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Apple to design upscaled A-series processor to power Macs?

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MacBook Air

Apple’s range of Mac computing products could soon be powered by processors designed in Cupertino, according to a new report on Wednesday.

According to the analysts at KGI Research (via 9to5Mac) the company wants to upscale the A-series chips from the iPhone and iPad, in order to use them within MacBook and iMac models

Currently the company uses Intel Core i-series processors to power the laptops and desktops, but that may begin to change in the next year or so, according to the report.

In a KGI chart, it is claimed a 10nm FinFET chip called A10X chip will go into mass production in 2015/2016 and will sit within Mac computers. The chart also says the chip itself will be built by Samsung.

The analysts, who are wide of the mark as often as they hit it, say using chips designed in-house would enable Apple to take better control of its product release schedules.

Down the years there have been multiple instances of Apple’s Mac computers suffering delays due to the wait for Intel’s newest generation chips.

The report states: “Apple may launch Mac products that use own AP [Application Processor] in next 1-2 years. This prediction is based on the assumption that Apple’s self-developed AP performs at a level between Intel’s Atom and Core i3 and is good enough for Mac. Using self developed AP can help Apple better control the timing of Mac launches and Mac product features.”

Read more: MacBook Pro vs MacBook Air - Which is right for you?

This suggests Apple wouldn’t be placing its in-house chips into its higher end machines, but base models. Perhaps an entry-level MacBook Air toting an A-series chip could be on the cards?

mode11

January 15, 2015, 12:24 am

I call BS. No current Mac has anything less than an i5, let alone i3 or Atom. This entry MBA would have no compatibility with existing OS X Intel software, and with such a weak CPU, emulation wouldn't be an option.

Also, Apple could hardly guarantee more reliable CPU launches than Intel. They've already been there with PPC (albeit with Motorola).

Luke

September 8, 2015, 8:27 am

They're designing the chip themselves. What if it was hardware emulation?

Much like NVidia plan(ned) to do with their Denver Cores.

mode11

September 8, 2015, 11:59 am

Since I wrote the above comment (8 months ago), Core M has come out, which seems to be in the ballpark of the mooted A10X chip. Not sure which works out cheaper or more power efficient though.

This goes double when emulating a CPU of a completely different instruction set. Hardware emulation = transistors, which increases power consumption and fabrication costs.

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