ARM-Based Macs & Marzipan: Future Linchpins of Apple’s Ecosystem

Following the success of the iPhone 4, Apple’s A-series processors have become staples of its hardware lineup. Every year since, these ARM-based chips have made gigantic leaps in terms of processing power and efficiency. Though improvements have diminished with later versions, fundamental changes to the A series’ architecture have brought more considerations to the table.

Evolving Technology

Apple’s oldest ARM processors were single core. Now, the company has shipped six-core variants in consecutive years: the A11 and A12 Bionic. Each is designed with dedicated performance and efficiency cores. Though the A12’s performance cores offer modest 15% speed improvements, its efficiency cores consume 40% less power than last year’s. This raises interesting questions about how we’ll judge processing improvements. Will custom versions of the A-series chips allow developers to harness these categorical gains?

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