With Intel’s Help, Apple’s New MacBook Air Could Revolutionize PCs

Apple's next generation MacBook Air could be something truly revolutionary thanks to a smaller, lower-power platform from Intel.

Jun 6, 2014 at 8:34PM


The MacBook Air mainboard with an Intel Haswell chip. Source: Intel.

Pictured above is Intel's (NASDAQ:INTC) PC Client Group general manager, Kirk Skaugen. In his hand is the "mainboard" of Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) highly successful MacBook Air. The board contains many of the components such as the processor and system memory that make up a notebook. This is, according to Skaugen, one of the smallest boards shipping in a notebook today.

The next MacBook Air should have a much smaller board
While the current MacBook Air is already known for being thin, light, and frugal with power, the next generation should be even better. During the same keynote, Skaugen showed an Intel-designed reference board based on the next generation Broadwell architecture which will be marketed as Core M; it's shown below:


Source: Intel.

If you'll notice, not only is the actual processor, and the package that it's bolted onto much smaller, but the board required to support that platform is significantly smaller than that of the MacBook Air. It doesn't take too vivid an imagination to see that this platform can be used to make very thin and light systems that do not require a fan to cool the chip. It also isn't much of a stretch to believe that Apple will make fantastic use of this platform in a future MacBook Air product.

Could Apple gain even more market share?
While this new Core M silicon is not exclusive to Apple -- in fact, it already looks as though ASUS will be one of the first out of the gate with a design based on it -- Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows 8.1 has still been pretty poorly received by customers. In contrast, Apple's Macs have been dramatically outperforming the broader PC industry in terms of year-over-year revenue growth, and have been steadily gaining share for several quarters.


Apple's MacBook Air. Source: Apple.

Armed with Intel's new silicon, Apple is likely to bring a new industrial design with its next MacBook Air iteration. Further, with all of the enhancements that Apple is bringing to Mac OS with OS X Yosemite, the market share trend could continue, or even accelerate. The potential offset, however, is that with the Core M chip allowing for fanless, no-compromises detachable designs, Windows 8.1's value proposition could strengthen significantly. 

All in all, though, as long as Apple can take this platform and really run with it, there's no reason why it shouldn't be able to build a new MacBook Air that, once again, revolutionizes the clamshell category, and drives a nice upgrade cycle.

Foolish bottom line
Apple is one of the world's most innovative computer companies, and it's not difficul to imagine that its design teams are hard at work in trying to bring the "next big thing" to the Mac. Of course, Apple's bread-and-butter comes from the iPad and the iPhone, but one of the company's biggest strengths is that it has a vast ecosystem that it wants its customers to fully engage themselves in. Whether it's a big money maker or not, Apple will continue to advance the Mac and, later this year, we could end up seeing something pretty stellar built on this new Core M platform. 

Leaked: Apple's next smart device (warning, it may shock you)
Apple recently recruited a secret-development "dream team" to guarantee its newest smart device was kept hidden from the public for as long as possible. But the secret is out, and some early viewers are claiming its everyday impact could trump the iPod, iPhone, and the iPad. In fact, ABI Research predicts 485 million of this type of device will be sold per year. But one small company makes Apple's gadget possible. And its stock price has nearly unlimited room to run for early in-the-know investors. To be one of them, and see Apple's newest smart gizmo, just click here!

Ashraf Eassa owns shares of Intel. The Motley Fool recommends Apple and Intel. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Intel, and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

A Financial Plan on an Index Card

Keeping it simple.

Aug 7, 2015 at 11:26AM

Two years ago, University of Chicago professor Harold Pollack wrote his entire financial plan on an index card.

It blew up. People loved the idea. Financial advice is often intentionally complicated. Obscurity lets advisors charge higher fees. But the most important parts are painfully simple. Here's how Pollack put it:

The card came out of chat I had regarding what I view as the financial industry's basic dilemma: The best investment advice fits on an index card. A commenter asked for the actual index card. Although I was originally speaking in metaphor, I grabbed a pen and one of my daughter's note cards, scribbled this out in maybe three minutes, snapped a picture with my iPhone, and the rest was history.

More advisors and investors caught onto the idea and started writing their own financial plans on a single index card.

I love the exercise, because it makes you think about what's important and forces you to be succinct.

So, here's my index-card financial plan:


Everything else is details. 

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