Despite all the excitement and grandeur around Apple’s long-anticipated announcement that it’s embarking on a two-year transition to Macs powered by its own ARM-based processors, Tim Cook did let slip out the following at the very end:
In fact, we have some Intel-based Macs in the pipeline that we’re really excited about.
(Cook also affirmed that Apple will continue to issue OS updates for Intel-powered Macs for years to come.)
So, why then is Apple is even bothering to launch more Intel-powered Macs, despite expecting to ship their first ARM-powered Mac at the end of 2020?
Benchmarking may hold the answer
The reason may lie in one thing no one is yet able to do outside of Apple: benchmark Mac performance in a head-to-head comparison between Apple and Intel’s processing capabilities.
This is a just a guess, but I’m sensing there’s enough of a concern right now that Apple’s processors, while more than capable to power future Macs, may currently still fall short of the most powerful Intel CPUs.
Once they’re able, techo-geeks are sure to scrutinize the capabilities of the new Macs, just as they would any other new computer.
What this possibly means is that for the foreseeable future, the real die-hard content creators demanding ultra-powerful computing will still need Intel-powered Macs, thereby compelling Apple to cater to them.
The other reason for Apple to keep selling Intel-powered Macs has to do with maintaining revenue. Many hardcore users rely on the x86 architecture to allow running Windows in a dual-boot or virtualization scenario.
Cutting off these users would likely just make them jump over to Windows for good.