Speculation that Apple is to introduce ARM processors to the next revision of its MacBook Airs continues, as one source claims the company is internally testing the ultraportable notebooks with its A5 processor… but will we really see an A5 powered MacBook Air? I don’t think so.
A source for Japanese blog Macotakara claims Apple is currently experimenting with a MacBook Air packing the same CPU as the company’s super-speedy iPad 2. While its unclear whether the device was running Mac OS X or iOS, its performance has been “better than expected.”
Despite this, the source says that the machine has been built purely for experiment, and that the A5 MacBook Air won’t ever make it to market for two reasons:
… iOS seems to have difficulty to use features of Thunderbolt without Finder. And even if Mac OS X is installed, developer should spend time to support A5 on Universal Binary Applications. As considering these situation, this A5 MacBook Air seems to be made just for experiment.
In addition to this, I can think of another reasons: Though the A5 chip may be as quick as a stabbed rat when its sat inside your iPad 2, it’s likely to crumble under the pressure of powering a notebook – at least one that runs the Mac OS X operating system. The A5 processor may boast 1GHz of power from each of its dual-cores, but that still not as good as some low-end Intel chipsets. As TUAW points out, the iPad 2’s Geekbench score is around 720, which compares the the low-end MacBook Air’s score of over 2000.
Instead, Apple could potentially be testing a MacBook Air-like notebook running an iOS-like operating system with the A5 chip inside, but don’t expect this to take over the current MacBook Air lineup in the foreseeable future. Recent speculation claimed that Apple will transition its MacBook Air lineup over to ARM-based processors by 2013.