Apple Developing ARM-Based Mac Chip to Handle Low-Power Functions Alongside Intel Processors

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Apple is developing a new ARM-based chip for its Mac lineup that would "take on more of the functionality" handled by Intel processors, reports Bloomberg.

In development since last year, the chip, codenamed T310, is said to be similar to the chip used to power the Touch Bar in the new 2016 Macbook Pro. It's built using ARM technology and will work with the standard Intel processor, handling "Power Nap" low-power mode functionality.

Apple engineers are planning to offload the Mac's low-power mode, a feature marketed as "Power Nap," to the next-generation ARM-based chip. This function allows Mac laptops to retrieve e-mails, install software updates, and synchronize calendar appointments with the display shut and not in use. The feature currently uses little battery life while run on the Intel chip, but the move to ARM would conserve even more power, according to one of the people.
Apple's 2016 MacBook Pro uses an independent ARM-based chip called the T1 to power the Touch Bar, the Touch ID fingerprint sensor built into the Touch Bar, and the secure enclave that stores payment and biometric data.

According to Bloomberg's report, the upcoming ARM-based chip will "go further," connecting to storage and wireless components to take on additional power management capabilities.

Apple could begin using the new chip in an upgraded version of the MacBook Pro set to launch later this year, but it could be introduced as a quiet update with little fanfare as the chip that powers the Touch Bar was not promoted by Apple.

Despite Apple's plans to offload some tasks to a new ARM chip, Apple is said to have no intention of abandoning Intel chips in its laptop and desktop computers.

Article Link: Apple Developing ARM-Based Mac Chip to Handle Low-Power Functions Alongside Intel Processors
 

Appleaker

macrumors 68020
Jun 13, 2016
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I figures this would happen. It makes a lot more sense and they could do a lot with it in the future. They could even allow developers to utilize it although they would have to be quite a lot more powerful.
 

iHack13

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Jun 10, 2009
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Great news. Now just make it a bit thicker, allow us swap out ram and drives and put in a decent GPU.
Actually as soon as Apple realises that they save some energy, they immediately shrink the battery to make the device thinner.
Does have an impact on power usage tho. Except one does consider himself a power user , when using the touchbar nonstop to post emojis.
 

mi7chy

macrumors 603
Oct 24, 2014
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MacOS doesn't have as large of a software ecosystem as, say, Windows so Apple can afford to risk switching CPU architecture away from x86-64 to ARM. Wouldn't be surprised if Apple follow Google Chromebook that's architecture agnostic and can run on x86-64 or ARM.
 
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KPOM

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Oct 23, 2010
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Or you know, instead of devoting more resources to this project, they could just put a *GASP* normal-sized battery in their laptops (and make them slightly thicker) and use those resources to update the Mac Pro, Mini, etc...
Except incorporating an ARM chip potentially allows them to incorporate other iOS functionality in the future. If there ever is an 2-in-one Mac (I don't expect it) this is how they would do it.
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Why not just use a MBA?
Retina screen.