Apple showed the new Apple Watch in September. They showed the new iPhones in October. And now, they have something to show us in November! Of course we don’t know what it is, but we can guess, and my guess is “new Mac(s) built around the new Apple-designed CPU.”
Why do I guess that? Because we know that Apple is going to make Macs using their own chips; they said so months ago. They also said the first Macs using “Apple Silicon” would come out before the end of the year. And here we are.
But… Apple makes several Macs, and we don’t expect them all to get the Apple Silicon chip at once. I’m guessing that they’ll introduce Apple Silicon laptops first– partly because they’re so popular, and partly because if you view the invitation using your iPhone, and then tap the screen, you get an Augmented Reality thingy that looks a lot like a laptop being opened and closed.
Here’s how it looks (that’s my slightly messy desk in the background).
Advice: if you’re looking to buy a new Mac, wait until after Tuesday’s show.
Why do we care about Apple Silicon? Why not keep using Intel’s chips?
Apple’s built their Macs around Intel’s chips for many years. The chips were good, but these are the same chips that almost everyone else uses, so performance-wise, Apple’s computers could be as fast, but no faster, than computers from HP, Dell, Acer, etc. That’s Disadvantage #1.
Disadvantage #2: being dependent on Intel’s chips means being dependent on Intel’s schedule. Apple had to wait for Intel to produce better chips if Apple wanted to put those chips into their Macs.
Disadvantage #3: Intel’s chips are famously poor when it comes to energy efficiency. They want a lot of electricity. That’s a problem for any Mac, because “lots of electricity” translates into “lots of heat” which requires lots of fans to dissipate, which means bigger and noisier enclosures, blah blah blah.
So Apple has these reasons to not favor the Intel chips. And they’ve had those reasons all along. But where can Apple get faster chips than Intel’s, ones that no one else can use? Where can Apple get chips that have better performance than Intel’s, with lower power requirements?
Those are tough questions, a hard problem to solve. But Apple’s already solved it. They solved it by designing their own chips for the iPhone and iPad. The chips in those devices are super-fast (faster than the chips in the current MacBook Pro!), and they don’t use much power, and Apple’s been using their own chips in those devices for years. Apple has leveraged their experience designing chips for iPhones and iPads and is using it to build chips for the Macs.
I see this as a very big breakthrough. Macs with Apple’s chips– Apple Silicon– will outperform Intel-based machines, and their batteries will last longer. It will be a huge competitive advantage for Apple and I expect we will see plenty of speed and battery comparisons in the show on Tuesday.
Apple might introduce more than one product. That’s their usual way. And no, I don’t have any guesses about what that might be, but I’m hoping it’s a flying car, or maybe a car that turns into a boat. I’ll find out next week, same as you.
How to watch the show
You can watch the live stream by going to Apple’s website on Tuesday, November 10th, 2020 at 10 am Pacific time. If you miss the big reveal that day go to Apple’s site later and watch the replay. If it’s more convenient, watch it on your Apple TV, either live or afterward.
You can view the most recent Apple reveals on Apple’s site now, for warm-up
- October 13th, 2020: Introducing iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro with 5G, MagSafe accessories, and HomePod mini.
- September 15th, 2020: Introducing Apple Watch Series 6, Apple Watch SE, Apple Fitness+, the new iPad Air and iPad, and Apple One — the all-new Apple services bundle.
Those links take you to pages with recordings of the presentations, plus useful reference information about the items that were discussed.