If recent rumors are correct, it appears Apple might finally be dipping its toes in the field of hybrid devices.
The Cupertino company is reportedly developing a new kind of laptop or tablet device that features a touchscreen display and is powered by an ARM-based processor. It also features 4G LTE connectivity — so essentially, it's a 2-in-1 hybrid device.
Apple Developing New Devices Codenamed Star
The device, or perhaps devices, are codenamed "Star." A few prototypes have already been manufactured in China, reports 9to5Mac, by the same manufacturer that makes Apple iOS devices. The devices have been in production since at least this past January, and select units have been shipped to Cupertino for testing, the report adds.
Little information about the Star device is available as of now, although it will reportedly come with a SIM card slot, GPS, compass, and be water resistant. Out of all the rumors, the most important is the one that says the device will run Extensible Firmware Interface — the boot system used by Macs, which indicates Star could be the first ever ARM-based Mac. The device could be released as soon as 2020.
Macs have run on Intel processors since 2006. iPhones and iPads have run on Apple-made chips since 2010. It was recently reported that Apple will pivot to in-house processors for Macs by 2020, which coincides with the rumored release of the ARM-based Mac in question.
A New Family Of Devices
Here's where it gets even more interesting: Star is apparently described as a new family of devices and runs a software akin to iOS. This means the Star lineup will be different from the iPad and iPhone family. At best, only speculation can give us an idea of what these devices are, but it's very likely one of them could be a hybrid platform that bridges the gap between iOS and macOS, even though Apple CEO Tim Cook said this past April that he doesn't like the idea of two operating systems merging.
Last year, a Bloomberg report said cross-platform Mac and iOS apps will eventually be released. These are apps that can be used in a number of interfaces, including traditional trackpads, keyboards, or touchscreens.
Cook and other high-ranking executives at Apple have also expressed their dislike of computers with touchscreen interfaces, but the Star may just change that if the report is to be believed.
What do you think Apple's star project could be? Is it a line of hybrid devices like speculation says? Is it a MacBook that can be used as an iPad? Or perhaps an entirely new line of Apple devices? As always, if you have anything to share, feel free to sound them off in the comments section below!