Apple designing chip for Mac laptops
Apple working on new chip for Mac laptops Getty Images/Josh Edelson

Apple is reportedly designing a new chip for use in upcoming Mac laptops that would lessen the workload of the Intel processor.

The development of the chip, which is similar to the one used in the latest MacBook Pro to power the keyboard's touch bar, is said to have started last year. Codenamed T30, the chip would handle low power mode functionality of the computer. The chip is based on ARM technology and would work alongside an Intel processor, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

The new chip is expected to be available in an upgraded version of the MacBook Pro, which is likely later this year, the report states.

Apple is planning to offload Mac's low-power mode to the new ARM-based chip. The low-power mode function known as Power Nap allows retrieving e-mails, installing software updates and synchronising calendar appointments when the display is shut. While this feature uses very little battery, the upcoming ARM chip would be better and save more power.

Additionally, the new chip would connect to the other parts of the Mac including storage and wireless components, as opposed to the current chips for Mac, which are independent from the other components of the computer.

Developing its own chip would provide Apple with the flexibility to integrate hardware and software functions. Apple does not seem to have plans to completely abandon Intel chips.

Apple's first ARM-based Mac chip known as T1 was introduced as part of the MacBook Pro update last October. This chip powers the Touch bar, a screen built into the keyboard that lets users access app shortcuts, system settings and emojis and security features.

Despite Apple only accounting for about 7.5% of worldwide computer shipments in the fourth quarter, the Mac line has set a standard for design and component improvements.