Apple Working on Trio of New Macs With Custom Co-Processors That Could Launch This Year

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Apple is developing at at least three new Mac models integrated with custom co-processors, including updated notebooks and a new desktop, according to Mark Gurman, reporting for Bloomberg News.


The report claims the new models could be released as early as this year, but it doesn't specify which ones they'll be. Of course, Apple's notebook lineup includes the MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro, while its desktop lineup includes the iMac and iMac Pro, Mac Pro, and aging Mac mini.

In terms of notebooks, the MacBook and MacBook Pro are the most likely candidates for a refresh this year, as the MacBook Air has not received any meaningful updates since March 2015, nearly three years ago, and it seems like Apple is only keeping it around for its $999 price tag at this point.

MacBook Pro with Touch Bar models released in 2016 and later are already equipped with Apple's custom T1 chip that authenticates and secures Touch ID and Apple Pay respectively, and it's possible the notebook could be updated with a newer chip that offloads even more tasks from the main Intel processor.

MacBook models do not feature a custom co-processor, but unless Apple is planning to extend the Touch Bar to the 12-inch notebooks, it remains to be seen if there would be much necessity for a T-series chip.

There's also a single rumor from DigiTimes, which doesn't have the most reliable track record, claiming Apple will release a new entry-level 13-inch MacBook in the second half of this year. It's unclear if this model would be a potential MacBook Air replacement, or where else it would slot in Apple's notebook lineup.

Shifting to desktops, the iMac Pro is already equipped with Apple's custom T2 chip for enhanced security and integration. The co-processor integrates several previously separate components, including the system management controller, image signal processor, audio controller, and SSD controller.

The T2 chip has a Secure Enclave that makes the iMac Pro even more secure with new encrypted storage and secure boot capabilities. It's possible Apple could extend this co-processor to standard iMac models this year.

Apple has also confirmed it is working on an all-new modular Mac Pro, although it only revealed that its release date would come at some point after 2017. And the Mac mini has gone over 1,200 days without an update, according to the MacRumors Buyer's Guide, and the portable computer could sorely use a refresh.

Much of the Bloomberg News report is focused on Apple's shift towards in-house chip design, reducing its dependance on companies like Qualcomm and Imagination Tech, so further details about the new Macs are scant.

Article Link: Apple Working on Trio of New Macs With Custom Co-Processors That Could Launch This Year
 

malko

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Nov 8, 2014
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There's also a single rumor from DigiTimes, which doesn't have the most reliable track record, claiming Apple will release a new entry-level 13-inch MacBook in the second half of this year. It's unclear if this model would be a potential MacBook Air replacement, or where else it would slot in Apple's notebook lineup.
I think the obvious bet is that this is "the new 12 inch" Macbook. Same form factor as the old 12", but slimmer bezels making it possible to squeeze in another inch of screen.
 

nt5672

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We'll see. These days, when I see the term "enhanced security and integration", I no longer think that is a good thing. I only see "locked into Apple ecosystem." The days of Apple being the most standard and open computing platform are sadly over.
 

iMi

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Sep 13, 2014
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Modular Mac must come along the side of new retina, Apple branded displays. The display is key.

Timing looks good. By the time they perfect the new design and work out all the kinks, I’ll be ready to upgrade.
 

laz232

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Bring it on. If Apple can out-perform Intel & AMD OR remain on par but extend the battery life of mobile devices, I'm all for it.

An 8 core A12 in a MacBook Pro would be awesome if it gets 10 hours of battery.
Too bad if it also has to work with software that I use for my work (which has involved designing chips for Apple)... I do *not* want a transition from Intel /AMD architecture - because I need more than a glorified iPad...
 

Dave245

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Apple could bring this to a 13" MacBook that replaces the MacBook Air, dropping the 12" in price to around $999 while the 13" takes the current price of the 12" We could also see it in the iMac especially if Apple are looking to bring the Touch Bar to the iMac.
 

T'hain Esh Kelch

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If this rumor is true it may be a good idea to wait a couple of generations until Apple gets it right.
Well, security seems to be one of the few things that Apple really are good at, at this point.

Yes, no software is perfect, and neither is Apples, but in comparison to so much else and certain companies approach to customer security, I do think Apple is at or near the top.
 

Joe The Dragon

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1) Mac Pro (modular)
2) New Imac
3) ?? mini, macbook? prob. macbook
so storage will be cut down to 1 pci-e x4 bus mixed with co-processor traffic. nice way to cut the power of the new mac pro (at least it has the lanes to not stuff it on the DMI bus that also has network and all other io on it)
 

macduke

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Isn't Coffee Lake adding a couple six-core mobile CPUs later this year? Pair that with an A12X this autumn and I'd buy the crap out of that. It would be cool if it had three modes: Ultra mobile, using the A12X only; mobile, using the i7, and docked/plugged-in: using the i7 and delegating extra tasks to the A12X. I have no idea how possible that is, as just getting ARM up and running by itself will be tricky and probably require some kind of emulation, but it would be pretty neat.
 

keysofanxiety

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Too bad if it also has to work with software that I use for my work (which has involved designing chips for Apple)... I do *not* want a transition from Intel /AMD architecture - because I need more than a glorified iPad...
An architecture change wouldn't suddenly turn macOS into iOS. They've done it before with PPC to Intel with far less resources. It's likely that Swift/Xcode will have an option to recompile apps for the ARM architecture or an emulator for the interim.

Also as ARM is being developed for a full-blooded W10 version then that would dispel any BootCamp concerns. If MS fully commit to it (imagine an Apple A-chip Surface Pro!) then the transition would happen very quickly.

The ARM chips are crazy powerful in their iOS devices, especially when considering there's no air cooling. It's almost definitely going to happen IMO, it's just a question of when.
 

Mydel

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Apr 8, 2006
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Sometimes here mostly there
II feel like that currently the processors from Apple are advanced enough to offload the common tasks to them what would save battery and speed up whole system. Im not sure If there is a time for ARM notebooks. I mean I wish it was here as I am not a fun of Intel by any means but I remember when Apple moved from PPC....That was a few years of nightmare. However IF they have software ready I would give it a try. I dont use iPad as its no different than iPhone that I use daily and just not good enough as compared to MBP / I really do not like iOS in anything but iPhone. I would also buy iPad if it was running OSX though. Immediately!
 

chrfr

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Jul 11, 2009
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MacBook models do not feature a custom co-processor, but unless Apple is planning to extend the Touch Bar to the 12-inch notebooks, it remains to be seen if there would be much necessity for a T-series chip.
The iMac Pro also has no Touch Bar but has the T2. Given the changes to the boot process in the iMac Pro, it's clear that all future Macs will move in this direction and have some sort of coprocessor to handle boot security and functions that the T2 in the iMac Pro now handles.