MacBook Pro with Apple silicon — will it be cheaper?

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

With Apple ditching Intel in favor of custom, ARM-based silicon chips, will the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro be more affordable? According to a TrendForce report (via Tom's Guide), lead investigators insinuated that the next-gen MacBooks could be cheaper — but we're not convinced.

TrendForce pointed out that Apple's new self-designed chip, which will be mass-produced using TSMC’s 5nm process technology, will have a sub-$100 manufacturing cost. Conversely, Intel's 10nm Core i3 processors cost between $200 and $300.

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Will the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air be cheaper?

Equipped with lower-cost SoCs, TrendForce reported that the next-gen MacBooks could become "cost-competitive" laptops.

"[Future Mac SoCs] will have a chance to successfully compete against the mainstream products offered by Intel in terms of computing performance and power consumption," the TrendForce report said. 

Our sister site Tom's Guide speculated that, with cheaper manufacturing costs, Apple will likely offer MacBook fans a sweeter deal with more affordable laptops — at Laptop Mag, though, we're skeptical.

By reducing the production costs of its chipsets, Apple is simply improving its bottom line and increasing its profit margins. The Cupertino-based tech giant has never been known for being kind to consumer's pockets.

So will next-gen MacBooks be cheaper? Sure...for Apple. We're not confident that Apple will pass on its cost savings to consumers. 

MacBooks with Apple's custom ARM-based silicon chips may arrive this year

TrendForce noted that the first macOS devices to feature Apple's self-designed chipsets could hit store shelves by the end of this year (though other sources predict a 2021 launch), so we'll get to see first hand whether Apple's new custom SoC will positively affect the price of its MacBooks.

With TSMC being two generations ahead of Intel in terms of shrinking its CPUs, Apple sees great potential in its custom, ARM-based processors as viable challengers against the laptop market's dominant CPU leaders, TrendForce added. 

We can't wait to see how the future Macs, newly equipped with Apple's self-designed chipsets, will materialize in terms of cost, performance and power efficiency.

Kimberly Gedeon

Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master's degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire's business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she's finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!