Is an A-series chip destined for a future model of the 12-inch MacBook Air?

A KGI report predicts that Apple will begin using its own processors for Macs “in the next 1-2 years,” with a specific prediction of a Samsung-fabbed A10X chip powering at least one Mac made in 2016. The wording appears to suggest an entry-level machine–possibly a future model of the 12-inch MacBook Air.

Apple may launch Mac products that use own AP [Application Processor] in next 1-2 years. This prediction is based on the assumption that Apple’s self-developed AP performs at a level between Intel’s Atom and Core i3 and is good enough for Mac. Using self developed AP can help Apple better control the timing of Mac launches and Mac product features.

With performance between an Atom and Core i3, the chip would not be suitable for mid- to high-end Macs.

An accompanying table (below) shows an A10X chip made with a 10-nanometer process to be made by Samsung at some point during 2016 …

The report also suggests that Apple will be mixing-and-matching its chip suppliers as part of its drive toward a more diversified supply-chain, with Global Foundry and Intel added into the mix as new suppliers.


The suggestion, then, is that orders for the A9 chip for what is likely to be the iPhone 6s will be split between Samsung and new supplier Global Foundry, with Samsung picking up the bulk of the business. It had earlier been suggested that Samsung would be making all of the A9 chips. The A9X for the next iPad model would be made by Taiwanese TSMC, while Samsung would make all of the S1 chips for this year’s Apple Watch.

Next year, KGI predicts that Apple will make significant changes. The A10 chip for the nominal iPhone 7, together with the S2 chip for the Apple Watch 2, would be made by TSMC–while Samsung makes the A10X for the iPad and new ARM-powered Mac.

Finally, Apple is shown as diversifying its baseband chip suppliers–the chipset that handles LTE, WiFi and Bluetooth–by adding Intel into the mix, initially as a minority supplier.

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Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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