Apple prepping A8-powered MacBook Air for 2014 release?

“Apple’s A7 Processor found in the iPad Air and iPhone 5S is a stunning achievement amongst mobile processors,” Mark Reschke writes for T-GAAP. “There is no chipset in its class and the industry knows it. Samsung, Intel, Qualcomm and nVIDIA all scrambling to play catchup. But for all its current achievements, the future glory of Apple’s A-series processors is likely to be found in what Steve Jobs described as ‘trucks’ — that is — desktops and laptops running OS X.”

“Apple heaping praise on its own A7 was not just an iPad Air promotion, it was Apple tipping their hat to the future plans of their Mac lineup. Looking at it another way, it’s a roadmap that has Intel nowhere to be found in Apple’s long-term future,” Reschke writes. “A next generation, all-new, MacBook Air is the most logical starting point for Apple to launch an A8 Mac… Apple’s ARM processors allow for easy heat dissipation, which delivers the MacBook Air a razor thin base, feeling as if it’s not much more than a keyboard with a bit of battery weight. The new A8 MacBook Air will simply be an amazingly thin and lightweight Mac, with battery life no one in the industry will be able to reach.”

“Apple should be able to deliver this revolutionary MacBook Air starting around $799 USD, with iLife and iWork apps ported and running natively right out of the box, with hundreds of thousands of iOS apps waiting in the wings,” Reschke writes. “Expect Apple to launch the all-new MacBook Air by August, only a few short months after its announcement at WWDC.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We’ll take several, please!

Think code convergence (more so than today) with UI modifications per device. A unified underlying codebase for Intel, Apple A-series, and, in Apple’s labs, likely other chips, too (just in case). This would allow for a single App Store for Mac, iPhone, and iPad users that features a mix of apps: Some that are touch-only, some that are Mac-only, and some that are universal (can run on both traditional notebooks and desktops as well as on multi-touch computers like iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and – pretty please, Apple – Apple TV). Don’t be surprised to see Apple A-series-powered Macs, either.MacDailyNews Take, January 9, 2014


    1. Initially Apple would ship both A8 laptops and Intel laptops for those that need the highest performance, Bootcamp, or Intel specific tools.

      If the A8 allows Apple to sell cheaper laptops without dropping margins, then Mac marketshare is going to explode. A super skinny A8 Macbook Lite selling for $600-800 would bring in a massive number of new Mac customers.

      Windows is screwed. Buy Apple stock. 🙂

  1. Not willing to bet the farm on this quite yet.

    Browsing & simple App actions are easy to see as the major activity in iOS. Running CS6 on iOS doesn’t sound like it would work.

    Now a mix of A8 + Intel, as suggested by the previous poster, could allow a MBAir to run iOS browsing mode for those functions, but get down to serious work with MacOSX.

      1. Yep. Run whatever version of OS X they come up with to access the iOS app store and run those apps, and I’m all over it. And imagine the explosion of high end apps at that point!

        1. Yes but the point is programs designed for current Macs would not run on an ARM processor without being recompiled for that processor. Not a huge issue if developers can do it and if you are on the APP store. But a big deal for all the software you might have that isn’t from the APP Store. In theory they could translate the instructions from Intel to A8, I suppose, like Apple did during the Power PC to Intel transition. But who the hell wants to relive that?!

  2. As before I’m against this unless its going to be as powerful as the i5 and i7! But I’m still against it because your talking a whole new platform change again, from G5 to Intel!

      1. IBM promised Apple a portable G5 for about 3 years before Apple figured out they were lying and abandoned PPC chips forever. IBM never did create a portable G5 chip.

        (The problem with the G5 was that it was power hungry and extremely hot running. That’s not acceptable in a laptop computer. Meanwhile, Intel had moved on to the Core series of CPUs, branching off the Pentium line, which were perfect for Apple laptops).

      1. You obviously didn’t live through the PowerPC to Intel transition. The result was crashy, slow software and a jarring user experience. And then Apple will pull the compatibility layer out from under developers and users and a bunch of software will only work on some of a users’ computers. This would be ugly.

  3. Not likely. Apple isn’t going to support two processor lines for their desktop OS. Neither will developers. ARM based chips might be fine for an Macbook Air product, but they wouldn’t cut it for an iMac let alone the Mac Pro line.
    Further, the A series chips are system on chips, not just CPUs. A Mac based system is going to need much more memory and more powerful graphics, etc.

    1. I agree. It is far more likely that apple will create bigger more powerful iPad models that will eventually replace the MacBook line. I see no need for another chip transition for a platform that will become more and more marginal if we believe Jobs’ vision.

  4. The A8 would have to be extremely powerful to accomplish such a feat. The SoC would need to have a transcoder built-in that could take Intel code and translate it to ARM (the same way Rosetta took PowerPC code and translated it to Intel). The question then being, how efficient would that be over just continuing to use Intel?

    If there is no method of translating current Mac apps on this new computer, then I have serious doubt they would ever release such a thing. After the fiasco that was Windows RT, there’s no way Apple would make the same mistake.

    If there’s an inkling of truth to all of this, and Apple does have a “new” laptop in the wings, I’d put my money on an iOS based laptop. And as I’ve stated before, I also see them releasing an all-in-one desktop model. Both of which would have a user experience much like that of the iPad.

    1. +10

      I’ve read down all the postings here, and Michael you are the first to correctly understand the stupidity of what this article proposes (once again MDN’s technical illiteracy is on full display in its take). Yes, an A8 powered MacBook is Surface RT all over again, and I trust Apple not to repeat that mistake.

  5. This is the future for the MacBook air and maybe the iMac on the consumer side, Apple should stay with Intel processors on the Pro side. I can see the $799 a MB Air and a iMac.

  6. I think that there is a possibility Apple would replace the whole pipeline with their own processor in the future. Then what will the relationship with Intel go? It is great that they make the most efficient, proper brain. But is it only me to think that Apple seems more closed their platform?

  7. Call me skeptical. I don’t really want to transition to another chip set. I lost a lot of game programs I liked when Apple went from PowerPC to Intel. That was an amazingly good transition with Apple providing a weird but functional way to run PowerPC apps on Intel chips. But then they dropped that compatibility layer (for understandable reasons). But these transitions did cause a bunch of software to become obsolete.

    They’d have to have an extremely efficient (fast and not power hungry) way to convert instructions for Intel to their ARM chip. Or people would need to buy whole new libraries of software. Those of us who rely on programs from Adobe remember the pain of running Power PC Photoshop on Intel. Hell, we still don’t have all the software features the PowerPC had (variations?). And don’t give me Pixelmater. Nice for what it does, but it lacks a lot of what PS and AI do. And when you need to trade files with others, you need things to work cross platform. Also, they’d need to replace their whole line. Who wants two sets of software depending on which computer you happen to be using?

  8. Maybe Derek will read this…

    An AMD/ARM combo chip could be made.
    Remember, the AMD runs PC stuff, BUT it’s a RISC chip, NOT CISC.
    So, one more time. To run FCPX, or some other heavy duty thing, you’re not going to run it on an A7.
    I really do think Apple needs ONE chip to run ALL it’s software
    Nobody wants “Rosseta” software.
    If you run on an AMD/ARM chip, there is NO NEED for that.
    Apple has hired at least one person from AMD. Gee, I wonder what that guy’s up to?
    Btw, MDN showed a picture of a double screened MacBook.
    I believe it was from an Apple patent.
    If anyone knows how I can find that, PLEASE help.
    I saw it, now I can’t find it. It looked cool.

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