Apple plans big change to laptops
One of the world's biggest computer makers is expected to announce a massive change at an upcoming event in pursuit of ever-thinner and lighter devices.
Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) is set to run from June 22 until June 26.
Ordinarily the event is a big occasion, with around 6000 people attending the 2018 conference in California.
As is the case with pretty much everything in 2020, it will be a different story this year.
The conference will instead be held over the internet.
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WWDC is primarily used to give software developers a look at Apple's new technology so they can come up with ideas for how to work with it, though the company sometimes unveils new products at the conference as well.
This year, it's rumoured Apple will announce its first steps in a shift that's set to take over portable computing with the announcement of computers based on ARM architecture.
ARM-based systems effectively use a different language to computers based on the dominant Intel x86 and x64 architectures.
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While ARM processors aren't usually as powerful, they use less electricity, and produce less heat.
This allows for smaller form factors, longer battery lives and sleeker designs, without the need for cooling solutions like spinning fans.
ARM processors have powered your smartphones and tablets for years.
Increasingly they're cropping up in laptops as well.
Samsung re-entered the Australian laptop market with the introduction of the Galaxy Book S ($1699) earlier this year, a thin and light, always-connected laptop that uses an ARM-based Qualcomm Snapdragon processor.
Microsoft's Surface Pro X ($1699) convertible also uses ARM processors, and a special version of Windows optimised for them.
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Apple's A-series ARM chips are used in iPhones and iPads.
The iPad Pro - itself now essentially a laptop, uses them too.
Mac computers, iPads and iPhones all have different operating systems (macOS, iPadOS and iOS) and that's not expected to change even if they all use the same processors.
Completely changing the processor architecture that powers its computers would be a big move for Apple, but it has done it before.
At the 2005 WWDC, Apple announced it would switch from the PowerPC platform it developed alongside IBM and Motorola to Intel's x86 architecture.
Around 18 months later the transition was completed.
Software developers need time to optimise their programs to run on ARM architecture, so making the announcement at its Developers Conference would make sense.
Originally published as Apple plans big change to laptops