Apple Developing ARM-Based Mac Chip to Handle Low-Power Functions Alongside Intel Processors
Apple is developing a new ARM-based chip for its Mac lineup that would "take on more of the functionality" handled by Intel processors, reports Bloomberg.
In development since last year, the chip, codenamed T310, is said to be similar to the chip used to power the Touch Bar in the new 2016 Macbook Pro. It's built using ARM technology and will work with the standard Intel processor, handling "Power Nap" low-power mode functionality.
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.
Apple's 2016 MacBook Pro uses an independent ARM-based chip called the T1 to power the Touch Bar, the Touch ID fingerprint sensor built into the Touch Bar, and the secure enclave that stores payment and biometric data.
According to Bloomberg's report, the upcoming ARM-based chip will "go further," connecting to storage and wireless components to take on additional power management capabilities.
Apple could begin using the new chip in an upgraded version of the MacBook Pro set to launch later this year, but it could be introduced as a quiet update with little fanfare as the chip that powers the Touch Bar was not promoted by Apple.
Despite Apple's plans to offload some tasks to a new ARM chip, Apple is said to have no intention of abandoning Intel chips in its laptop and desktop computers.