Apple Reportedly Experimenting with A5 Processor in MacBook Air

A report from Japanese Mac fan site Macotakara said that Apple has ordered a MacBook Air with an A5 processor in it, rather than the Intel Core 2 Duo or Intel’s Sandybridge chip set, which another rumor from Taiwan’s DigiTimes said will be arriving in July. The report cites an anonymous source who claimed to have seen the A5 MacBook Air, which was supposedly built for Apple by Quanta, one of Apple’s Taiwan-based manufacturers.

As rumors go, this is a weak one, and on many levels. We’re only bothering to mention it in order to squash the idea that Apple is planning on shipping such a MacBook Air.

There is little doubt that Apple has long been experimenting with running Mac OS X on ARM and its own ARM-derivative processors like the A5, and there’s little doubt that the company has also experimented with running iOS on Mac hardware.

For instance, Apple had Mac OS X running on Intel for as much as five years before the company moved from PowerPC processors to Intel processors, and it would be surprising if Apple didn’t have the full version of Mac OS X running on ARM or A5 processors, as well.

Such experimentation is part and parcel for Apple’s R&D efforts, but few of those experiments will ever see the light of day as a commercial product.

In the meanwhile, Apple’s A5 processor is designed and built for mobile devices running iOS. It doesn’t have the processing power to handle many tasks that users look to full desktop and laptop computers to do — it wasn’t built for such tasks.

So if this A5-powered MacBook Air exists, it’s a play-pretty built by an engineer tasked with finding out “What if.”