Apple’s new iMac Pro is expected to launch next month for $5,000 and up, and it’s expected to feature a powerful Intel Xeon processor with up to 18 cores.

But sometimes you don’t need a crazy high-performance processor to do everything. Sometimes a low-power ARM-based chip is a better solution. That’s what Apple uses for its iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV devices. And it looks like the company is going to throw last year’s Apple A10 ARMv8 64-bit processor in the iMac Pro to handle some functions.

The news was uncovered by Steven Troughton-Smith and Guilherme Rambo by examining leaked code for Apple’s upcoming computer.

Among other things, it looks like the Apple A10 chip will help power an always-on “Hey Siri” voice activation feature that will let you interact with Apple’s voice assistant without touching the computer.

The chip may also help secure the computer from malware by playing a role in SecureBoot. And it’s always possible the chip could have other uses. After all, this was the primary processor for Apple’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus smartphones, so it’s a pretty powerful little chip in its own right… even if it offers only a tiny fraction of the performance you’ll get from the iMac pro’s Intel Xeon processor.

While I wouldn’t expect Apple to use ARM chips in place of Intel (or maybe AMD) processors in high-end computers like the iMac Pro anytime soon, the decision to use an A10 processor for some functions in the upcoming computer suggest that Apple is starting to see the chips in designs in-house as suitable for use in a wider range of products. Maybe we could eventually see a thin-and-light MacBook with long battery life, OS X software, and an ARM-based chip from Apple instead of an Intel processor.

via The Verge

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8 replies on “Apple’s new iMac Pro to feature Apple A10 co-processor (along with Intel Xeon CPU)”

  1. I still don’t get who this non-upgradable workstation is intended for, much less why including an A10 chip is for – leave it to Apple to whip out some marketing story to fuel this, as long as you have the money for it.

  2. And so it begins. The ability to run iOS Apps on this co-processor will mean the end of the Macintosh as we know it.

  3. As Intel can’t get the 18 core chip’s idle power to a reasonable level, having a front-end SOC will save a lot of power. Does it save enough power to warrant the complexity and cost addition of a A10?
    I think they are “jumping the shark” here.

    1. I somewhat agree… however, the more baffling thing is why would Apple opt for a slow and expensive Xeon processor when we have AMD’s cheaper and faster Threadripper processor.

      At least sticking something like an Apple A7-A11 alongside that makes some sense…. kind of like LITTLE.big computing on the desktop.

      Regardless, this is still at the rumour stage. We will have to wait to see what transpires.

  4. yeah seems like a good way to slowly start building core OS code compatible with ARM. I wouldn’t be surprised after this to see ARM Mac books in the years to come

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