Pegatron Tipped to Manufacture Upcoming 'ARM-Based MacBook'

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, May 29, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Pegatron has been tipped to land orders from Apple to produce an ARM-based MacBook, according to a brief DigiTimes report out on Tuesday. Citing industry sources, the Taiwan-based website claims the new MacBook model is internally codenamed "Star" and carries the series number N84, but the report mentions no specific production timeline.


    The rumor accompanies news of declining net profits of nearly 50 percent in the first quarter of 2018 for Taiwan-based Pegatron, which expects to get growth back on track in the third quarter, "in line with the peak season", implying that the new MacBook model could factor into these predictions. DigiTimes' sources often provide reliable information, but the site has a mixed track record when it comes to interpreting that information and accurately deciphering Apple's plans, although 9to5Mac has also reported that Apple's so-called "Star" project could be an ARM-based MacBook.

    DigiTimes first claimed in January that Apple would release a new entry-level 13-inch MacBook this year, due in the second half of 2018, which would serve as a replacement for the MacBook Air. Two months later, then-KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo issued a research note claiming Apple has a "more affordable MacBook Air" set to be released at some point in 2018.

    Kuo didn't offer any details on what to expect in an updated MacBook Air beyond a lower price tag, but DigiTimes believes Apple could upgrade the MacBook Air with a Retina display, which led to questions over whether the machine will be an updated MacBook Air or a lower-cost MacBook. However, today's report is the first time ARM-based architecture has been suggest for the upcoming model.

    Speculation that Apple eventually plans to design Macs powered by ARM-based processors has been rumored for some time. A report in September claimed that Apple would build its notebook chips using ARM Holding's technology, a British company that designs ARM architecture and licenses it out to other companies.

    The rationale behind the idea is that developing in-house ARM notebook chips would allow Apple to reduce its dependence on Intel. ARM processors also require less power and fewer transistors, enabling a smaller die size for the integrated circuitry - two reasons why they can be found in iPhones and iPads.

    However, it's possible the rumor about ARM chips in Macs has been spun out of context: the Touch Bar on Apple's latest MacBook Pro is already powered by an ARM-based T1 chip as a companion processor, suggesting this could be the actual origin of ARM-based rumors. Indeed, Apple said last year that it had no plans for Macs powered solely by ARM chips, rather than Intel processors.

    Where that leaves the latest rumor regarding a new MacBook model remains unclear. The introduction of the Touch Bar has received a lukewarm reception among users and is only available as a premium feature on high-tier MacBook Pro models. Confounding matters further, well-connected Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman has suggested the "N84" series number actually identifies Apple's upcoming low-cost LCD iPhone.

    Taiwanese site Economic Daily News recently claimed Apple is working on a more affordable version of the MacBook Air with a price point of $799 to $899, while Bloomberg claims Apple is working on a new MacBook that costs under $1,000, but it still isn't clear whether it's in the MacBook Air family or a new sub-$1,000 machine in the MacBook line.

    The current MacBook Air models haven't seen any substantial updates in three years. Since that time, Apple has discontinued the 11-inch model, while the only recent upgrade to the 13-inch model has been a bump to the base processor option last June, but it's still a Broadwell chip from the 2014-15 timeframe.

    Article Link: Pegatron Tipped to Manufacture Upcoming 'ARM-Based MacBook'
  2. KPandian1 macrumors 65816

    Oct 22, 2013
  3. Rogifan macrumors Core


    Nov 14, 2011
    9to5Mac first reported on this star rumor. Mark Gurman claimed on Twitter it was the low cost LCD iPhone.
  4. macsrcool1234 macrumors 65816

    Oct 7, 2010
  5. Danoc, May 29, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2018
  6. Bonte macrumors 6502a


    Jul 1, 2002
    Bruges, Belgium
    "iPad Clam"

    "iPad Pro with Keyboard"

    "iPad Pro Laptop"

    I wonder what the naming will be.
  7. syklee26 macrumors 6502

    Jul 26, 2005
    Would this run Windows via Parallels or VMWare?
  8. nahkampfwombi macrumors member

    Jan 7, 2016
    Wont happen yet.
    Times not right.
    Way too early.

    Actually I do think they wont switch for ARM until they have enough power to fire up the Macbook Pros.
  9. throAU macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    Yeah, and it's nothing to do with the age of the products....

    The entire mac lineup right now is depressing...
    --- Post Merged, May 29, 2018 ---
    I think it will definitely happen.

    Apple can handle this, and an ARM based processor by Apple in the 15 watt plus TDP envelope will be more than fast enough to run x86 applications via translation like Rosetta did. Much of the heavy lifting in applications nowadays is done by the various apple frameworks which they can recompile for native code with the version of macOS it ships with. The 10.5" ipad Pro processor is fast enough to run in a notebook already, and the macbook form factor will give them far more performance potential via the additional thermal/power headroom.

    Moving to ARM will give apple far more freedom to put out the hardware THEY want to make rather than being tied to what intel produce for the mass market.

    This isn't aimed at people who want to run windows virtual machines. This is aimed at the 99% of users who want to run mac apps, and maybe some 365 office apps which you can even run in a browser these days.

    Priced appropriately with decent screen, trackpad and keyboard it will sell like hot cakes.
  10. DakotaGuy macrumors 68040


    Jan 14, 2002
    South Dakota, USA
    I can’t believe Tim Cook’s Apple cares enough about the Mac at this point to put it through another lengthy and expensive transition. More ARM based products could be coming, but they will be more along the lines of an iOS product and less of a traditional PC.
  11. throAU macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    As keeps getting forgotten - the Mac sales within apple are a multi-billion dollar business in their own right.

    Whilst the mac lineup may look old and neglected there are various "legitimate" technical reasons for that (mostly intel not building the processors apple want, and thus there being no *worthwhile* upgrade path that matches the constraints Apple have set out).

    I say "legitimate" - because you or I may not agree with those technical reasons, but they do exist. In terms of processor performance and GPU performance intel has been going nowhere really for years. Coffee lake is the first worthwhile incremental (i.e., single step) upgrade since Sandy bridge really. Sure hopping multiple generations there have been worthwhile gains but not from a single step - for years.

    If intel are out of the picture, Apple can build what they want and update more frequently. It will also conveniently (for apple) kill the hackintosh scene.
  12. hardwickj macrumors member

    Sep 5, 2009
    Overstatement of the year. I'd say it's been downright chilly, and for good reason.
  13. nihil0 macrumors regular


    May 19, 2016
    this seems very biased to me - the only reason not to buy MB, MBP or iMac right now would be to wait for mid-year refresh

    only ones which are really not recommended would be MBA, Mini and MP
  14. throAU macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    Chronic keyboard reliability issues, overpriced and no better performing vs. the models they replaced.

    I got my 13" 2015 retina 3 years ago for $500 Australian (or about 20%) cheaper than i could buy the equivalent spec 2017 model. The performance is almost identical.

    The touch-bar is not worth $500 to me.

    The options that don't have it are inferior to my 2015 model.
  15. Val-kyrie macrumors 68000

    Feb 13, 2005
    Nope. The #1 reason to not buy a MB or MBP--the keyboard.
  16. nihil0 macrumors regular


    May 19, 2016
    my wife has 2016 Macbook 12" with no issues whatsoever regarding the keyboard or otherwise, so what you are stating is not entirely true... don't know about MBP's though
  17. smhh macrumors newbie


    Apr 22, 2012
    isn't there an ARM MacBook already?
    • iPad Pro with Keyboard

    or are we talking an affordable ARM based MacBook?
    • keyboard case for the new cheap iPad?
  18. joltcan macrumors newbie


    May 16, 2018
    Malmö, Sweden
    Makes perfect sense! The new app distribution package that is expected (apps that can run on both iOS/macos) could very well require a ARM CPU, by chance of course! :D
  19. nihil0 macrumors regular


    May 19, 2016
    I guess you are writing only about MBP then. What about iMac? The latest upgrades are significant for users who are using still non-retina versions.
  20. throAU macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    Polaris based GPUs are not enough for that display. The 21.5 can't have memory upgraded and storage is a bastard to upgrade (if its even possible).

    If you want more than 16 GB of RAM you're forced into the 27" even if you don't want a screen that big (or even a screen at all) and forced into a discrete GPU that you don't want because it's not good enough (would rather plug in one of the Vega cards i already own from my PC - rendering the discrete GPU inside it redundant - but i have to have it to get 32 GB of RAM).

    The upgrade to an i7 is criminally expensive and in the days of m.2 SSDs this should be upgrade-able via a slot like the RAM (which is also criminally expensive - yes i know RAM is expensive right now but all the more reason to have user upgrade-ability on this class of machine).
  21. slayerizer macrumors 6502a

    Nov 9, 2012
    The goal here is not to be processor independent from Intel. They just want to have a cheaper product with the same markup and can't afford doing that with the Intel line. Whatever they released will still be outdated soon.
  22. VulchR macrumors 68020


    Jun 8, 2009
    That is an excellent question. As long as there is a version of the Mac that doesn't cost a kidney and runs Windows natively on an Intel chip, I'm OK. However, if Apple switch to ARM entirely without being able to run Windows natively on the CPU, that would seriously damage the Apple ecosystem for me. Hopefully Apple won't forget their customers who have to operate in a Windows world...
  23. littyboy macrumors 6502a

    Jun 12, 2009
    Agreed. All I can think of is an underpowered machine that will probably run some sort of iOS-like MacOS to have the appearance of it being powerful but in reality, the resources to run the OS is minimal.
  24. throAU macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    You're not looking deep enough.

    Apple have not been getting what they want from intel for a long time now.

    This is a way to float the idea and get the processors into their notebooks. But mark my words, this isn't the end of it.

    Intel has been getting sub 10% performance improvements for almost a decade now. Apple has been getting 1.5x or more per year. Apple's AxX CPUs are already set to overtake intel on the low end this year - it won't be long before they're poised to put higher end variants in things like the Mac Pro, but they need the software support to be there.

    Which is why they're going to stick a CPU of that architecture in a volume seller to start with.
    --- Post Merged, May 29, 2018 ---
    Again... not looking far enough ahead.

    Look at the year on year gains Apple have made with their A series processors for the past 10 years.

    We're at a turning point. Intel is having major problems with 10nm and they haven't put out anything really exciting since sandy bridge in 2011.

    Performance per watt the A10X destroys anything in intel's lineup.

    Give it more power, more cores and higher clocks (as will be possible in a non-tablet or non-phone form factor) and watch it (or future variant of it, rather) fly.
  25. hajime macrumors 603

    Jul 23, 2007
    To those professional users, what are the advantages of having an ARM or LEG based laptop? Are they going to make such laptop a hybrid with touch screen compatible with Apple Pencil? I don't think so.

    Looks like Apple just tries to increase user base by diverging resources to lower-end cheaper laptops. Same thing as those cheaper iPad introduced few months ago.

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