Looks like Apple is getting ready to get free of the folks at Intel.
Reports emerging indicate that Cupertino is working on the design of a new Mac laptop chip that would take on more of the functionality currently handled by Intel Corp. processors.
The chip is already in development and is reportedly modeled on the chip currently in use in the latest edition of the MacBook Pro to power the keyboard’s Touch Bar feature.
The updated part, which Bloomberg reports is called T310 in-house, is designed to handle much of the computer’s low-power mode functionality. The new chip is apparently built using ARM Holdings Plc. technology and will work alongside an Intel processor.
But perhaps not for long, since the consensus view of the chip project is that it is part of a long term plan on Apple's part to get free of Intel for its Mac processors. The effort is ongoing — Apple's iPhones and iPads both use Apple's A-Series processors, and have since 2010. Apple has also been ramping up its investments in the in-house chip business for the last several years.
Apple’s first ARM-based Mac chip — the T1 — was introduced to the world during the October MacBook update and is used to power the touch bar system. Next up for the ARM-based chips will be Apple's "Power Nap" function that allows Mac computers to retrieve email, peform software updates and sync its calendar even when the display is shut and the computer is definately asleep. Intel's power nap uses very little battery life — experts seem to suggest an ARM chip can conserve more.
The new version of ARM in development would also work to better connect elements of Mac’s system, including storage and wireless components, in order to take on the additional responsibilities.
Building its own chips allows Apple both more control of its hardware functions and more ability to control the cost of components for its devices.
However, as of yet, Apple has not planned to completely abandon Intel and will work jointly with them going forward.