AMD’s Apple fiasco

Apple reportedly took a close look at AMD’s “Llano” APU for its new MacBook Air lineup last year, but ended up rejecting the processor due to numerous (allegedly) faulty parts.

Indeed, a number of former AMD employees told Forbes that Apple had given the chip – which combines the GPU and CPU – “serious consideration” for use in its flagship Air. 

However, AMD apparently had difficulty providing Apple with fully-functioning samples of the chip on time. In addition, as noted above, many of the parts were supposedly faulty, causing AMD to ultimately lose the deal.

Sources also told Forbes that AMD had proposed Brazos, a low-powered processor, to drive a next-gen iteration of Apple’s TV box.

However, Cupertino officially rejected the idea, which isn’t all that surprising, as Apple’s second-gen set-top box features an A4 (ARM Cortex-A8) chip, rather than an x86 processor.


As AppleInsider’s Josh Ong notes, a separate report written in late 2011 also claimed Apple considered the AMD Llano option “plan A” for its MacBook Air, but reconsidered after AMD supposedly “dropped the ball” at the last minute.

Apple’s current Thunderbolt MacBook Air lineup is powered by Intel’s Sandy Bridge processors. A refresh is expected at some point in the near future, with the upgraded systems slated to feature Santa Clara’s Ivy Bridge chipsets.