Tuesday, Jul 26, 2022, 15:20 Mac: Hardware

MacBook Air M2 – The First Completely Intel-Free Mac

When Apple began to equip its Macs with Intel processors at the beginning of 2006, the move was more than a simple switch to a new CPU supplier. The choice also marked the beginning of an expansive, Intel-reference design, which included chips for other components in the devices. On the other hand, Apple's relatively recent choice to switch to in-house processors didn't immediately cease its reliance on all Intel products. For example, a quick breakdown of any M1 Mac will still reveal several Intel contributions.

Another Essential Intel Chip Takes Off After The CPU
The MacBook Air M2 sounds in a new era for the Mac. After all, the most recent Mac release is the first Intel-free Apple computer in quite some time. As per iFixit's hardware analysis, Cupertino has replaced the device's final Intel component: The controller for USB and Thunderbolt in the MacBook Air M2 is now an in-house design from Apple – as opposed to its Intel-predecessor in the MacBook Air M1. Instead of the former type "JHL8040R USB4" retimer chip, there are now two "U09Py3" chips in the device.



Another Step Towards Full Hardware Autonomy
A good bit back, a Bloomberg report claimed that Apple was actively working on completely replacing all Intel components in its devices. At the time, the statement was explicitly concentrated on its devices' controllers/retimers. However, the switch will lead to the public knowing fewer details about Apple's utilized chips in the future – whereas the specifications of the previously chosen Intel components were readily available. For Apple, on the other hand, the company wouldn't benefit from documenting any exact details concerning chips used only for its in-house products.

All Coming M2 Macs Likely Intel-Free
It's more than likely that Apple will try to rely on in-house components as much as possible for all future M2 Macs. These components will also likely be better specialized for their individual assignments, as they will be crafted solely for this purpose and not attained en masse from a supplier. According to rumors, the next models queued for the M2 treatment are the Mac mini M2 and the MacBook Pro 14"/16" – whilst Apple still waits to release the first ARM-based Mac Pro.

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