According to a Bloomberg article, Apple will be working on three new Mac models this year. To improve security, all three models could feature an ARM co-processor. Apple isn’t switching to ARM chipsets altogether. An Intel CPU will be still present in every Mac, but with a second ARM processor.
At present, the MacBook Pro features a T1 chip whereas the iMac Pro features a T2 chip. On the MacBook Pro, the ARM coprocessor takes care of the Touch ID sensor and the Touch Bar.
Thus, your fingerprint is never stored on your laptop’s SSD drive — it will remain on the T1 secure enclave. When a fingerprint is validated on the Intel CPU, it only gets a positive response.
The iMac Pro goes one step ahead and uses the T2 to exchange many discrete controllers. The T2 controls the camera, your stereo speakers, the fans, your internal microphone and internal storage. The co-processor can encrypt data in real time. And when you boot up the device, before handing it over to the Intel CPU, the T2 first validates the integrity of the system.
People are aware that Apple is still working on a brand new Mac Pro. And it would make sense to include an ARM co-processor on this high-end desktop machine. But it looks like the company wants to use ARM coprocessors across the entire lineup.
Bloomberg predicts two laptop models will get an ARM co-processor 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 going to get updated again in future, but I don’t see another potential laptop in Apple’s lineup. In all cases, new Mac models with ARM co-processors will be much more resilient to ransomware and malware.
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