Apple silicon is reportedly coming to the rescue of the 12-inch MacBook

Rene with gold 12-inch MacBook
Rene with gold 12-inch MacBook (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple is reportedly bringing the 12-inch MacBook back.
  • If the report is right, it'll come with Apple silicon under the hood.
  • That'll give it a massive 20-hour battery life.

Apple is reportedly set to bring the 12-inch MacBook back to the market, this time powered by the incoming Apple silicon chips that we're all eagerly waiting for. The previous 12-inch MacBook was powered by an Intel chip and was underpowered, to say the least.

According to a new report by The China Times, Apple's first Apple silicon Mac will use a chip under the codename "Tonga" and, as expected, it'll be produced by TSMC.

According to Apple's supply chain, Apple is expected to launch a Macbook with a 12-inch Retina Display at the end of this year, using its self-developed and designed A14X processor, with the development code of Tonga, supporting a USB Type-C interface and weighing less than 1 kilogram, because of the low-power advantage of the Arm-based processor. The Macbook battery lasts 15 to 20 hours. The A14X processor will also be used in the new generation iPad Pro tablet.

The battery life numbers are particularly refreshing. The hope even before Apple silicon was announced was that it would allow Macs to not only be more capable, but more power-efficient, too. Longer battery life is always a good thing and that's exactly what we're going to get here if reports are accurate.

The suggestion that the 12-inch MacBook will run on an Apple A14X chip is interesting, however. That would mean that the chips will follow the same process as iPad chips – taking iPhone processors and adding features and cores to them. I had hoped that Apple would go a different route, creating chips specifically for its Mac lineups. It'll be very interesting to see which route Apple actually takes with its first foray into Mac CPUs.

Apple announced its intention to launch its first Apple silicon-based Mac before the end of 2020 and this report has that machine being the 12-inch MacBook. It would make plenty of sense as well, given the relatively low power requirements of a notebook that was never a high-performance computer.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.