Apple has paved the way for the inclusion of future XPoint based Optane SSD technology in an iteration of the MacBook Pro, which could lead to much faster access times and transfer speeds than conventional SSDs.
In the new MacBook Pro, Apple has implemented NVMe storage, via the PCIe system. In part, this is why Apple’s SSD storage on the new machines is best-in-class, with the 13-inch MacBook Pro with function keys dropping 2.2 gigabytes per second in write speed and 3.1 gigabytes per second in read speed.
Conventional SSD media is about 100 times slower than the RAM used in the MacBook Pro, with the new Apple drives approximately 65 times slower. Optane storage media will be only 8 times slower than LPDDR3 RAM.
The next generation of flash storage, called 3D XPoint, and branded Optane from Intel, supports the NVMe storage protocol that Apple already uses on some of its MacBooks, including the MacBook Pro. The new technology could be used in a new MacBook Pro in 2017, driven by the current Apple SSD custom driver, or a future version of the driver with supported technologies.
The next Optane-based Intel “Mansion Beach” SSD line is intended to be installed on a system motherboard, or with a connector similar to the one Apple has used on the new MacBook Pro, and should debut very soon.
Technology updates have not yet been released and data center variants are expected in mid-2017, just in time for Apple to include it in the MacBook Pro 2017.