During WWDC 2020, Apple announced the start of the transition to ARM chips on the Mac. For this reason, the company is allowing developers to request a modified Mac mini with an A12Z chip and 16 GB of RAM to begin development with this architecture.
Some developers are already starting to receive this Mac mini ARM, which is officially known as the “Developer Transition Kit”, and although benchmark testing is prohibited, it still appears that the first tests are already available.
Geekbench’s benchmark test results suggest that the Mac mini based on the A12Z chip achieves average single-core and multi-core scores of 811 and 2,781 points respectively. These are scores to be taken with the pliers, given that Geekbench is run through Apple’s Rosetta 2 emulation layer, so a certain impact on performance is foreseeable. Besides, Apple appears to have slightly downclocked the CPU of the A12Z chip in the 2.4 GHz Mac mini compared to the 2.5 GHz of the latest iPad Pro models.
Apple promises that its Macs equipped with these custom Apple Silicon chips will have industry-leading performance per watt. Also, Apple said it plans to release the first ARM chip Mac by the end of the year and complete the transition in about two years. According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, one of the first to adopt this chip will be the new 24-inch iMac with a completely new design that will arrive towards the end of the year.
Apple has said it will continue to support and release new versions of macOS for Intel-based Macs for years to come, and has also confirmed that there are still some new Intel-based Macs in the meantime in development.