Confusion surrounds Apple’s ‘Star’ project, aka N84, which could be a hybrid computer… or not
While Apple is already designing its own iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and Apple Watch processors, it’s long been rumored that the Cupertino-based tech giant would also love to rely less on Intel when it comes to the Mac family of desktop computers and laptops.
Of course, Intel could take over as the main cellular modem supplier for next-gen iPhones if Apple also decides to cut ties with longtime ally recently turned bitter legal foe Qualcomm. But that’s a different story.
Today’s story is about Apple’s first possible computer design… of sorts reportedly based on an unnamed ARM chip rather than the usual Intel silicon. Unfortunately, this so-called “Star” project remains largely shrouded in mystery, and although one reputable publication suspects the “interesting” N84 codename designates the “first Mac with ARM processor, or the first iOS notebook”, two other trusted insiders are “told” radically different stories.
9To5Mac, Bloomberg writer Mark Gurman and “boastful” Twitter leaker Steve H., aka @OnLeaks, tend to all have solid supply chain sources, but in this particular case, said sources are pointing in three distinct directions.
Gurman claims the “N84 device” is “actually the low-cost LCD iPhone that looks like an iPhone X”, which by the way, is no longer guaranteed to sport an LCD panel, while Steve H. seems pretty certain we’re in fact dealing with an alias for the “2018 iPhone flagship model.”
If 9To5Mac is instead correct, this N84/Star product could be a “brand new device family” running some sort of an iOS “derivative”, and featuring among others water resistance, a touch screen, a SIM card slot, compass, and GPS functionality. That’s indeed “interesting”, but also vague.
Then again, if this theory proves legit, Apple’s first ARM-based touchscreen “hybrid” with LTE connectivity could still be a couple of years away from its commercial debut.