How AMD almost had a Llano MacBook Air

Apple’s MacBook Air lineup is currently powered by Intel x86 processors. But AMD could have been a real contender with its LLano chip, or so the story goes.

Yes, Silicon Valley tech guru and former Inqster Charlie Demerjian says Apple actually built a Llano-powered MacBook Air that was on the verge of production before it was cancelled last spring.

Demerjian describes the prototype as a low-power Llano in an Air shell, which would have been a “really tasty” machine.

“Instead of awful graphics with questionable drivers, you would get many times the GPU power but lose a bit of CPU power,” he explained in a SemiAccurate post. 

“[Really], I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t make that tradeoff. [Well], anyone not employed by Intel that is.”

Yet, Apple declined to adopt Llano for a number of reasons, including potential supply issues. 

“So, Apple went back to Intel, Intel jumps up and down and declares this a victory, and people read in to it that ARM is out of the picture. 

“[However], while the Llano MacBook Air is not much more than a historical footnote now, the public spin does not appear to be the way things happened on any side. Intel graphics are still years away from being passable [and RISC-based] ARM CPUs are still on tap as soon as the 64-bit chips [hit the market],” Demerjian added.