Apple has been slowly expanding its chip design process. Starting with the A4 back in 2010, its latest A11 Bionic 64-bit ARM SoC powers the 2017 model iPhones. And Apple hasn't stopped there, creating its own GPU and a neural AI chip. According to a new report, the company could be expanding its chips even further, with three of its coming Mac products likely having custom Apple ARM co-processors.
The new report from Bloomberg reveals that Apple is currently working on three new Mac products that will have custom chips, while still using Intel as the main processor. Right now, only the MacBook Pro and iMac Pro contain custom ARM chips for greater security. The MacBook Pro contains a T1 chip, which handles Touch Bar functionality and the Touch ID sensor, allowing your fingerprint to stay on the secure enclave instead of on the laptop's SSD drive. The iMac Pro offers a T2 coprocessor, which encrypts data real time and handles more processes than the T1, including things like the microphone, the camera, and the cooling fans.
Just what these news Macs could be is open to speculation, although Bloomberg's source thinks two will be laptops. A new Mac Pro is in the works, so that could be the desktop unit, while the laptops could be anything from a newly devised MacBook Air replacement to a 12- or 13-inch MacBook.
Apple has been looking for ways to cut its reliance on outside chip makers, slowly working its own processors more into its devices. The company's ongoing legal feud with Qualcomm has more than soured that relationship, while as late as November, Apple had been exploring ways to minimize its continued use of Intel products, probably since by that time it already knew of the inherent Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities that ended up affecting all Apple devices.