An internal Apple project codenamed “Star” could eventually give us an ARM-based Mac running macOS, or an iOS-powered notebook which would take Apple’s mobile platform beyond mobile devices, or something entirely different.

As you may already know, Apple’s own Mac hardware has been built and issued into the public domain complete with Intel processors for more than a decade.

From a mobile device perspective, Apple’s iPhone and iPad devices, as well as things like Apple TV, have been using Apple’s in-house designed processors for a long while now. Project Star – which comes with the internal codename N84 – could be something which replaces either one of those two situations, or it could be something entirely different. For once, it seems that there is a real ability to keep a secret.

According to the report by 9to5Mac, project Star – whatever it is – is currently in the early prototyping stage with one of Apple’s manufacturing partners, Pegatron, based in China. This is the same manufacturing partner who manufacturers Apple’s other iOS devices so is clearly a trusted partner when it comes to producing quality hardware and keeping whatever it is working on under wraps.

It’s also being suggested that a small number of these prototypes have also been shipped to Cupertino for a select few Apple employees to test and provide feedback on.

In terms of the overall use case and function of the device, not much is currently known. However, it is being said that the device comes with a touchscreen, a sim card slot, GPS, an internal compass, will offer water resistance, and comes equipped with the boot system currently used by Apple’s Macs. It’s that last little nugget of information which leads people to believe that this could be an ARM-based Mac set to hit shelves by 2020.

It’s also wonderfully intriguing when companies like Apple have secretive internal projects in place. It gives us the belief that a brand new product line could ultimately be coming in the near future. However, if this is an ARM-based Mac or even an iOS-powered notebook, it would be interesting to see what Apple produces from a touchscreen perspective and how it’s received by the general public.

Update x1: Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman says N84 is Apple’s low-cost iPhone model with iPhone X-like design.

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