Apple Said to Work on Mac Chip That Would Lessen Intel Role

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Apple Inc. is designing a new chip for future Mac laptops that would take on more of the functionality currently handled by Intel Corp. processors, according to people familiar with the matter.

According to Bloomberg Technology, the chip is similar to one already used in the latest Mac Book Pro to power the

keyboard’s Touch Bar feature, the people said

Although Apple only accounted for 7.5 percent of worldwide computer shipments in the fourth quarter, according to data from IDC, the Mac line has long set the standard for design and component improvements. Its feature additions often start new technology trends that other manufacturers rush to follow.

Apple engineers are planning to offload the Mac’s low-power mode, a feature marketed as “Power Nap,” to the next-generation ARM-based chip. This function allows Mac laptops to retrieve e-mails, install software updates, and synchronize calendar appointments with the display shut and not in use.

The feature currently uses little battery life while run on the Intel chip, but the move to ARM would conserve even more power. Apple’s first ARM-based Mac chip, known as T1, was introduced as part of the MacBook Pro update last October. This chip powers the Touch Bar — a screen built into the keyboard that lets users access app shortcuts, system settings and emojis — and some security features such as the enclave that stores payment and biometric data tied to the computer’s fingerprint reader.

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