With the advent of the M1 chip, seen in the Apple 24in iMac, 13in MacBook Pro, Mac mini and MacBook Air in 2020, the Mac range began to use its own desktop processor. We have since seen the debut of Pro-level versions in the form of M1 Max and M1 Pro, which came in 14in MacBook Pro and 16in MacBook Pro models, launched in October 2021, and M1 Ultra, which came with the new Mac Studio in March 2022. Read about the M1 series and what it has to offer.
Now rumors are circulating about Apple’s second generation silicon. We collect all the news and opinions about the chip in the Apple M2 system and what to expect in all its variants.
Apple M2 release date
There is no specific date or even official confirmation from Apple about the M2 chip. But we know that Apple is not a company that retains its reputation, as we have seen over the years the annual recurrence of A-series chips that run the iPhone.
Most of the rumors about the possible release date of the M2 have been linked to the next version of the MacBook Air, although there has also been talk of an M2 MacBook Pro from early 2022. Among the first to move to the M-Series in November 2020 were the MacBooks Air and Pro. Rumor has it that the 2022 MacBook Ai and 2022 MacBook Pro could soon be Apple’s next-generation silicon.
We’ve seen rumors from the likes YDylandkt Where it is said that a new MacBook could debut in the first half of 2022, full of M2 chips.
That tweet was dated July 2021, and since then the idea that the M2 could arrive as early as possible began to show less for a number of reasons, not least the lack of components and the closure of the spring plant in China in the spring of 2022 due to the epidemic.
Industry heavyweight Ming Chi-kuo has somewhat resisted those who believe the new MacBook will not arrive until the third quarter of 2022. This prediction seems more likely.
Another reason not to expect to see the M2 before the fall is that it is thought that Apple will further enhance the manufacturing process. Although the production process will be at 5 nanometers, Apple is expected to use TSMC’s next-generation N4P process, an improved version of the 5 nanometer process. This new process is expected to provide about 11 percentage points more performance and about 22 percentage points more efficiency than the conventional 5 nanometer process (used for the production of A15 and M1, M1 Pro and Max).
TSMC indicates that production of these processors will not begin until the second half of 2022. So M2 Macs are less likely to be released before the fall of 2022.
Apple M2 Features and Specifications
The M1 Pro and M1 Max processors (or more precisely SoCs) focus on performance enhancement that sees M1 Pro double the speed of M1 in graphics work, while M1 Max doubles it once more. Then the M1 Ultra, when it arrives in March 2022, offers twice the power of the M1 Max.
These extra CPU cores and GPU cores are great if you work in a video or graphic-design based job and need the fastest performance from a Mac. But, obviously this kind of speed comes at a cost that is forbidden for most users, and does not require this kind of hardware to surf their web, stream Netflix movies, keep in touch with friends on social media or work from home. Documents and spreadsheets.
So, the current expectation is that when they launch the M2 line of processors, consumers will be targeted instead of professionals, and as such it will focus more on increasing energy efficiency as well as general performance than M1 will replace it.
Apple will then make the M2 chip and launch its Pro, Max and Ultra variants.
We’ve seen some reports that Apple will have the same 8 CPU cores as the M1, but may add more GPU cores to enhance the M2’s capabilities. For example, in May 2021, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman suggested that the M2 (apparently codenamed Staten) would include the same eight cores as the M1 chip, but that it would run faster.
The N4P process mentioned above should allow for a transistor density that is about six percent higher, which could enable Apple to integrate 10 CPU cores into the M2 (two more than the M1). These individual cores can clock a little faster than the M1.
Another possibility is that Apple could do something with the M2 CPU that it did with the M1 Pro and M1 Max, both of which have 10-cores. However, while the M1 has four high-performance cores and four high-efficiency cores, the M1 Pro and Max have twice the number of high-performance cores (eight), but less efficient cores (two). The next gen M2 could increase the number of high-efficiency cores.
Apple could expand the graphics card’s functionality to nine or ten graphics cores, two more than the current M1.
In the aforementioned report, Gurman suggested that the number of M2 graphics cores increase from seven or eight to nine or ten.
Some people are expecting that the M2 can currently support more RAM than the M1 (the M1 can support a maximum of 16GB of RAM, while the M1 Pro can support 32GB, the M1 Max 64GB and the M1 Ultra 128GB). It is unlikely that the M2 will support 32GB of RAM, and is probably unnecessary for this type of Mac. Although we want to reduce the price of 16GB RAM update.
As with any recurring upgrade, we expect the M2 to offer better battery life and power efficiency than the M1.
Which Macs will get M2 processor?
Discussing the M2 chip, Gurman claimed that it would be scheduled for the next MacBook Air and would also be used to update the low-end 13in MacBook Pro.
After getting the new MacBook Pros supercharged M1 Pro and M1 Max, we think M2 will be the processor that will be displayed on consumer-level Macs.
So we expect M2 updates for the MacBook Air, Mac Mini and 24in Mac to come next year or so. Also, with the iPad Pro currently playing the M1 chip, it could be that the expected iPad Pro (2022) goes to the M2 route instead of the M1 Pro or M1 Max. It will be interesting to see and hopefully it won’t take too long until we can test the new Silicon and find out exactly what Apple has improved.
That doesn’t mean you have to wait until after 2022, because you’ll see why the upcoming M2 chip won’t stop you from buying a Mac right now.
What about M2 Pro, M2 Max and M2 Ultra?
There will be readers who want to know what the M2 has for Pro, Max and Ultra variants. The M1 Pro and M1 Max have already proven to be very capable, and there are a lot of expectations for the M1 Ultra, so future developments in Apple’s strategy here look very exciting.
The M2 will be great, no doubt about it, but just a year later we will see something even better that will bring a much bigger leap in performance than the current generation.
TSMC has been asked to test processors made using the 3nm process, which allows for more transistor densities, and according to Digitimes these can be assigned to M3 and A17 chips. TSMC had earlier had to suspend its 3nm plan due to the complexity of the process.
According to Digitimes, the first products using the 3nm processor will be released in the first quarter of 2023, with production starting at the end of 2022.
Qualcomm, Samsung and Intel are all ready to use the 3nm process.
The M3 chip can significantly increase performance compared to M1 chips, the high-end chip is built with two boards and offers up to 40 CPU cores.
The data states that Apple’s M3 chips are code-named Ibiza, Lobos and Palma.