Apple Replaces Last Remaining Intel-Made Component in M2 MacBook Air

In the M2 MacBook Air, Apple has replaced an Intel-made component responsible for controlling the USB and Thunderbolt ports with a custom-made controller, meaning the last remnants of Intel are now fully out of the latest Mac.

M2 MacBook Air 2022 Feature0008
Earlier this month, the repair website iFixit shared a teardown of the new ‌MacBook Air‌, revealing a look inside the completely redesigned machine. One subtle detail that went largely unnoticed was that unlike previous Macs, the latest ‌MacBook Air‌ introduces custom-made controllers for the USB and Thunderbolt ports.

iFixit mentioned it in their report, noting they located a "seemingly Apple-made Thunderbolt 3 driver, instead of the Intel chips we're familiar with." The new component was shared on Twitter earlier today, where it received more attention.

Few details are known about the controllers, including whether they're custom-made by Apple or a third party. In May 2021, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman reported that Apple planned to "replace the last remaining Intel part with an in-house version. Apple's current M1 Macs still use an Intel component known as a USB Retimer, which helps power the USB-C and Thunderbolt ports on its computer."

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Top Rated Comments

Manzanito Avatar
2 weeks ago

Take note: Pat Gelsinger. Their ain't no going back, Apple's business is forever lost to Intel!
Nonsense. Businesses don’t work like that, if it makes sense for both companies, they’ll work together in the future.
Score: 33 Votes (Like | Disagree)
peteyD Avatar
2 weeks ago

Nonsense. Businesses don’t work like that, if it makes sense for both companies, they’ll work together in the future.
There is no place on the internet for grown up comments like this.
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
darngooddesign Avatar
2 weeks ago
That's what Intel gets for releasing chump chips instead of innovating.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Nicole1980 Avatar
2 weeks ago

Wonder how the tech world will change should Intel go bust. Ain’t gonna happen in short term of course, and Intel isn’t sitting duck either.

With that being said, now Apple everything in the Mac is fully self-designed, lets See how much jump apple can make on M3.
I actually don't think we'll see big leaps with the Mx architecture anymore. The big transformational change was the M1, so I think now we'll see the same basic 10-20% increases (at best) with each new chip release.

People were always squawking when Intel was only making a 12% increase with any new chip and now we're probably going to see the same pace with Apple's silicon.

Mind you, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that, and the Mx is fantastic. I just don't think you'll see anything close to the huge jump again like we did from Intel to the M1.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
repoman27 Avatar
2 weeks ago
To clarify, the Thunderbolt/USB4 host controller and PHY are integrated into the M1/M2 SoC and are based on Synopsys DesignWare IP ('https://www.synopsys.com/designware-ip/interface-ip/usb/usb4.html'). The Intel JHL8040R ('https://ark.intel.com/content/www/us/en/ark/products/186251/intel-jhl8040r-thunderbolt-4-retimer.html') is just a Thunderbolt 4 retimer chip. The M2 version of the 13-inch MacBook Pro also uses the new U09PY3 retimer. iFixit missed that, but competitive analysis firm TechanaLye noticed it ('https://eetimes.itmedia.co.jp/ee/articles/2207/21/news031.html') and has already opened the chip and reported on their findings.

Nobody has publicly reported whether the U09PY3 is a semi-custom offering from a third party supplier, or if it was developed in-house by Apple. The latter strikes me as unlikely, because it's an odd component to dedicate resources to when third-party solutions are already available from long-time Apple supplier Parade ('https://www.paradetech.com/products/ps8830/') and recent startup Kandou ('https://kandou.com/matterhorn.html').
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ProfessionalFan Avatar
2 weeks ago

Wonder how long it will take Apple to get the new chips to work correctly given their current strategy of release for the keynote and make it work later when complaints arise.
What's wrong with M2 currently?
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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