A new report from the Japanese blog Macotakara states that Apple is testing an ARM-based, A5-powered MacBook Air.

The MacBook Air is currently powered by older Core2Duo silicon, with rumors of a Sandy Bridge version coming this summer. However, as it often is in these cases, there are also rumors that Apple could be swapping in ARM chips sometime in the future as well.

The A5, of course, is the ARM-based chip that currently powers the iPad 2, and is expected to show up in the next iPhone and iPod touch. ARM chipsets are very gentle on power consumption, but are often considered less powerful than other options. However, Macotakara reports that the test machine, built by Quanta Computer, “performed better than expected.”

Apple switched to Intel chips several years ago after power and heat issues made it impossible to put a PPC-based G5 into a notebook. If these ARM rumblings turn out to be true, it would mean that developers would need to re-complie apps for any ARM-powered Macs, just as they had to do it a few years ago.

Apple included technology named Rosetta to ease this transition, allowing PPC-based code to run on Intel Macs with very little performance impact. As of Mac OS X Lion, due out this summer, Apple has removed this component.

Article via Mac Rumors

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