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MacBooks with custom ARM CPUs could arrive later this year

MacBook Pro
(Image credit: Future)

Apple is rumored to be developing MacBooks with custom in-house CPUs, but there are conflicting timelines as for when they will arrive. The latest rumor, from iPhoneHacks citing leaker @choco_bit, claims the Apple CPU-powered laptops will be released later this year.

It's a hopeful timeline considering reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in February that the first ARM-based MacBooks would land in 12 to 18 months. That puts the earliest release date in the first quarter of 2021. 

Whether it's this year or next, Apple will reportedly take its time updating its fleet of MacBooks with custom chips. Another leaker who operates under the Twitter account L0vetodream says it will start with the 12-inch MacBook, which we assumed was discontinued for good

It would make sense for Apple to start with the entry-level Macbook. That ultrathin machine doesn't demand much power as it's designed for on-the-go use, not demanding workloads. If Apple's custom processors can deliver faster performance than an Intel Y-series chip (and the same or better battery life), they would already be an improvement.   

After updating the MacBook, Apple is rumored to bring its in-house chips to other laptops, like the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.

While you should take this rumor with a grain of salt, Apple will likely release a laptop with ARM-based CPUs in the coming years. The Cupertino giant's relationship with Intel has become strained in recent years, especially after Tim Cook blamed declining MacBook sales on Intel chip shortages. 

If Apple can use its own chips for MacBooks, it can grab tighter control of the supply chain while potentially improving the performance of its devices.