Next MacBook might take unfortunate performance hit


MacBook Internal makeup
Because Intel can't get its act together, Apple's apparently going to release a low-cost MacBook that's slower than it should be.
Photo: Apple

After waiting years, Apple is reportedly given up on using some of Intel’s long-delayed processors in the budget MacBook expected this fall. Instead, the device will include chips that debuted last year.

Problems like this could be one of the reasons Apple is supposedly going to move macOS onto its own ARM-based processors and away from Intel.

Intel originally planned to have its Cannon Lake processors on the market in 2016. Last week, the company said it now expects to have these 10-nanometer chips in devices by the end of this year.

Apple has given up waiting though, according to Economic Daily News. The budget MacBook scheduled for later this year will instead employ 14-nm Kaby Lake Refresh processors.

The Kaby Lake Refresh line includes two Core i7 version with max speeds of either 4.0GHz or 4.2GHz. There’s also a i5 version with either a 3.4 GHz or 3.6 GHz max speed. All have 4 processor cores and 8 threads.

Intel is not yet taking about the speeds to be expected from the Cannon Lake chips, but the move from a 14-nm to a 10-nm will almost certainly bring significantly faster performance as battery savings. But apparently not the 2018 budget MacBook.

Apple losing patience with Intel

MacBooks and iMacs currently run on Intel processors, but Apple is supposedly migrating the macOS to ARM-based chips it will produce itself.  This would be a huge project, and require third-party developers to migrate their applications to the new processor architecture.

This switch, reportedly code-named Kalamata, would have Macs, iPhones, and iPads all running on the same processor architecture. And make Apple no longer so dependent on Intel.

Apple may have taken the first step. At WWDC in June,  VP Craig Federighi announced that some of the basic iOS apps have been ported to macOS Mojave. This was accomplished by developing new frameworks that combine AppKit from macOS with UIKit from iOS.

More about the budget MacBook

Earlier reports have indicated that Apple is working on a MacBook that could cost as little as $799.

What it will be called is unknown. It could be simply a MacBook, or it could be a MacBook Air. Other details also remain a mystery. A 13-inch screen seems obvious, and potential buyers should expect only a minimal number of ports.


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