French site MacBidouille has reported that Apple is developing ARM processor-based Macs. The site’s “reliable source” says Apple has prototypes of several ARM-based machines, including an iMac, Mac mini, and 13″ Notebook with four to eight 64-bit ARM Quad-core processors.
The machines are reported to be far along in the development cycle, and one is reported to sport a large Magic Trackpad.
MacRumors notes that MacBidouille isn’t a frequent source of rumors, so its hard to gauge its source’s credibility, but rumors of ARM-based Macs have been circulating for years. It seems likely that Apple has worked on such devices, but the feasibility of moving forward with a plan such as this remains debatable.
Apple has threatened to drop Intel’s CPUs in the past, however AMD chips were thought to be the way Apple would go in that case.
While a 2012 analysis thought Apple’s shift to ARM wasn’t something that could be ruled out completely, it did say the move would face several obstacles in its path. Most significantly, whether or not Apple’s ARM chips could keep pace with Intel’s future chips.
Recent reports suggest that won’t be an issue for the Cupertino company, as the A7 – the chip currently powering Apple’s latest iPhones and iPads – has been described by an independent analysis as “desktop class.” The A7 chip is reportedly being underutilized in the recent devices, with untapped power still in reserve.