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Will Apple's 2016 MacBook use Intel's Next-Gen 14nm Core M or their Next-Gen A10X Processor?



Intel's Core M was a significant milestone for Intel. It was the first time that the company had been able to offer a laptop-processor that didn't require a built-in fan to cool it. Apple was impressed enough to build it into their latest MacBook. While some complained that the new MacBook was under powered, Apple had designed the new MacBook to be a next-gen, thinner, lighter MacBook and in fact claimed that their design was the "future of the notebook." If it's truly the future, will Apple take the plunge next year and switch to their new A9X processor (A10X - 2016) and dump Intel's 14nm Core M?


According to Apple, their new A9X is a third-generation chip with a 64bit desktopclass architecture that gives iPad Pro the power to easily take on tasks that were once reserved for workstations and PCs. And tasks you'd never consider doing on a PC. Despite this barrier-breaking performance, the A9X chip's underlying architecture is efficient, ensuring that there's one way in which iPad Pro isn't massive — battery consumption. Every specification that Apple describe screams that it's ready to be used in a future MacBook, if not a hybrid – though with iOS only of course.


2AF 55 A9X


With Apple using Intel's Core M in such a high profile manner, it appears to have opened the door to a new client for Intel. Apple's high end marketing of the MacBook powered by Core M was the best advertising Intel could have gotten for their new processor. In fact, Xiaomi just launched its first Intel-Powered tablet called the Mi Pad 2. No, the tablet doesn't offer Intel's Core M processor today, but it's likely to offer it next year according to Intel's just release tablet processor roadmap as noted in the graphic below.


3AF 55


And with Xiaomi preparing to invade North America next year with their eye on tablets and notebooks, Intel is going to have another important customer pushing Core M in tablets that yes, will be powered by the same chip used in Apple's cool 2015 MacBook. We're also likely to see Xiaomi push the 2-in-1 form factor as well, as Intel leads in this market today.


On the flipside, it's going to be very interesting to see if Apple's 2016 MacBook sticks with Intel's Core M or makes the switch to their new A9X processor (or A10X) that Apple touts takes on workstation tasks that were once reserved for PCs.


It's also at that time that Apple could actually shock the market by also introducing their first 2-in-1 form factor device. Being that the notebook and tablet would be using the same OS, it wouldn't be seen by Apple as a "diluted" or "deluded" product. While that aspect of the MacBook would be an interesting side benefit, the real story in 2016 could very well be Apple's switch in processors. Will we see that happen? Only time will tell.


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