Apple's ARM chips may play a greater role in future Macs
Ask anyone what the biggest change to Apple's recently released MacBook Pros is and they'll probably talk about the TouchBar. The OLED touch-strip, which displays interactive contextual information based on open applications and also facilitates fingerprint security, is certainly an eye-catching (if not integral) element of the new MacBooks. What some consumers might not know is that the Touch Bar is essentially a second computer—one that runs WatchOS and is powered by an ARM processor closely related to the one used in the Apple watch. Bloomberg has reported that, according to their inside sources, Apple is developing a new ARM chip that will enable more functions than just smiley faces and nyan-cats.
While the T1 chip used in the current generation is used for operating Touch ID and the Touch Bar, the sources claim that the new ARM chip, the T310, will allow certain functions of the notebook to remain available during standby. The function, similar to "Connected Standby" on Windows tablets, currently allows Macs to update software and sync data while "sleeping". However, this implementation requires the Intel chip—much more power-hungry than one of Apple's ARM chips, even in a low-power state—to do the work. This means more power drain and heat and less battery life. The sources state that the T310 will be able to interface with storage, network cards, and other hardware on the Mac—a first for an ARM chip. The sources say that we may see MacBooks with this new functionality as soon as the end of this year.