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Analysis: Intel spills Apple's future product secrets

What's in store for Apple PCs, Intel and you

Apple's famed for its secrecy when it comes to new products in the same way that Intel's known for its openness. So with the partnership between the two companies well under way, we find out whether we'll remain in the dark when it comes to new Apple products.

What lies ahead

Despite these limitations, another pair of recently announced quad-core processors spark the imagination.

Two weeks ago, Intel introduced low-power quad-core 2.33GHz and 2.5GHz Xeon, each with a TDP of a mere 50W. In comparison, the 3.2GHz Xeon in the top-end Mac Pro is listed in Intel's literature as having a TDP of a scorching 150W (unless Apple has a private deal with Intel to provide them with a lower-TDP 3.2GHz Xeon, which is certainly a possibility).

If you want to indulge in a flight of fancy, drop two of these new Xeons into a Stoakley-based logic board in a smaller form-factor desktop Mac, and fill the ever-widening gap between the iMac and the Mac Pro. A maxi Mac mini, anyone?

Soon-to-be-released dual-core Penryns will likely have more prosaic but still interesting lives. The small form-factor 1.6GHz and 1.8GHz Meroms in the MacBook Air will almost certainly be replaced by the small form-factor Penryns with equal clock speeds that are expected to ship late this spring.

There's also another upcoming, equally tiny Penryn pair, 1.2GHz and 1.4GHz processors with miserly 10W TDPs, that's fodder for interesting speculation. Might we finally see the ultra-mini laptop we've been angling for?

Or might Apple offer a truly teeny laptop, omething on par with the Asus Eee PC, based on an entirely new line of ultra-low-power Intel processors that were christened Atom (and codenamed Silverthorne and Diamondville during their development) when they were formally unveiled on March 2?

We don't know. And neither do you. Despite the relative openness of Intel's microprocessor roadmap, Apple still keeps us guessing.

And that's just the way Steve Jobs likes it.

  1. Apple and Intel's plans for the future
  2. Where quad core processors fit in
  3. The maxi Mac mini

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