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New MacBooks with Apple Silicon could get this huge performance upgrade

MacBook Air 2020
(Image credit: Future)

Apple hasn't said much about its upcoming MacBooks since revealing the switch from Intel CPUs to custom ARM-based processors. We know the transition will take two years and that Apple plans to ship the first MacBook with Apple Silicon later this year, however, the Cupertino giant hasn't said anything about performance.  

We now have a better idea of some of the upgrades Apple could bring to its laptops thanks to a new leak. Leaker Komiya posted on Twitter that Apple has two ARM-based chips arriving on future MacBook models, one with eight cores and another with 12 cores. They also said Apple will launch a 16-core chip sometime next year. 

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This aligns with a Bloomberg report claiming the first Mac processors will have eight high-performance cores, codenamed Firestorm, and four energy-efficient cores known as Icestorm. The report also mentions Macs with more than 12 cores in the future, which could be in reference to the rumored 16-core chip.

The current entry-level MacBook Air uses Intel Y-series CPUs with only two cores. When Apple outfits its ultraslim laptop with Apple Silicon, it could double or even quadruple the processing units. 

Topping the stack of Intel's latest 11th Gen Tiger Lake chips is the Core i7-1185G7 CPU with four cores, eight threads and a max turbo of 4.8GHz. From AMD, Apple's custom chips will contend against the Ryzen 7 4800U, an eight-core, 16-thread processor with a max boost clock of 4.2GHz. 

Apple has yet to reveal the first laptops running on Apple Silicon, however, prolific Apple leaker and analyst Ming Cho Kuo claims the chips will debut in a 13-inch MacBook Pro and MacBook Air. 

We could soon find out which laptops will usher in a new era for Apple at the upcoming iPhone 12 "Hi, Speed" event on October 13. 

Phillip Tracy

Phillip Tracy is the assistant managing editor at Laptop Mag where he reviews laptops, phones and other gadgets while covering the latest industry news. After graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Phillip became a tech reporter at the Daily Dot. There, he wrote reviews for a range of gadgets and covered everything from social media trends to cybersecurity. Prior to that, he wrote for RCR Wireless News covering 5G and IoT. When he's not tinkering with devices, you can find Phillip playing video games, reading, traveling or watching soccer.