Apple’s future notebooks could be even thinner as Intel works to “significantly” reduce the power consumption of its future Ivy Bridge processors. The company’s existing chips — like those installed in today’s MacBook Air — are rated at 17 watts, but sources say the new version will be well below this.

That means the chip won’t require as much battery power to keep it ticking over. In turn, batteries can become smaller, allowing notebooks to become thinner and lighter. You’ve seen MacBook Air teardowns that reveal how much space the battery takes up — imagine how much thinner the machine could become if that battery didn’t need to be so big.

And it goes beyond that. A more power efficient Ivy Bridge processor could be suitable for other devices, such as tablets, significantly boosting their performance. CNET notes that today’s 10- and 11-inch Windows 8 tablets, like the HP Envy X2, employ Intel’s Z2760 system-on-a-chip. While it’s very power efficient, its performance falls well below that offered by an Ivy Bridge processor.

Don’t expect to see an Ivy Bridge processor in your next iPad, however. That’s powered by an ARM processor that’s typically rated at below 2 watts, which allows it to offer 10 hours of battery life. Even if Intel gets the Ivy Bridge down to 10 watts — which is still a huge improvement — it’s still going to be too power hungry for your iPad.

When the new Ivy Bridge processors will appear still remains unclear, however, CNET says that we shouldn’t expect to hear anything this year.

Source: CNET

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