This isn’t* a prediction, it’s a justification: the 16” MacBook Pro should be the first Apple notebook with an ARM-based processor.
Apple’s latest ARM-based SOC (the A13 Bionic) has a higher single-core Geekbench score than any Mac ever made. If Apple is going to release a notebook-class ARM SOC, they will want to blow away Intel on benchmarks. The next-generation SOC (we’ll assume it’s the A14) is guaranteed to out-perform Intel chips on single-core performance, and all but guaranteed to out-perform Intel on multi-core performance in notebook processors.
Imagine putting the best-performing Mac notebook processor ever made in a MacBook Air. It would make an amazing MacBook Air, no doubt, but it would ruin the rest of the product line. Why would anyone spend more money on a 13” MacBook Pro? At least with a 16” MacBook Pro you get a larger screen, but every “pro” person buying the 16” is going to cringe when they think about how much faster a MacBook Air could compile their project, render their video, or de-noise their podcast.
If it’s not the MacBook Air, it has to be the 13” MacBook Pro or the 16” MacBook Pro.
The 13” MacBook Pro was updated May 2020. This doesn’t prevent it from getting another update soon, but the rumors suggest a late 2020, or early 2021 release of the first ARM notebook. The 16” was last updated November 2019 and has been (including the 15” version) getting updates roughly once per year. One year after November 2019 lines up nicely with the current rumors.
I’m a bettin’ man, so I’ll wager we’ll see ARM Pro notebooks before we see an ARM MacBook Air.
*If the 16” is the first ARM MacBook, I reserve the right to retroactively call this a prediction.