At the Worldwide Developer Conference, Apple announced that future Macs will use ARM processors developed in-house — “Apple silicon” — and not the Intel Core-series CPUs on which they’re presently based.

During Tuesday’s keynote, Apple executives — including CEO Tim Cook and Craig Federighi, senior vice president of software engineering — said the change would result in performance improvements while lessening power consumption. The company expects to ship its first Mac based on the new chips later this year, and will transition its Mac product line fully to Apple silicon during the next two years.

Experts expressed interest in what the change could ultimately mean for Apple devices. Gillett noted that the presentation was vague on the new enterprise capabilities that Apple silicon could make possible.

“[Apple] didn’t really elaborate, other than saying, ‘Better performance, lower power consumption,'” he said. “They didn’t really say what all the cool new things [are] they might be able to do on Macs that they couldn’t do with Intel.”

Gillett said future Mac users could perhaps interact with their computers as they currently do with their smartphones: The devices could quickly wake from an off or sleeping state and have near-immediate functionality.

“I suspect that Apple will come up with a bunch of creative experiences with Macs, based in part on this new silicon,” he said. “I don’t think we’ll see it for a couple of years, because they’ll only reveal it when they’re ready to launch the new hardware.”

Klein noted that the similar processor architecture across iPhones, iPads and Macs could offer a truly consistent user experience across devices. In such a scenario, different devices would just be alternative means through which users interact with one operating system.

By Mike Gleason