New Low-Cost MacBook to Run on Older Processors Due to Intel Delays

2018 Macbook Air Render Credit: ZoneofTech
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Apple’s rumored lower-cost MacBook device could use an older Intel chip than initially forecasted, according to a new report.

Taiwanese publication Economic Daily News reported that the entry-level MacBook device would run on Intel’s eight-generation Kaby Lake Refresh processors, which were first released back in 2017.

EDN cites repeated delays of Intel’s Cannon Lake chips as the reason for using the Kaby Lake series. The Cannon Lake processors, which are created with a 10nm process, were originally set to debut in 2016. Now, Intel says they won’t be ready to ship until the end of 2019.

The nearly year-old Kaby Lake Refresh series includes a Core i5 and two Core i7 processors, with the fastest maximum speeds clocked at between 4.0GHz or 4.2GHz. All versions are quad-core processors with eight threads.

Still, Kaby Lake processors will mean that the lower-cost Mac notebook device will be significantly faster than the last MacBook Air model, which sports Intel’s 2015 dual-core Core i5 and Core i7 CPUs. It’ll also have better performance than the 12-inch MacBook, which uses lower-power chips.

Intel will also be releasing faster Whiskey Lake processors later this year, but they likely won’t be ready in time to end up in 2018 Apple notebooks — since production needs to start in the summer for a fall launch. (Apple’s latest MacBook Pro lineup, for the record, are equipped with Intel’s Coffee Lake processors.)

Because of the delays in Intel’s latest high-performance CPUs, Apple could be losing patience with the chipmaker. In fact, the company is said to be in the midst of a massive initiative to switch its Mac computers over to first-party ARM-based processors by 2020.

Either way, the rumored 13-inch, lower-cost Mac notebook is slated to launch in the fall.

Reports differ on whether it’ll be branded as a new MacBook Air or a MacBook, but oft-accurate TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo thinks it could retail at a sub-$1,000 price point.

In addition to the 13-inch notebook, Kuo has forecasted a new Mac mini that could also run on Kaby Lake Refresh processors. Updates to the 12-inch MacBook and Apple’s lineup of iMac desktop computers are also likely.

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