Nov 18 2011
With MacBook Air accounting to 28% of Apple’s overall notebook shipments, it could have been more if this rumor could have been true.
Rumor has it that Apple was on the verge of coming out with a MacBook Air packing a processor from Advanced Micro Devices. The news being put forward by chip-centric web site Semiaccurate is that AMD offered better graphics horsepower. Today, the Air and all the MacBooks use Intel’s Sandy Bridge processors. “If you are wondering why the Air wasn’t really revamped much this last time, it is because you are looking at plan B.
Plan A was basically a low power AMD Llano in an Air shell, and that would have been a really tasty machine. Instead of substandard graphics with questionable drivers, you would get many times the GPU power but lose a bit of CPU power.”
Also, Steve Jobs did say in his biography that Intel lacks superior graphics. “We’ve been telling them for years that their graphics [silicon] suck,” according to Walter Isaacson’s biography “Steve Jobs.”
That being said, Intel’s strategy is, as PC Magazine points out, less about raw gaming performance and more about accelerating multimedia, which has broader application in the market.
Apple no doubt seriously considers a lot of hardware options for all of its products. But an Air with the Llano chip on the verge of commercial production would have made for an interesting combination indeed.