Apple has made quite a splash with the launch of its self-built M1 SoCs in 2020. The original M1 chip looks weird now that the Pro, Max and Ultra variants have been launched and Apple is now preparing for the second round of its Silicon attack. The company is said to be working on a follow-up chip, probably named M2. This isn’t a huge surprise, as it said the M1 Ultra was the family’s ultimate chip at its peak performance event. Developer logs show that new chips are already being tested and will appear in 2022 on the new and upgraded Mac Shake.
Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has the scoop and says that four different M2 chips are currently being tested. The new SoCs will enter the company’s flagship Mac Pro computer as well as several new models next year. The Mac Pro is the only computer that Apple sells that still uses Intel Silicon, so for many of us its replacement chip is the most attractive. After all, if the M1 Ultra’s 114 billion transistors aren’t strong enough for the Pro, then what they’ve planned must be (literally) huge. The arrival of the M2 is designed to bolster the company’s dedication to the Mac, which has stalled for years with Intel chips and weird design decisions. Apple has begun to reverse that trend with its M1-based models, even going so far as to bring back previously removed features. It includes the ever-popular MagSafe as well as things like HDMI and SD card readers.
The only new model on the horizon for Apple is an entry-level MacBook Pro with an M2 SoC. Although the company currently sells a “cheap” 13 ″ model for 1,299, it’s a weird duck. It uses the base M1 chip, the same chip used in its iPad Pro and Air. This calls into question its inclusion in a “pro” machine. The upgraded M2 version will add two more cores to the GPU, from eight to ten. The CPU side of the chip will be in eight-core design. This gives it four performance cores and four skill cores.
The same M2 chip will enter a newly designed MacBook Air. The Air has surprisingly used the same “wedge” design since Steve Jobs pulled it out of the Manila envelope in 2008. There have been small changes over the years, especially in 2020 when it got a new keyboard and display. But for 2022 it will be a completely new design. Rumors suggest that it will follow the signal of MacBook professionals with a more “flat brick” shape. Like those computers, it will offer MagSafe and possibly some more I / O. The current model has only two USB-C ports and a headphone jack.
The 14 ″ and 16 MacBook professionals will get the M2 Pro and Max chips and will be exactly the same in size. The updated M2 Max will add two more CPU cores, ranging from ten to 12. The GPU will gain six more cores, going from 32 to 38 in total. Developer logs show that it will come with 64GB of memory, which is currently only possible in the highest version.
The company is also testing an upgraded Mac Mini, which currently comes with M1 Silicon. It seems to be trying to bridge the gap between Mini and Mac Studio. Performance between the original M1 and Ultra in the studio expands Delta’s entire chip lineup. Apple is trying to remedy this without selling. It is considering a version of the M1 Pro or Max or M2 chip in the new mini.
Naturally, everyone is looking forward to replacing the Intel Zion CPUs currently on Mac Pro. Most people are predicting that the Pro will have a quad-max system, just as Apple took a double-max design for the M1 Ultra in the studio. Since the M1 Ultra combines two Max chips together, that means four M2 Max chips combined. That would mean a 40-core CPU and a 96-core GPU. WWDC is right around the corner, so hopefully at least one of these new models will be unveiled. The rest could come at its hardware event in October.