There is a lot of attention being paid to reports that Apple plans on bridging its macOS and iOS apps in a big way, with some speculating that, some day, Apple may simply have apps available for all of its platforms for a unified user experience across devices.
Getting there might take some time, but it sounds like Apple could be at least building devices to test a future where that’s the reality, and not just a hypothetical situation. 9to5Mac has a report out on Friday that details what is codenamed “Star”, which could be the company’s first iOS-based notebook, or the first Mac-branded device with an ARM-based processor under the hood.
Or “something completely different”.
The details of what project Star is remains pretty light at the moment. According to the publication, the device, which is reportedly water resistant, features built-in LTE connectivity, has a touchscreen, and uses Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI, which is what Apple uses on Macs), is being produced right now Apple supply partner Pegatron out of China. The device has been in some stage of manufacturing since January of this year, with prototypes now being circulated within Apple campus for employees to test.
The report indicates that the device, whatever it ends up being, may see a ship date in 2020. That date is relevant because it lines up with a previous report that suggested Apple was planning on adopting ARM-based processors in its Mac lineup, effectively dropping its reliance on Intel for processors, by 2020. Those dates would line up, so it’s possible that project Star is the first ARM-based Mac.
It should also be noted that this device is being classified as a whole new family of devices, and not just another Mac or iOS device. However, it does run a derivative of iOS. However, device families under Apple’s roof simply mean a differential of features and specs. So the iPad and iPhone fit into device families 2 and 1, respectively. So while this might be classified as a different device family from a Mac, it’s more likely that simply falls down to the specs difference, insofar that the ARM processor would support built-in LTE and GPS, which the standard Mac lineup does not.
Nothing official by any means, and we probably won’t be hearing about anything like this at WWDC next month. But there’s something to be excited about for the future, if Star ever sees the light of day beyond the prototype stage.
All things considered, and with previous rumors, it sounds like we could be seeing the first Mac with an ARM processor under the hood. Of course, this particular rumor including the possibility that this new device features a touchscreen (and water resistance!) does lend some credence to a hybrid device, too. What is project Star? The possibilities are exciting, and it’s a shame we’re going to have to wait quite a long time to find out.