Apple Silicon is now a thing, and it’s coming to iMac and MacBook machines in 2020 and beyond – but how much will these ARM-powered Macs cost?
In our post, which covers the PROS and CONS of Apple’s switch to using its own custom-built ARM chips, one of the things we highlighted as a positive for the switch was the price. Apple making its own chips, and not sourcing them from Intel, theoretically, could – in the medium to long term – lower the costs of building Macs.
And, as we all know: lower costs equal lower prices. Again, this is all theoretical right now, Apple could, of course, not change the pricing at all, keeping iMac and MacBook prices more or less identical to what they are now. But I am hopeful that the advent of Apple Silicon inside its Macs could, at some point, either this year or in the coming years, means lower prices for entry-level machines.
However, this might not be the case, according to well-respected analyst Ming Chi-Kuo. In a research note obtained by Apple Insider, Kuo says that Apple’s first run of Apple Silicon Macs might be more expensive than current models. How so? Apparently, there are design changes and supply aspects that have to be altered and this could result in higher costs for building the machines.
Apple Silicon MacBook Pro Price
This is speculation on Kuo’s part, obviously, but he does make a good point. Making big changes to anything requires recalibration, so the idea of costs increasing, even if it’s only at the beginning of Apple’s grand transition, does make sense. The next obvious question is how Apple plans on dealing with the increased cost? Will it absorb the cost or pass it onto the consumer?
More speculation, posing as a leak, from industry sources, claims that Apple’s first Apple Silicon MacBook Pro, due out before the end of the year, will retail for $1099 – down from $1299 for the x86 MacBook Pro.
That’s quite a saving, so if @komiya_kj’s predictions come true, whereby he claims the standard Apple Silicon MacBook will cost $799 and the MacBook Pro $1099, we could be looking at some of the cheapest MacBooks in years.
Again, this is just a leak – it’s not 100% legit. But one of the benefits of Apple using its own chips is that it can reduce its bill of materials by not having to source chipsets from Intel. It can also develop at its own pace, scale independently, and also release different machines for different price points.
As of right now, no one knows the answer to this question. In the longer term, the idea of Apple Silicon Macs being cheaper than their Intel-powered counterparts does make sense. Apple will have absolute control over the development and implementation of its chips, allowing for quicker updates and faster-paced innovation. It no longer has to wait for Intel in order to start work on a new Mac format.
This opens up the potential for a whole new range of Macs, potentially lower-cost machines, the type of which we have not seen from Apple. Imagine Apple competing directly with Chromebooks? Or lower-cost Windows 10 machines? Imagine having a MacBook that costs $500 and works seamlessly with your iPhone and its apps? That’d be amazing, right? Well, this is now entirely possible.
What Will Be The First Apple Silicon Mac Released?
Apple hasn’t said anything about what type of Mac we can expect first. Tim Cook said Apple will release its first Mac powered by Apple Silicon before the close of the year. The general consensus seems to be that this will be some kind of MacBook – either an updated MacBook Air or potentially even a MacBook Pro model.
Kuo says Apple will also release a completely redesigned Apple Silicon-powered iMac that will feature an all-new, all-in-one design. The ARM-powered iMac will feature a 24in display and will likely launch sometime in 2021. There will also be an Intel version of the new iMac launched alongside it too.
Whatever happens, this is one of the most exciting things to happen to Mac since the switch from PowerPC many moons ago now.
I cannot wait to see what happens with this new line of ARM-powered MacBooks and iMacs.
Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.