Apple is said to be designing a new chip that would look to take on more of the functionality that is currently handeled by Intel processors, according to a new report from Bloomberg.
According to sources who spoke to the site, the chip went into development last year and is similar to one used in the latest MacBook Pro to power the keyboard’s much touted Touch Bar. The new chip – codenamed T310 – will supposedly handle some of the computer’s low-power mode functionality. It is built using ARM tech and will work with an Intel Processor.
Apple has long sought independence in chip-making, having used its own A-Series processors inside iPhones and iPads since 2010. This new chip is a step in that direction to maintain its chip business as one of the company's most critical long-term investments.
Apple first introduced an ARM-based chip – the T1 – in last October's MacBook Pro update. The T1 powers the keyboard's Touch Bar and some security features such as the enclave that stores payment and biometric data tied to the computer’s fingerprint reader.
One of the biggest changes this new chip will reportedly bring is to the Mac's low-power 'Power Nap' feature. This function, which allows Mac laptops to retrieve emails, install updates and perform a variety of background tasks with the display shut, will shift over to the new chip to conserve more power.
According to one of the sources, Apple building its own chips would allow the company to more tightly integrate its hardware and software functions, and have more autonomy over the cost of components for its devices. This change could come as soon as this year, when the firm will reportedly update its MacBook range after a poor reaction to its lack of power.