A Bloomberg report on Wednesday claims Apple is developing its own ARM-based chip for use in its Mac line of computers. The new chip wouldn’t take the place of the current Intel processors, but would instead work alongside them handling low-power mode functionality.
The chip, which went into development last year, is similar to one already used in the latest MacBook Pro to power the keyboard’s Touch Bar feature, the people said. The updated part, internally codenamed T310, would handle some of the computer’s low-power mode functionality, they said. The people asked not to be identified talking about private product development. It’s built using ARM Holdings Plc. technology and will work alongside an Intel processor.
The ARM chip would take over functionality offered in the Mac’s low-power “Power Nap” mode. “Power Nap” allows Mac notebooks to retrieve emails, install updates, and sync calendar events while the display is shut and not in use. Although the feature uses little battery life on the Intel chips, a move to the next-generation ARM-based chip would result in even greater power savings.
While Apple plans to offload some of the Macbook’s functionality to the new chip, the report indicates Apple has no plans to drop Intel chips from their Mac lineup, instead merely using the new chip to enhance low power functionality.
Apple’s most recent MacBook Pro models, released in late 2016, already use an ARM-based chip (the T1) to control the notebook’s Touch Bar, the Touch ID sensor built into the Touch Bar, and the secure enclave used to store fingerprint and payment data.
The new chip could hit the MacBook Pro as soon as this year, making an appearance in the much-rumored new MacBook Pro lineup, likely to launch later this year.