out of the gate, and that will be a massive game-changer.

What do you want to see from Apple Silicon?

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