With Apple’s next round of Macs likely to include Intel’s Ivy Bridge processors recently confirmed for an April launch, there is still some speculation about which processors from the lineup will land in certain Macs. Rumors today point toward a refreshed iMac. Moreover, new Benchmark tests (via tonymacx86) submitted to Geekbench show Apple’s desktop operating system performing with the 3.5GHz Quad-Core i7-3770K, which is one of Intel’s most powerful Ivy Bridge chips suitable for desktops.

Note: The “Mac Pro” in the above screen capture is the profile used by the Hackintosh user, not the hardware. Also, note that the user had to modify the kernel to employ these new chips, which will also see further optimizations by Apple.

Geekbench user “hiwa” obviously had to use a Hackintosh to boot with the new chip. A Z77 motherboard was used in this case. Some benchmarks listed by the user demonstrate scores higher than any current Apple hardware. It is unclear what machine the benchmarks performed on, but it is clear Ivy Bridge is posting some impressive results compared with current Mac hardware.

While the benchmarks above show the Core i7-3770K desktop chip, Intel Product Manager Anand Kajshmanan claimed Apple’s MacBooks (likely to include Ivy Bridge CPUs in the near future) would face strong competition from Intel-powered Ultrabooks. In an interview with PC World, Anand was asked why a person would choose an Ultrabook over a MacBook Air or even an iPad:

The MacBook Air is a great product, sure. It has the Intel Core processor, it’s a great choice for someone who wants to invest in the Mac operating system, and it offers some of the things we talked about. But really, with the Ultrabook, it’s about offering all those things in the same device–the great responsiveness, the great battery life–and with an operating system that people have come to love over the years, as well as all the legacy applications that they would like to run… And they want to do all this at mainstream price points, which is where we think one of the biggest key differentiators is, and the biggest value that Intel can bring to this space.

As for the iPad eating into Ultrabook sales, Intel is betting touchscreens on Ultrabooks to “take off” with Windows 8 in 2012 and 2013, but it said iPad could not beat Ultrabooks for content creation:

The Ultrabook offers an extremely unique value proposition. Every time we’ve done market research, consumers have told us, “We love touch, but don’t touch our keyboards.” Even for email, people prefer keyboards. There’s no tactile feedback on touchscreens… The fact that you have content creation on Ultrabooks is a huge differentiator. Plus, with all the unique form factors, as we said, to be able to use the Ultrabook as a tablet when you want to is an extremely unique value proposition…We fundamentally believe in the concept of touch, and touch on a clamshell. We believe it’s going to take off in 2012 or at least 2013, especially with Windows 8.

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