Blazing Fast MacBook Airs Expected in 2012

Apple-supported OpenCL to be leveraged by new Intel processors

A new Intel CPU (central processing unit) architecture may boost the already fast MacBook Air even further, should Apple release upgraded systems packing a new line or processors from Intel called “Ivy Bridge”.

Not long before the ultra-thin MacBook Air reaches the end of its last refresh cycle, Apple may want to sit down with Intel and discuss putting even faster processors in them. Chances are such talks are already underway.

If this theory proves to be correct, next up should be Ivy Bridge, a new processor architecture that goes beyond what Sandy Bridge does today.

One of the reasons for that is because Ivy supports a "core" Mac OS X technology called OpenCL.

First introduced in Mac OS X Snow Leopard some two and a half years ago, OpenCL stands for Open Computing Language and uses an approachable C99-based language, as well as a flexible API, for managing computation in parallel.

“OpenCL dramatically accelerates your application by giving you the ability to access the amazing parallel computing power of the GPU,” according to Apple’s Developer site.

“OpenCL also opens up a new range of computationally complex algorithms for use in your application. Possibilities include: Using OpenCL to bring sophisticated financial modeling techniques to accounting applications, performing cutting-edge analysis on large media files, and incorporating accurate physics and AI simulation into entertainment software,” Apple further explains.

According to Cnet, much of the performance boost in Intel's Ivy Bridge processors is due to more graphics circuits. Ivy is said to be up to 60 percent faster than the current-generation (Sandy Bridge) chips.

Going by the aforementioned blog, it’s not even a question of if Apple will adopt them, but when.

Last updated on July 20, 2011, the MacBook Air is still months away from its next refresh. However, when Apple does decide to beef it up again, there may be other enhancements as well, such as support for USB 3.0.

There has also been some talk of Apple planning to eventually move its notebook offerings to its own A-series of chips currently used in the iPad and the iPhone.

An A6 silicon was once believed to be targeted at the super-slim line of laptops, but there has been little to no indication that this would, indeed, be the case.

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