Mac transition to Apple Silicon
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Transition of the Apple Macintosh platform from Intel x86 to ARM processors

The Mac transition to Apple Silicon is the planned two-year process of introducing ARM64-based Apple-designed processors to, and deprecating Intel's x86-64 from, Apple's Macintosh line of computers. CEO Tim Cook announced the plan in his WWDC keynote address on June 22, 2020.[1]

The transition is the third time Apple has migrated Macintosh to a new instruction set architecture (ISA). The first was the switch from the Mac's original Motorola 68000 series architecture to the new PowerPC platform in 1994,[2] and the second was the transition from PowerPC to Intel x86, which was formally announced in June 2005.[3]

Apple first utilized the ARM architecture in 1993 in its Newton personal digital assistant, and since then has extensively deployed it throughout other product lines including iPhone, iPad, iPod, and Apple Watch. Apple has designed its own custom ARM chips since 2009.[4]

Background [ edit ]

Early involvement with ARM [ edit ]

In 1990, Acorn Computers made Apple the first significant third party user of its ARM architecture, in the Newton personal digital assistant. The deal moved the ARM project to the separate legal entity ARM Holdings, in which Apple took a 43% stake,[5][6] and ARM was renamed from "Acorn RISC Machine" to "Advanced RISC Machines".

Transition from PowerPC to Intel [ edit ]

A first-generation MacBook Pro from 2006, one of the first line of Mac computers to feature an Intel processor instead of a PowerPC processor.

Since Apple's 2005–2006 transition to Intel processors, all Macintosh computers have used Intel's x86 CPU architecture. During his 2005 WWDC keynote address, Steve Jobs noted that Intel-based processors outperformed IBM's PowerPC processors in terms of energy consumption, and that if Apple continued to rely on PowerPC technology, it would be unable to build the future Macs it envisioned, including higher-performance workstation computers and…
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