Apple has been flirting with the idea of ARM based Macbooks for a while now. It was reported back in 2011 too that Apple was unhappy with the power consumption of the Intel based chips that it has been using in its Macbook line of computers. This prompted rumors that Apple was assembling an ARM (A5) based Macbook Air at the time for testing purposes. With AMD based processors not really an option given their problems with heat dissipation and high power consumption, it looks likely that if Apple does move away from Intel it will be towards an ARM based processor especially given the fact, they can develop it themselves.
According to a french site, MacBidouille, Apple has retained its interests in ARM based processors and is already testing prototypes including a Mac Mini, iMac and 13 inch Notebook with 4-8 64 Bit ARM Quad Core Processors. Interestingly, there is no mention of the Mac Pro here. Apple has a bit of first hand experience with ARM based chipsets too, as the iPhone uses the A7 chip which is based on the same architecture. Given that A7 has been more than once being tipped to have adequate power to run a full size desktop, the rumor actually makes a lot of sense.
According to the French site, the ARM based Macbook will have a different layout of keyboard to accommodate the new trackpad which is taking cues from the magic Trackpad. The site goes on to add, that it is possible that Apple is already way ahead on the development curve of the Macbook but is hesitating on making the move official given the large success of the new Haswell based Intel chips.
The move faces plenty of hurdles if it has to go through, the most important one being whether Apple’s ARM based chips will be able to keep pace with Intel’s future roadmap. Given the large success and trust that customers have built on the Intel chips over the years, there is always a thought that such a move may not go down well with the loyalists who may just jump the ship. Would it though, not make sense to make both the ARM based, running iOS and Intel based Macbooks running OSX available and allow the customers to choose? Or maybe that would be too much of a cost hurdle and just confuse the audience? Those are surely the questions that must be going through the head of the decision makers at Apple and maybe at the WWDC in the coming days, we will get some, if not all the answers.