Apple might choose to ignore Intel's mobile Xeon chips for future MacBook Pros

Intel has announced plans to release a laptop version of its Xeon processor. It's possible we'll see them pop up in the most powerful MacBook Pros ever, though Apple would have to make some compromises in regards to battery power.

Intel says the Xeon Processor E3-1500M v5 Product Family is "designed for the professional who needs workstation-class capabilities in a portable device." This sounds like a perfect fit for creative pros who use Mac laptops for tasks like rendering 3D models or doing heavy duty video editing. What's more, this family of processors is based on the next gen Skylake architecture that MacBook Pro users have been anxiously awaiting.

Intel's Xeon-based mobile workstations will have key features such as error-correcting code memory that automatically detects and repairs errors on-the-fly that cause data corruption and system crashes for peace-of-mind reliability. These new systems will also enjoy the benefits of the hardware-assisted security, manageability, and productivity capabilities of Intel vPro Technology (hyperthreading, turbo boost 2, error correcting memory, etc.). 

Mobile workstations featuring Intel Xeon will also feature Thunderbolt 3, which brings Thunderbolt to USB-C at speeds up to 40 Gbps. Apple introduced a USB-C port with the 12-inch MacBook with Retina display, and it's certainly heading to other Mac laptops (and probably desktops, as well).

A USB-C connector looks like a micro USB connector, but has no up or down orientation. As long as the connector is lined up right, you won't have to flip the connector to plug it in. The cables also have the same connector on both ends, so you won't ever have to figure out which end to plug in.

Sounds great, right? Just one caveat: the Xeon processor has higher power demands and produces more heat than other Intel processors. Intel says the mobile Xeon chip will balance power and portability needs, but the company hasn't said how its high performance could affect battery life. 

Apple's focus on its laptop line for some time has been all about more battery life and ever-more-svelte designs. Also, Xeon chips for portables could mean more frequent fan activity in general, creating a noisier machine — and that's something Apple would hate.

Perhaps Intel has worked out all these issues — and the company hasn't said exactly when the new Xeon chips will arrive. When they do, we could see them in MacBook Pros. However, if that means noisier, heftier laptops (even "pro" laptops) I imagine Apple will pass.