Apple Working on Three New Macs Featuring Custom Co-Processors; New iPad Launching Later This Year

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In a new report detailing Apple’s ambitions on creating its own chips to finally getting around to challenging Intel and Qualcomm, Bloomberg has also revealed that Apple is working on “three updated Mac” models that will feature its own custom co-processors. This includes a new desktop Mac and updated laptops.

The recently released iMac Pro was the first iMac from Apple to feature its own custom co-processor. The TouchBar variant of the MacBook Pro also features the company’s T1 chipset which powers the OLED TouchBar display. On the iMac Pro, the custom co-processor is used for improved security and handling the initial boot process.

Apple is working on at least three updated Mac models with custom co-processors for release as soon as this year, including updated laptops and a new desktop, according to a person familiar with the plan.

The report also claims that Apple will be launching a new iPad towards the end of this year that will feature the company’s own custom designed GPU. Apple started using its own custom designed GPUs starting with the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone X. Before that, the company used to source its GPUs from Imagination Technologies.

Our Take

Apple has solely relied on Intel CPUs for its Mac lineup but has started using its own custom co-processor in recent variants for certain tasks. Given that Apple’s custom chips are not based on the x86 platform, they cannot replace Intel chips in Macs. However, these custom chips are better suited for certain low-level tasks and scenarios where they can be more power efficient and faster than Intel chips.

Apple already uses custom-designed SoCs inside all its mobile devices. This includes the iPhone, iPad and the Apple Watch. The custom chips offer superior performance than competing chips from Qualcomm which are used by the majority of Android OEMs out there.

[Via Bloomberg]