Apple May Have Considered Releasing a 2018 MacBook Air With Faster Core i7 Processor

While the new MacBook Air with a Retina display can only be configured with one processor option, a 1.6GHz dual‑core eighth‑generation Intel Core i5 processor, Apple may have prototyped a faster version too.


A benchmark result on Geekbench last week has surfaced via Slashleaks for an unreleased Mac, codenamed AAPJ140K1,1, powered by a dual-core eighth-generation Core i7 processor with a base clock speed of 1.8GHz. The exact model is not listed, but its logic board has the same part number as the new MacBook Air.

As further evidence, the benchmark result lists 16GB of 2133 MHz LPDDR3 RAM, an existing upgrade option for the new MacBook Air. And the Core i7-8510Y appears to be part of Intel's low-power Amber Lake lineup, as is the Core i5 in the new MacBook Air, although it's not listed on Intel's ARK database.


The apparent MacBook Air with a Core i7 chip has a multi-core score of 8,553 on Geekbench, which would make it roughly 8.5 percent faster than the average multi-core score of the existing option with a Core i5.

Geekbench founder John Poole told MacRumors that nothing about the benchmark result looks fake to him, although that possibility can't be entirely ruled out. If real, however, it suggests that a 2018 MacBook Air with a Core i7 exists within Apple, but obviously hasn't been released to the public.

It's reasonable to assume that Apple prototypes several different versions of its products, and not all of them see the light of day. Why the MacBook Air with a Core i7 wasn't released is anyone's guess — maybe it ran too hot, or Apple elected to keep the dual-core Core i7 a MacBook Pro option, or something else.

If Apple does plan to add the Core i7 as an upgrade option for the new MacBook Air, it's hard to envision that it would do so anytime soon considering the notebook was just refreshed. Apple has bumped up the MacBook Air's processor mid-product-cycle in the past, though, so there is some precedence for the move.

All in all, there is possibly a new MacBook Air with a Core i7 in the wild that Apple decided not to ship or may ship at a later date.

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New iPad Pro Has Comparable Performance to 2018 15″ MacBook Pro in Benchmarks

A series of benchmark results have shown up on Geekbench for the new iPad Pro, and its new eight-core A12X Bionic chip is truly a powerhouse.


The new iPad Pro achieved single-core and multi-core scores of 5,025 and 18,106 respectively based on an average of two benchmark results, making it by far the fastest iPad ever and comparable even to the performance of the latest 15-inch MacBook Pro models with Intel's six-core Core i7 chips.

We've put together a chart that compares Geekbench scores of the new iPad Pro and various other iPad, Mac, and iPhone models.


That the new iPad Pro rivals the performance of the latest 15-inch MacBook Pro with a 2.6GHz six-core Core i7 processor is impressive, but even more so when you consider that the tablet starts at $799. The aforementioned MacBook Pro configuration is priced at $2,799, although with 512GB of storage.

Even the new 11-inch iPad Pro with 512GB of storage is only $1,149, less than half that of the Core i7-equipped MacBook Pro.

At its special event in Brooklyn on Tuesday, Apple said the new iPad Pro achieves up to 90 percent faster multi-core performance compared to the previous-generation models, and the Geekbench results support that claim. In fact, the new iPad Pro's multi-core score is 94 percent higher than last year's models.

The configured-to-order 15-inch MacBook Pro with a 2.9GHz six-core Core i9 chip is still faster than the new iPad Pro in terms of both single-core and multi-core performance, as is the iMac Pro, but Apple's flagship tablet is quickly becoming one of the fastest products that it sells due to its advanced chip design.

The benchmark results also indicate that the new iPad Pro models have either 4GB or 6GB of RAM depending on the configuration. On Twitter, well-known developer Steve Troughton-Smith said 6GB of RAM is limited to the 1TB configuration, with 4GB of RAM in the 64GB, 256GB, and 512GB configurations.

With the iPad Pro now rivaling some higher-end Macs in performance, there is a compelling case for Apple to start using its own ARM-based A-series chips in some Macs. Apple reportedly plans to do exactly that as early as 2020.

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Geekbench Shows 2018 MacBook Pro Has Biggest Yearly Performance Gain Since 2011

2018 MacBook Pro models feature the biggest yearly CPU performance gains since 2011, according to Geekbench founder John Poole.


Geekbench 4 scores indicate the latest 15-inch models have a 12 to 15 percent increase in single-core performance, while multi-core performance is up 39 to 46 percent, compared to the equivalent 2017 models.

A new 15-inch MacBook Pro with the best-available 2.9GHz six-core Intel Core i9 processor, with Turbo Boost up to 4.8GHz, has a multi-core score of 22,439, for example, a 44.3 percent increase versus a 2017 model with a then-best 3.1GHz quad-core Core i7 and Turbo Boost up to 4.1GHz.


Likewise, for the latest 13-inch models, Geekbench scores show a 3 to 11 percent increase in single-core performance, and an impressive 81 to 86 percent increase in multi-core performance versus equivalent 2017 models.

A new 13-inch MacBook Pro with the best-available 2.7GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, with Turbo Boost up to 4.5GHz, has a multi-core score of 17,557, for example, an 83.8 percent increase versus a 2017 model with a then-best 3.5GHz dual-core Core i7 and Turbo Boost up to 4.0GHz.


Poole attributes the increases in performance to additional cores, higher Turbo Boost frequencies, and the switch to DDR4 memory.

2018 MacBook Pro models feature eighth-generation Intel Core processors, with up to six cores on 15-inch models and up to four cores on 13-inch models, both firsts. The refresh marked the first increase in cores since 2011, when the first quad-core 15-inch MacBook Pro models were released.

Interestingly, as Poole notes, the new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar models are now competitive with 15-inch models from 2017 in both single-core and multi-core performance, essentially making it a smaller replacement.

Poole also notes that these Geekbench scores are preliminary, and likely to rise over the coming weeks, as on brand new machines, macOS completes several setup tasks in the background that can temporarily degrade performance. He says these tasks vary and can take up to several days to be completed.

Apple advertises the new 15-inch MacBook Pro as up to 70 percent faster, and the new 13-inch model as up to two times faster, than the equivalent 2017 models, but Poole told MacRumors that other benchmarks may show different results than Geekbench. Performance in real-world usage will also vary.

Geekbench 4 is a popular cross-platform CPU and GPU benchmark from Primate Labs, with apps available for Mac and iPhone and iPad.

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Geekbench Results Visualize Possible Link Between iPhone Slowdowns and Degraded Batteries

Primate Labs founder John Poole has plotted the kernel density of Geekbench 4 scores for iPhone 6s models running iOS 10.2, iOS 10.2.1, and iOS 11.2, visualizing an apparent link between lower performance and degraded battery health.


The charts show that on iOS 10.2, the vast majority of iPhone 6s devices benchmarked similarly in performance. However, Poole explains that the distribution of iPhone 6s scores for iOS 10.2.1 appears multimodal, with one large peak around the average and several smaller peaks around lower scores.

In other words, after iOS 10.2.1 was released last January, the performance of a percentage of iPhone 6s devices began to suffer.


In a statement, Apple said it made improvements in iOS 10.2.1 to reduce occurrences of unexpected iPhone shutdowns that a small number of users were experiencing. The shutdowns were reportedly caused by uneven power delivery from older batteries, which could cause an emergency shutdown of the devices.

While at least one report suggested that Apple tweaked its power management system in iPhone 6s devices, the company never disclosed what specific improvements it made to reduce the unexpected shutdowns.

A recent Reddit discussion, however, has reignited speculation that Apple is intentionally slowing down older iPhones to maximize power efficiency and stability when battery capacity has degraded, and reduce voltage-related shutdowns, and the Geekbench charts and Poole himself lend credit to that theory being true.

"The difference between iOS 10.2 and 10.2.1 is too abrupt to be just a function of battery condition," he said. "I believe … that Apple introduced a change to limit performance when battery condition decreases past a certain point."

The charts show that the number of iPhone 6s devices with lower Geekbench scores was even more pronounced on iOS 11.2, which is likely because the software update is around one year newer, which means that the battery capacity of many iPhone 6s devices has likely continued to deplete as expected.


Interestingly, even the iPhone 7 may be starting to be affected. While the distribution of Geekbench scores for the device on iOS 10.2, iOS 10.2.1, and iOS 11.1.2 appear identical, the results change with iOS 11.2 and start to resemble the iPhone 6s' degraded performance starting on iOS 10.2.1.

What this all means is that Apple may be intentionally slowing down older iPhones to maximize power efficiency and stability when battery capacity has degraded, as speculated, seemingly without publicly acknowledging so.

It's important to remember that all lithium-ion batteries naturally lose some of their ability to hold a charge over the course of a few years. Given the iPhone 6s was released in September 2015, the device has been available long enough that some users should consider replacing their battery regardless.

Apple charges an out-of-warranty fee of $79 to replace the battery of all eligible iPhone models in the United States. iPhone 6s users can contact AppleCare or schedule a Genius Bar appointment at a local Apple Store using the Apple Support app.

Apple did not immediately respond to our request for comment about the Geekbench findings. We'll update this article if we hear back.

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iMac Pros With Custom Xeon Chips Possibly Appear on Geekbench Ahead of December Launch

While the iMac Pro doesn't launch for another six weeks or so, possible benchmarks for the computer may have already surfaced on Geekbench. The results provide us with an early look at just how powerful Apple's $4,999-and-up desktop workstation will be when it is released in December.


Interestingly, the iMac Pro models benchmarked appear to have custom, downclocked Xeon chips that Intel hasn't publicly announced yet. There is a benchmark result for a model with a 3.2GHz 8-core Xeon W-2140B processor, while a third listing exists for a model with a 3.0GHz 10-core Xeon W-2150B chip.

All of the models are identified as "AAPJ1371,1," and unlike other Xeon chips, the processors have a "B" suffix. A few of the benchmark results are from late August, while the rest are from October.


MacRumors spoke with Geekbench founder John Poole, who speculated that the iMac Pro may require chips with lower thermal design power, and thus lower frequencies, due to its all-in-one form factor. He noted that the other chips in the Xeon Processor W family have relatively high TDPs of up to 140W.

The multi-core Geekbench score for the 8-core model averages out to 23,536, which is the highest performance of any iMac ever. It's nearly 22 percent faster than the latest 5K iMac equipped with a maxed-out 4.2GHz quad-core Core i7 processor, which has an average multi-core score of 19,336.

The higher-end 10-core iMac Pro has a multi-core score of 35,917, which is roughly 41 percent faster than the latest Mac Pro maxed out with a 2.7GHz 12-core Xeon E5 processor. Even its single-core score of 5,345 is faster than all but the highest-end 5K iMac released earlier this year.

All in all, the benchmarks point to the iMac Pro being unsurprisingly powerful from top to bottom. And that's not even looking at the 18-core iMac Pro, which hasn't been benchmarked yet and will surely blow every other Mac out of the water—at least until the modular Mac Pro is ready.

Apple said the iMac Pro will also feature top-of-the-line Radeon Pro Vega graphics, up to 4TB of SSD storage, and up to 128GB of ECC RAM. The computer will share the same design as the standard iMac, but with an all-flash architecture, a new thermal design, and four Thunderbolt 3 ports.

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