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Super Issue XLII

by M.G. Siegler


Apple Said to Work on Mac Chip That Would Lessen Intel Role

Mark Gurman and Ian King on a new chip Apple is working on apparently bound for the Mac lineup:

The chip, which went into development last year, is similar to one already used in the latest MacBook Pro to power the keyboard’s Touch Bar feature, the people said. The updated part, internally codenamed T310, would handle some of the computer’s low-power mode functionality, they said. The people asked not to be identified talking about private product development. It’s built using ARM Holdings Plc. technology and will work alongside an Intel processor.


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.

Baby steps towards a world in which Apple more fully controls what's inside the Mac. Intel may not be going away anytime soon, but it will happen eventually. Given the success Apple has had with the iPhone/iPad chips, how important battery life is to them, and most crucially, how important setting their own release cadence is to them, this is inevitable. 


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