Apple is supposedly developing a new kind of laptop or tablet device that features a touchscreen display, an ARM processor, and 4G LTE connectivity. The device is called Star internally, and a few prototypes have already been manufactured in China.
Recent rumors did say that Apple is looking to put ARM chips inside MacBooks, and Star may very well turn out to be one of the first such devices.
Sources in the supply chain have been in contact with 9to5Mac for months, claiming that the Star is currently being manufactured by Pegatron, a Chinese device maker that’s already mass-producing other iOS devices. Pegatron has been producing Star prototypes since January 2018, with some of them having already been shipped to Cupertino.
The device has a touchscreen, SIM card slot, GPS, and compass. It’s also water-resistant, and it runs the EFI (Extensible Firmware Interface) boot system used in Macs. This seems to indicate the Star is a kind of MacBook that may end up being Apple’s first ARM-based notebook.
However, on the software side, things get a bit strange. Apparently, the device, which has model number N84, runs a derivative of iOS according to 9to5Mac. The Star is classified as a brand new iOS device family, different than iPhones and iPads which are device families 1 and 2, respectively.
Apple’s stance against MacBooks with touchscreens is well known, but the Star may change all that if this report is accurate.
It’s unclear at this time what type of product the device will actually be, but Apple does have patents for Surface -like MacBooks, where the touchscreen part can be detached from the keyboard. I’ve been waiting for years for iOS and macOS to merge, and I’d certainly love my MacBook to become a tablet, and vice-versa.
UPDATE: Well-known Apple leaker Mark Gurman said on Twitter that the N84 mentioned in 9to5Mac’s story is actually the LCD iPhone X successor supposed to be launched this year.