Intel’s Broadwell chip will allow Apple to finally go Retina with MacBook Air

“The new Core processors and graphics chipsets that Intel launched on Monday will allow Apple to build a MacBook Air with a higher-resolution Retina screen without sacrificing battery life,” Gregg Keizer reports for Computerworld. “‘Apple represents the customers that Intel most wants to serve,’ said Shane Rau, PC chip analyst with IDC. ‘Even on the lower end, [Broadwell] could run a high-resolution screen.'”

“Overall, Intel touted the new Broadwell chips and accompanying graphics cores as faster, smaller — they’re based on the 14-nanometer manufacturing process, a reduction from the previous generation’s 22-nanometer — and more power efficient,” Keizer reports. “The performance and power improvements would make possible a Retina-equipped MacBook Air — Apple’s lightest, thinnest notebook — without sacrificing battery life or changing the laptop’s external design, experts said.”

Keizer reports, “‘Broadwell is largely about power consumption and density,’ said Ezra Gottheil of Technology Business Research. ‘If you’re being held back by the battery lifespan, you might make a tradeoff with Broadwell,’ Gottheil said, adding that Apple could equip the Air with a power-hungry Retina display while maintaining the notebook’s streamlined profile.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: ”Apple represents the customers that Intel most wants to serve.”

Not so long ago, that statement would get you laughed off the Internet.


  1. It must really chafe Apple to have to wait on Intel to provide chips that will enable things Apple has ready for production. This is why Macs will eventually run on A-series Apple chips.

    1. Intel royally screwed up the Haswell release and the Broadwell release bodes similar delays. No doubt Apple is chafing at this point!

      (But no. Macs aren’t going to move to A-series chips, as has been extensively debated here throughout 2014. Apple buying Intel would be far more likely, not that I’m starting rumors).

      1. DC, are you saying no Macs on A series CPUs ever? Or just the next year or two? I agree that a near term move is unlikely. apple needs another generation or two of the A series and the native Windows compatibility of Intel processors is still a selling point.

        But Intel appears to be rapidly approaching the performance limits of its CPU architecture. With Broadwell at 14nm, there is little gold yo be mined in circuit shrinkage. in the absence of a design breakthrough, Intel is limited by its legacy circuit elements. That leaves an opening for Apple IMO.

        1. What’s going on from my POV is:
          a) Total misunderstanding of the basic, profound difference between CISC CPUs (Intel) versus RISC CPUs (A-Series).
          b) Total miscomprehension of the required re-write of code required to switch between the two CPUs. I’m not talking about the OS X kernel. I’m talking about everything.
          c) The A-Series chips are designed for lower CPU speed and cycle requiring iOS devices. They are not yet capable to running a full, professional level Mac.
          d) There is no evidence that the A-Series chips will be able to pick up the now lagging Moore’s Law evident in Intel’s CPU schedule. What’s needed is further development of new CPU technology.

          I’m not going to go into a technology explanation again. Instead, I simply advise people to go study these technologies and stop bombing chat areas with half-baked superficial concepts of the future. It’s a lot more complicated that simply switching chips.

          1. Your aren’t too far off, but your hubris is the same as Intel’s. Absolutely the A-series is not ready for replacing Intel processors yet or anytime soon (next year or so).

            However, one of the reasons that super computing has taken off in the past decade has been the introduction of massively parrallel processors. There really is nothing standing in the way of Apple creating a “massively parallel” Mac using A-series processors, that could replace and exceed the cpu designs of Intel. A supercomputer on your desktop! (Much scaled down of course.) Mac OS X has slowly been evolving to allow such a parallel processor system, without developers having to rewrite their application code. I suspect that Swift is one of Apple’s tactics to get developers to write parallel processing friendly code (it is built in/automatic) so that the transition is as smooth as possible. There are still improvements to be made before this can happen, but it is not far fetched at all.

            1. Mac OS X has slowly been evolving to allow such a parallel processor system, without developers having to rewrite their application code.

              Ok. PROVE IT.

              I think what you’re describing regarding parallel computing sounds great! But Intel CISC code running on RISC processors? Do you actually know you’re talking about? I really doubt it.

        2. This is a limit that software instruction sets are bolted into (i.e. x86 is notorious for wasting cycles)

          Apple has not found a balance yet (ARM is finding some ground)

          Give a generation or two over the outdated x86 instruction set architecture, and the advent of METAL and SWIFT to give apple the boost it needs to bypass intel’s antique architecture as if in the dust…

          ARM is just the beginning. we will see Apple introduce a whole new paradigm that allows apple to fly (as if they are not already)

          Apple has the engineers, the software, AND the hardware so don’t underestimate them….

          just a prediction, please iCal me for 2016…..

  2. Dell has surpassed Apple with the smaller Retina notebook:

    XPS 13 (9343) Released in January 2015, comes with the new Intel’s new Intel Broadwell processors, includes a renovated 3200×1800 touchscreen of 13.3″ with a very thin frame, claims up to 15 hours and many other improvements.

    Unless Apple will do something better — for example, screen with better colour (this Dell only has 72% of sRGB) — it would mean that Dell got the edge this time.

        1. Things always go backwards and forwards in terms of who leads in this sort of thing on paper, Apple simply usually sets the overall trends. Racing to stay ahead in any one aspect for the sake of it is pretty pointless, it’s the overall package that must take precidence. Apple a long time ago in specs fell behind stated screen resolution on iPhones yet the present generation is destroying the opposition. Resolution specs for the sake of it rather like the 4K monitors recently released mean very little in their own right and further if Apple leaves it till its ready to upgrade its overall package with higher res retina as a part then so be it. We have had enough of rushing things thanks. But one thing is for sure Dell desperately needs to follow their route to try to maintain any sense of relevance a game Apple has no need to play.

    1. Yeah right. Dell, HP, etc could build the computer out of Intel Unobtanium Supreme processors and it would still have to run Windows.

      Windows, the super colossal skid mark on the computing world’s underwear.

    2. You have to include volume production in any commentary of other computer producers. It’s probably not hard to put together superior hardware assuming Dell is will to have lower volumes and lower profit.

      However if Apple does a design it has to plan for millions of unit sales and a reasonable profit (or at least a traditional one). If they can’t get millions of high res displays it makes no sense to design the product in the first place.

      Dell might only need to plan on 100K unit sales – much easier to source.

  3. I am in the market for a new Macbook AIr.

    APPLE !!! I don’t need a thinner Macbook Air.

    I want the battery to last 14 hours!!!!! Battery, Battery Battery.

    NOT thin, thin, thin.


Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.