Apple is testing a new beta of its chip that could be used to power the future of mobile data, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.
The Tau chip, which has been described as a future version of the ARMv8 architecture, is the foundation of Apple’s mobile processors and is the first chip to be designed specifically to handle data that’s flowing over cellular networks.
Tau chips are often used in embedded chips, and in that role they’ve been used in iPhones, iPads and other mobile devices.
But their use in computers and other consumer devices has been limited.
The new beta is the latest step in Apple’s efforts to make the chip a viable alternative to ARM, the commercial successor to the x86 instruction set that powers Apple’s products.
Apple has said that the Taeons are based on ARMv7 instructions, which is a version of x86 that is now obsolete.
The chip is being tested with data coming from a data center at Apple’s data center in Sunnyvale, Calif., where the company’s data centers are located.
It is not yet clear when Apple plans to make it available for general consumer use.
The Wall Street Post also reported that Apple has signed a deal to make its Taeon chips available in the U.S. on Apple’s App Store.
Apple is expected to make some Taeonic chips available to customers for use in iPhones and iPads, including for the Apple TV.
The chip is designed to allow for faster data transfer, with an initial batch of 10,000 chips expected to be shipped by the end of 2018.
The first chips will be used in devices from other manufacturers and will include other features such as voice and video encryption and a wireless chip to make mobile data services more reliable, the WSJ reported.