Apple is apparently designing a new chip for its Mac laptops which will work in conjunction with the current crop of Intel processors. The chip has been in the development phase from the last one year and will be similar to the one used in current MacBook Pro. The chip is designed to handle some of the low-power mode functionality and is also expected to power the Touch Bar feature.
Codenamed T310 the chip is built based on ARM technology and will work in tandem with an Intel processor. Until now Apple has been mostly relying on Intel for its MacBook lineup and has been pretty slow when it comes to the upgrade cycle. The development of Apple-designed chipset hints at the company’s plan to reduce their dependency on Intel for its Mac lineup. Apple has been using the A-Series processors in iPhones and iPads since 2010 and the chip business has become one of its most crucial investments.
Apple has already used its first ARM-based Mac chip called the T1 in the new MacBook Pro and this chip powers the Touch Bar. It’s pretty clear that Apple wants to offload its low power tasks to the ARM-based chip, something similar to what they did with the co-processor in iPhone. The function would further allow Mac laptops to sync emails, install updates and also sync other items without powering on the display. Opting for an ARM chip is further expected to bring down the battery consumption during the Power Nap mode.
The T1 ARM Chip in current MacBook Pro is meant only for the Touch Bar functionality, however moving on in the future, the ARM processor will also connect to other parts of Mac’s system and offload certain burdens from the main processor. It’s quite likely that Apple might not market the feature as they already have a power saving feature in place. Apple has its own advantages when it comes to building its own chip, first, the cost will be reduced eventually.
Apple will have more control and this will allow them to integrate the hardware more closely. That said, Apple is not going to ditch the intel chip in entirety. Apple’s new chip is expected to be available in the MacBook Pro update arriving in the second half of this year.