It's that time again, time for a rumor of an ARM-powered MacBook. These rumors have been around since at least 2017, and nothing has materialized just yet. All MacBooks have shipped with Intel processors for almost 15 years now.
Now, there's a new report from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo that says that Apple finally has an ARM-powered MacBook that's it's preparing for release. According to the report, the Cupertino firm's next round of custom chips will be built on a 5nm process, and those will power this year's iPhones, mini-LED iPads that are coming this year, and a MacBook that's coming in the first half of 2021.
Using ARM processors in PCs is not a new idea. In fact, Apple has been calling the custom ARM processors that it uses in iPhones "desktop-class" for quite a while now.
And of course, Microsoft has been supporting Windows on ARM in one form or another since 2012. Back then, it was Windows RT, and today, full Windows 10 runs on Qualcomm's Snapdragon processors. Microsoft even makes its own first-party hardware with an ARM chipset.
There are various benefits to using an ARM processor over an Intel one. The first and most obvious is battery life. But also, ARM processors offer big.LITTLE architecture that allows for better power management and instant-on functionality. On the Qualcomm side of things, cellular connectivity is a major benefit, although it's not clear if Apple will include a cellular modem in the package, being that it designs its own chips.