Apple Working on Trio of New Macs With Custom Co-Processors That Could Launch This Year

Apple is developing at at least three new Mac models integrated with custom co-processors, including updated notebooks and a new desktop, according to Mark Gurman, reporting for Bloomberg News.

The report claims the new models could be released as early as this year, but it doesn't specify which ones they'll be. Of course, Apple's notebook lineup includes the MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro, while its desktop lineup includes the iMac and iMac Pro, Mac Pro, and aging Mac mini.

In terms of notebooks, the MacBook and MacBook Pro are the most likely candidates for a refresh this year, as the MacBook Air has not received any meaningful updates since March 2015, nearly three years ago, and it seems like Apple is only keeping it around for its $999 price tag at this point.

MacBook Pro with Touch Bar models released in 2016 and later are already equipped with Apple's custom T1 chip that authenticates and secures Touch ID and Apple Pay respectively, and it's possible the notebook could be updated with a newer chip that offloads even more tasks from the main Intel processor.

MacBook models do not feature a custom co-processor, but unless Apple is planning to extend the Touch Bar to the 12-inch notebooks, it remains to be seen if there would be much necessity for a T-series chip.

There's also a single rumor from DigiTimes, which doesn't have the most reliable track record, claiming Apple will release a new entry-level 13-inch MacBook in the second half of this year. It's unclear if this model would be a potential MacBook Air replacement, or where else it would slot in Apple's notebook lineup.

Shifting to desktops, the iMac Pro is already equipped with Apple's custom T2 chip for enhanced security and integration. The co-processor integrates several previously separate components, including the system management controller, image signal processor, audio controller, and SSD controller.

The T2 chip has a Secure Enclave that makes the iMac Pro even more secure with new encrypted storage and secure boot capabilities. It's possible Apple could extend this co-processor to standard iMac models this year.

Apple has also confirmed it is working on an all-new modular Mac Pro, although it only revealed that its release date would come at some point after 2017. And the Mac mini has gone over 1,200 days without an update, according to the MacRumors Buyer's Guide, and the portable computer could sorely use a refresh.

Much of the Bloomberg News report is focused on Apple's shift towards in-house chip design, reducing its dependance on companies like Qualcomm and Imagination Tech, so further details about the new Macs are scant.

Related Roundups: iMac, Mac Pro, Mac mini, MacBook Pro, iMac Pro

Top Rated Comments

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26 months ago
Just fix the crappy keyboards and invest more in MacOS. No need to be overly clever. Oh, and we don’t need laptops thinner anymore. Trading off battery life and keyboard action is taking things way too far, and again, no one cares at this point.
Rating: 64 Votes
26 months ago
Just make a powerful MacBook Pro13-inch without a Touch Bar, but with a powerful graphics card, by March.
Rating: 33 Votes
26 months ago
We'll see. These days, when I see the term "enhanced security and integration", I no longer think that is a good thing. I only see "locked into Apple ecosystem." The days of Apple being the most standard and open computing platform are sadly over.
Rating: 26 Votes
26 months ago
How about making at least 512GB storage standard on a "Pro" machine?
Rating: 18 Votes
26 months ago
Anyone else feeling like Tallahassee looking for Twinkies when there's no news on a Mac Mini?
Rating: 14 Votes
26 months ago
Might be a bit off topic, but am I the only one that is a bit scared of the idea of a "Modular" Mac Pro? Using the term modular makes it sound like Apples going to sell me a piece of hardware that is only upgradable via purchasing (probably expensive) proprietary components from them directly. What I really want is an updated version of the cheese grater with support for multiple processors, high wattage psu, and the latest off the shelf gpu. The fans can even be as loud as a 787 taking off if need be. I basically want an upgradable high end PC running macOS with Apple's support.

Am I alone in this line of thought?
Rating: 12 Votes
26 months ago
Could Apple just clean up their product line please?

Macbook (13"), Macbook Pro (15")

Mac Mini, iMac (21"), iMac Pro (27"), Mac Pro

iPad, iPad Pro

iPhone, iPhone Plus

The Macbook Air has been a great computer for years but its time for it to go. It is a clear outlier in the product line. Also, I'm all for the iPad "Air" just drop the "Air" to make all of the product lines consistent across the board. One other note that goes along with that.... can we get Touch Bars on ALL keyboards or NO keyboards across the product please? Seems ridiculous to only offer it on 1(1.5?) apple products.
Rating: 12 Votes
26 months ago
As long as there’s an upgradable (RAM and dual hard drives) Mac mini to go alongside the Mac Pro, I’ll be happy.
Rating: 11 Votes
26 months ago
This may end the hacks....
Rating: 9 Votes
26 months ago

Bring it on. If Apple can out-perform Intel & AMD OR remain on par but extend the battery life of mobile devices, I'm all for it.

An 8 core A12 in a MacBook Pro would be awesome if it gets 10 hours of battery.

Too bad if it also has to work with software that I use for my work (which has involved designing chips for Apple)... I do *not* want a transition from Intel /AMD architecture - because I need more than a glorified iPad...
Rating: 9 Votes

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