10th Anniversary MacBook Air Redesign with A-series processor

in Future Apple Hardware edited August 2018
Intel has announced that they won't have 10nm processors ready until late 2019.

Apple's been shipping products with 10nm processors for over a year already.

Apple is already hitting massive thermal limits in their high-end MacBook Pros due to Intel's 10nm manufacturing issues.

Apple's A11X & A12 chips are already hitting insane benchmark scores, outperforming the 2017 12" MacBook in every way, and nearing the performance of the 13" MacBook Pros.

Apple's T2 chip has made its way onto the new MacBook Pros.

The T2 chip is now completely taking over a lot of the controllers and tasks that used to be done by the main Intel CPU.

With the T3 chip, is it possible that they could replace the Intel CPU with their own A-series (or new series) chip, for huge CPU and graphics performance while maintaining great battery life and thermal levels?

What do you guys think? Is it possible now or are we a year or two out?


  • Reply 1 of 6
    asciiascii Posts: 5,936member
    I don't think the T chip will grow to replace the main CPU. Yes it is taking over functions, but only a very particular kind of function: disk encryption, camera, microphone -- all security and privacy related. What Apple is doing is putting all sensitive things on a separate CPU so that even if you get malware on your main CPU it still can not access those things.

    That said, the A-series chips are fast enough to replace the Intel CPU in the Macbook Air, so from a hardware perspective they could make a Macbook Air with T and A chips right now. But are they ready on the software side? When they did the last two CPU transitions they gave developers at least a year's notice. And Tim Cook is a very cautious person, I can't see him doing it without giving people sufficient notice.
  • Reply 3 of 6
    So I guess we'd have to have an announcement a good amount of time before this can happen.

    Is there any way possible that they can use new T and A (or new series) chips without having any effect on software development?

    Both AMD and Intel chips run perfectly fine for all Windows OS. Or were there slightly different versions of Windows that are custom tuned for each?

  • Reply 4 of 6
    asciiascii Posts: 5,936member
    Anything is possible in software, no program knows whether it is running on an emulator or real hardware, its turtles all the way down. So yes they could pull off some magic software trick and do a surprise release.
  • Reply 5 of 6
    thttht Posts: 5,133member
    It was possible a year ago, let alone this year or next. The A10X in the 2017 iPad Pro performances about the same as a 15 W Intel processor, the ones currently in the MBP13 FN key models. It would enable a great machine, like imagine the MB12, but 8 mm thick, and performing like a MBP13 FN model.

    The biggest issues with these sorts of transitions is supporting “legacy” software. There are always orphaned and unsupported software that won’t be updated and can only be supported through x86 emulation, which could mean a huge hit in performance. Then, there will be apps that won’t make the transition because it will take too much effort by the developer, there will be developers who will want users to pay full price “again” for the software even if the conversion costs nothing, and the loss of Boot Camp means some fraction of buyers simply won’t buy because they have to have MS Windows support.

    As always, the biggest impediment to success for a PC is getting Adobe and MS to support the system. Apple will have to make a deal, ie, pay them in some way. With Office and Adobe CC Suite support, it means the machine can be use for basically all businesses, which is quite the huge market.
  • Reply 6 of 6
    dhagan4755dhagan4755 Posts: 2,152member
    The groundwork is being laid right now. The biggest tells are:
    • macOS 10.14 Mojave is the last macOS to support 32-bit Mac apps; only 64-bit apps will work in macOS 10.15; and,
    • Allowing developers to re-work their iOS apps to run as native Mac apps.
    Like they did at the WWDC in 2005, Apple will announce its intentions to switch processors — this time to the ARM architecture — for the Mac at WWDC 2019. Much like Steve did at the WWDC in '05, keynote demos will be unsuspectedly made on an ARM-based Mac. Apple will say at the next WWDC that it plans on releasing Macs with Intel processors beginning in 2020.

    The coinciding news will have other major ramifications. I expect Apple will also bring the Apple Music app over to the Mac, thus relegating iTunes to legacy software that will get phased out. Additionally I expect Apple to bring its TV app to the Mac. By then Apple will have made its entertainment plans known. Having a TV app on the Mac will seem like a natural fit. In addition to major improvements in the mail apps on both iOS and Mac, as well as improvements to Apple Photos, I think WWDC next year will be a very memorable and major year for Apple.
    edited August 2018
Sign In or Register to comment.