The Apple M1 was a ground-breaking chip when it first launched, giving the likes of the MacBook Air, the 13-inch MacBook Pro and iMac speedier performances than their AMD and Intel rivals.
Reports now indicate that Apple is looking to replace the M1 processor with a new M2 chip in 2022. But what are the key differences in this Apple M1 vs Apple M2 matchup?
Keep scrolling to learn everything we know about the M2 chip and what sort of upgrades you can expect it to bring to future Apple products.
The Apple M2 will be a direct sequel to the M1
Apple has not confirmed any information about the M2 chip, although reports suggest it will be a direct successor to the existing M1 processor.
This is a key difference to the recently released M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, which are considered to be souped-up iterations of the M1 rather than successors. The M1 Pro and M1 Max are designed to co-exist with the M1, as they’re intended for professional devices such as the MacBook Pro 2021 and iMac Pro 2022 rather than entry-level devices.
Meanwhile, the M2 chip is designed for the exact same entry-level Macs as the M1, so you can expect it to feature inside the 13-inch MacBook Pro 2022, MacBook Air 2022 and the next entry-level iMac.
This means the M2 will essentially kick off the second generation of Apple Silicon processors, similar to how Intel is currently rolling out its 12th Gen Alder Lake range to replace the previous 11th Gen line-up.
The Apple M2 will launch this year
Apple hasn’t confirmed the release date (or even the existence) of the Apple M2 just yet, but there are plenty of rumours indicating it could launch this year.
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (via 9to5Mac) has suggested the M2 will arrive mid-2022, which may line up with WWDC.
However, more recent reports indicate that the M2 chip could debut inside the 13-inch MacBook Pro 2022, which has been tipped for a reveal during Apple’s Spring showcase on 8 March 2022.
The MacBook Pro could be the first laptop to feature the M2
MacRumors claims that the 13-inch MacBook Pro will be the first Mac to feature the new M2 chip. The processor upgrade is expected to be the only major upgrade, with Apple retaining the same design and feature-set.
Previous reports had suggested that it would actually be the MacBook Air that debuted the M2 chip instead. But that lightweight laptop isn’t expected until the latter half of the year, as Apple is said to be giving it a design overhaul, as well as providing new features such as a Mini LED screen and MagSafe charging.
The entry-level iMac and Mac Mini devices are also likely to get an M2 chip upgrade, although we’re not sure when these devices will become available. We’re hoping for a 2022 launch at the very least.
Apple M2 could use a 4nm process
The Apple M2 is expected to be built on a 4nm process, which is an improvement on the M1’s 5nm node, freeing up more room for additional transistors.
With a smaller node, the Apple M2 could potentially see better efficiency than the M1, resulting in an improved performance even if it has the same number of CPU cores.
Many reports have indicated the Apple M2 will retain the same number of CPU cores (8) as its predecessor, so it will be interesting to see how big of an impact the architecture improvements will bring.
The Apple M2 could have more graphics power
While the Apple M2 is unlikely to see an increase in CPU cores, Apple is reportedly being more generous for its GPU core offering.
According to MacRumors, the Apple M2 will be available with up to 10 graphics cores. That’s an improvement on the M1, which is limited to just 8 GPU cores. Such an upgrade would make Apple’s laptops more competent with intensive workloads such as video editing and 3D animation.
But it’s important to remember that the M2 will still likely lag far behind the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips in terms of graphics power. The M1 Pro packs 16 GPU cores, while the M1 Max flaunts a whopping 32. This means both chips will be better options for high-end graphics work, so there’s little point holding out for the M2 chip if that’s where your priorities lie.
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