ARM-based MacBook Air test sample spied
It's not proof that Apple has plans to produce and sell such a machine, but the Mac maker certainly seems to have been exploring the possibility of offering a MacBook Air laptop based not on an Intel but an ARM processor.
An unnamed correspondent of Japanese-language site Macotakara claims to have seen a sample Air based on Apple's A5 ARM chip . The test machine was allegedly made for Apple by Taiwanese contract manufacturer Quanta.
Earlier this month, it was claimed that such a shift away from Intel is "a done deal" .
The source said the A5 Air worked surprisingly well for a laptop equipped with a chip usually found in phones and media tablets.
The mole didn't reveal which OS the test machine was running: iOS, Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, or the iOS-like Mac OS X 7 Lion.
We suspect OS X, hence the source's claim that "this test machine performed better than expected".
The correspondent did say the machine has a Thunderbolt port. Thunderbolt is Intel's 10Gb/s peripheral connection system and is expected to be added to the Air line in the coming months when new MacBook Airs based on the chip maker's Sandy Bridge platform  debut. ®