According to a Bloomberg article, Apple could be working on three new Mac models for this year. All three of them could feature an ARM coprocessor to improve security. Apple isn’t switching to ARM chipsets altogether. There will still be an Intel CPU in every Mac, but with a second ARM processor.
Currently, the MacBook Pro features a T1 chip while the iMac Pro features a T2 chip. On the MacBook Pro, the ARM coprocessor handles the Touch ID sensor and the Touch Bar.
This way, your fingerprint is never stored on your laptop’s SSD drive — it remains on the T1 secure enclave. The Intel CPU only gets a positive response when a fingerprint is validated.
The iMac Pro goes one step further and uses the T2 to replace many discrete controllers. The T2 controls your stereo speakers, your internal microphone, the fans, the camera and internal storage. The coprocessor can encrypt data in real time. And when you boot up the device, the T2 first validates the integrity of the system before handing it over to the Intel CPU.
Everyone already knows that Apple is still working on a brand new Mac Pro. And it would make sense to include an ARM coprocessor on this high-end desktop machine. But it looks like the company wants to use ARM coprocessors across the entire lineup.
Bloomberg thinks two laptop models will get an ARM coprocessor this year. Could it be an updated 12-inch retina MacBook and a new MacBook Air? It’s still unclear if the MacBook Air is ever going to get updated again, but I don’t see another potential laptop in Apple’s lineup. In all cases, new Mac models with ARM coprocessors will be much more resilient to malware and ransomware.