The Mystery Of The A5 MacBook Air

Apple tests many products internally and one of its newest projects is purported to be an A5 equipped MacBook Air. Here’s the dirt on Apple’s frankenstein project.

The A5 And MacBook Air – A Match Made In Heaven?

Apple has been using Intel’s CPUs and even GPUs in its Macs since 2006 when it began the transition from PowerPC CPUs in 2005. However, an A5 MacBook Air may be in the works but not for public release:

Few weeks ago, DigiTimes told that Apple to launch MacBook Air with Sandy Bridge and Thunderbolt in June-July. And additionally, an anonymous source told more information, Apple already made test equipment of Thunderbolt MacBook Air driven by A5 processor.

According to this source who saw live A5 MacBook Air actually, this test machine performed better than expected.

An A5 equipped MacBook Air presents a number of problems and deviates from the supposed Sandy Bridge refresh this coming summer for the ultraportable laptop line.

Why The A5 Won’t Make It To The MacBook Air

Despite the perceived increase in performance according to the aforementioned source, switching one Mac to an entirely different CPU architecture will fragment Apple’s operating systems and developers.

As of now, iOS is engineered to run on ARM processors and OS X is engineered to run on Intel CPUs. Creating an ARM equipped MacBook Air would lead to a few outcomes, none of them good.

Apple could either migrates iOS to the MacBook Air and while it will work, the operating system is primarily a touch-oriented OS meant for tablets and phones. Apple has flat out said that creating a touch screen laptop would be cumbersome and users would not enjoy this whatsoever. This would also put the Air in an awkward position within Apple’s iOS/OS X lineup. The laptop would be too close to the iPad but still in a laptop form factor which would put it closer to the MacBook. This dual-identity product would cause a massive headache for potential buyers and Apple’s marketing department.

Another outcome and this would be the worst case scenario, Apple could develop an A5 version of OS X. However, things won’t be so cut and dry. OS X was never meant to run on ARM processors and neither were its Apps. This would mean two different version of the same OS meant to run on two very different processors requiring two very different versions of Apps thus doubling developer’s efforts. This would cause a lot of negative response from the OS X development community consider App makers will have to develop for Apple’s main stream products and a product that doesn’t know whether it’s an iPad or a laptop.