New MacBook and iPad Pro may run on the same Apple Silicon — ready for A14x Bionic?

Macs with Apple Silicon chart
(Image credit: Apple)

We know Apple almost certainly has one more event in store for us this year with the rumored November launch of the MacBook with Apple Silicon. Announced back at WWDC, this will be Apple's first step on the road to processor independence.

We've known that there would be a hierarchy of chips available for the various laptops and desktops in Apple's lineup, but a new China Times report offers a potential glimpse at what exactly that breakdown looks like. It includes the chip for the forthcoming MacBooks and iPad Pros along with more powerful chips that will follow next year (via BGR).

First up on the list is the standard A14 Bionic, which we've now seen in the iPad Air (2020) and all four iPhone 12 models. It's destroying the smartphone competition, but obviously, Apple is going to want more for future iPad Pros and MacBooks.  

That is where we come to the A14x Bionic. This certainly isn't the first time we've heard that identification along with the "Tonga" codename; it has been circulating as the assumed processor for the iPad Pro refresh since around March. According to this report, it will be in both the new iPad Pros as well as the first MacBook with Apple Silicon

Rumors suggest there could be eight and 12-core variants with the latter featuring eight high-performance cores, so double that of the standard A14. The former would match the configuration of the current iPad Pro and the A12z variant used in the Apple Silicon developer kits that have been crushing benchmarks, but based on the more powerful A14 Bionic.

Chart on Apple Silicon progression by China Times

(Image credit: China Times)

Now we venture into unknown territory with an A14t that China Times reports goes by the internal codename "Mt. Jade." This would be used for the Apple Silicon-based iMac that some have suggested we could see next year. According to this report, the iMac will go into production in the first half of 2021. Tenuous rumors of 16-core A14 variants have also done the rounds, so it's possible that's what we have here.

The final item on the chart is the Apple GPU, codenamed "Lifuka," which is also believed to debut next year. No further details regarding exact specs are offered, but they do specify that it should debut in the iMac.

Given the performance we've seen from the standard A14 Bionic, we can't wait to see how it translates over to a laptop and, of course, how it holds up against Intel's Tiger Lake and AMD's Ryzen 4000-series.

Sean Riley

Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more.  Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.