Apple plans to put custom processors inside at least three more Macs by the end of the year, according to Bloomberg. There are no details on what the chips will be used for, but the report says they’ll appear in updated laptops and a new desktop.
Though Apple has been making custom chips for its phones, tablets, and wearables for years now, the company is only just starting to bring its house-made chips to the Mac. That started in a small way in 2016 with the high-end MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, which included a chip that was used to run the Touch Bar and Touch ID. Then last month, Apple included a custom chip inside the iMac Pro that handled, among other things, audio, camera processing, and encryption.
Apple’s increased usage of its own chips could mean big things for the future of the Mac. It shows a reduced need to wait on other companies for improvements, and it allows Apple even deeper integration of hardware and software. But perhaps the most important thing here is that it seems to move Apple ever closer to using its own chips as the core processor inside the Mac.
With the iPhone and iPad, Apple has shown that it’s able to create processors that hugely outperform rivals. There are a lot of hurdles stopping Apple from just swapping in its own chips in place of the Intel-made ones that are currently inside Macs, so it’s not likely that’ll happen anytime soon. But the more Apple-made chips that make their way into the Mac, the closer we seem to get to that perhaps inevitable future.
Bloomberg’s story today gives an overview of Apple’s move into chipmaking and is a good read even if you’re familiar with the history.