Apple’s First ARM-Based Product Is a Mac mini Featuring an A12Z Bionic, but Sadly, Regular Customers Can’t Buy It


During Apple’s WWDC 2020 keynote, the company announced its Mac transition from Intel to custom A-series chips based on ARM’s instruction set, while also stating that the first product for consumers will arrive in late 2020. However, what regular customers don’t know is that there is already a Mac mini available running Apple’s custom silicon. Unfortunately, you can’t buy it and here’s why.

Mac mini With A12Z Bionic Is Only for Developers - Specifications, Pricing Details Provided

That is right; the first Apple product to tout a custom ARM chip is the Mac mini and it features the A12Z Bionic, the same chipset running in the 2020 iPad Pro family. According to previous insights, the A12Z Bionic is simply a rebranded A12X Bionic running in the 2018 iPad Pro, but with an extra GPU enabled. However, it doesn’t make the silicon any less impressive because Apple showcased the A12Z Bionic effortlessly handling Final Cut Pro running and editing 3 streams of 4K Pro Res video, on a 6K Pro Display XDR.

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Other specifications of the Mac mini include 16GB of RAM paired with 512GB of SSD storage, with developers needing $500 to purchase it and start testing their apps. Now, if consumers want to purchase and use their own custom ARM Mac, they’re going to have to wait a little longer, but not too long thankfully. That’s because Ming-Chi Kuo mentioned that the first series of Apple’s ARM-based machines will be the 13-inch MacBook Pro and a redesigned iMac, though there are reports that Apple might use its custom silicon inside the chassis of the discontinued 12-inch MacBook.

Apart from showing off a demo, Apple didn’t provide any other details of its in-house A-series chips. However, previous reports suggest that future Macs will use eight high-performance cores called Firestorm, and four energy-efficient cores named Icestorm to deliver a mix of improved battery and high performance when required. While this is all the information we have for you so far, we’ll keep our eyes peeled for Q4 2020 and provide you updates on Apple’s ARM Mac family, so stay tuned.