Apple unveiled the A14 chip at its iPad & Apple Watch event held in September. The new iPad Air and all the iPhone 12 models are powered by the same A14 chip. It’s the world’s first commercial chip to be based on the 5nm manufacturing process.
The “Pro” models of the iPad usually use a slightly beefier version of the same A-series chip. For example, the iPad Pro has used the A12X in the past and the current generation uses the A12Z chip. Apple has demonstrated that the A12Z is a very powerful chip at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) keynote. The Developer Transition Kit (DTK) which is basically a Mac Mini using an ARM chip is powered by the same A12Z chip.
Apple Silicon: Future of the Mac
The first consumer Mac using Apple Silicon is to be released sometime before the end of 2020. While there is no word from Apple as to whether a version of the A14 chip will be used or even the A12Z, it seems likely that a version of the A14 could be used.
Intel has largely struggled to make progress with the 7nm process and has delayed the release “until 2022”. Apple showcased various advantages the ARM based chips would bring, it would also be a big breakthrough for the company to include a 5nm chip in a desktop class machine (or something close to it like a laptop).
The A12X and the A12Z are very identical chips but the A12Z packs an extra unlocked GPU core. The A12X and the A12Z are both octa core chips made based on the 7nm manufacturing process. A “Pro” grade version of the A14 could be a game changer based on the new 5nm process.
The rumors suggest that the first ARM Mac computer would be MacBook as it would be able to show true efficiency of the chip. Apple promises higher efficiency while also packing more performance with its upcoming chips.