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Apple M2 chip — everything we know so far

Apple M2 chip
(Image credit: Apple)

The Apple M2 chip is somewhat of a mystery but it's expected to power a new crop of Macs, possibly ones released in the latter half of the year. We could see the new M2 chip power the new MacBook Air 2022, Mac mini 2022, MacBook Pro 2022, and iPad Pro 2022, though it's not clear which devices will show up first.

The Apple Silicon initiative started with a bang thanks to the M1 chip, but that was just the tip of the spear for Cupertino’s move away from Intel processors as the M1 Pro and M1 Max driving the MacBook Pro 14-inch and MacBook Pro 16-inch (respectively) demonstrated in late 2021. Some leaks suggest the M2 will be less powerful than the latest M1 chips. Instead, the M2 will focus more on balancing efficiency and power.

With that in mind, here's what we know about the Apple M2 chip so far.

Apple M2 news and rumors (updated April 15)

Apple M2 chip release date and configurations

Apple M2 chip

(Image credit: Future)

According to reliable Apple leaker DylanDKT, the Apple M2 chip will release in the second half of 2022. However, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman says that a new MacBook Air 2022 could show up at the Apple WWDC 2022 event in June, which will reportedly be powered by an Apple M2 chip. The rumored 13-inch MacBook Pro 2022 will also pack an M2 chip, according to rumors.

Bloomberg reports that Apple is testing “at least nine” new Macs with four different configurations of the upcoming M2 chip. The evidence comes in the form of developer logs from third-party apps on the App Store, which have been good predictors of imminent hardware in the past, and suggests Apple is actively testing its upcoming computers against real-world software. Bloomberg adds that this has been “corroborated by people familiar with the matter.”

As with the M1, it seems Apple is testing four flavors of M2. Alongside the regular M2, there are what appear to be Pro, Max and Ultra variants. The entry-level vanilla M2 appears to be being tested in a MacBook Air 2022 (J413), a Mac mini 2022 (J473) and an entry-level MacBook Pro 2022 (J493). You may get a sense of deja vu at this point, as these are the three bits of hardware Apple debuted the original M1 chip with, so a pattern does appear to be forming. Across all three, the M2 chip has the same specs: the same eight CPU cores as the M1, but with an additional two-to-three graphics cores, for a total of ten.

Apple M2 chip specs  

Apple M2 chip

(Image credit: MacRumors)

The M1 chip impressed us, and the rest of the computing world, with performance that can beat the 11th Gen Intel Tiger Lake processors. The M1 Pro and M1 Max were even more impressive. Interestingly enough, the M2 chip will reportedly not surpass the current M1 chips despite bearing a higher number. The latest leak suggests that the M2 will be less performant than the M1 Pro and M1 Max.

At the moment, we can't say how many cores the M2 chip will have. Previously, it was believed that the chip would have as many as 12 CPU cores. Neither the M1 Pro nor M1 Max has that many — each packing 8 and 10 cores, respectively. Another leak from DylanDKT suggests that a superpowered M1 Max chip driving the 2022 iMac Pro will have 12-cores.

Mark Gurman previously claimed that the chip would have an 8-core CPU, complete with four efficiency and high-performance cores, plus a 10-core GPU. That would make it less powerful than the M1 Pro Max, but more powerful than the M1 chip it's intended to replace.

Then there are computers powered by M2 Pro and M2 Max chips. As with last year’s equivalent M1 silicon, these souped-up chips appear destined for 14-inch and 16-inch versions of the MacBook Pro (J414 and J416 respectively), but there’s also an M2 Pro powered Mac mini (J474) being put through its paces.

Bloomberg doesn’t provide specifics for the M2 Pro, but the M2 Max appears to have 12 CPU cores and 38 graphics cores, which is up from ten and 32 in the current version. It will also reportedly pack 64GB of memory.

Apple M2 chip MacBook Pro 

Apple M2 chip

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

As DylanDKT says (via CreativeBloq), the M2-powered MacBook Pro will not be a successor to the current 14- and 16-inch laptops. It will instead be an upgrade to the 13-inch MacBook Pro, which will apparently be discontinued after the new 13-inch laptop releases. As such, don't expect a radical overhaul of the laptop's overall design — notch and all.

As Digital Trends notes, the M2 MacBook Pro will be cheaper than the latest MacBook Pros. However, considering the rising price of GPUs, M2-powered Apple devices may not be that much cheaper.

Apple M2 chip outlook  

Apple M2 chip

(Image credit: Apple)

If recent leaks are accurate then folks expecting beefier Apple silicon in the M2 chip would do well to their temper expectations. It appears, at least for the moment, that we won't see the same jump in performance experienced between the 2020 M1 chip and the 2021 M1 Pro and M1 Max. This is certainly disappointing, but even if this year's MacBook Pro isn't as powerful as the 2021 models, a potentially less cost-prohibitive machine isn't a total loss.

We'll update this hub with all Apple M2 news, leaks and rumors as we receive them.

Tony Polanco
Tony Polanco

Tony is a computing writer at Tom’s Guide covering laptops, tablets, Windows, and iOS. During his off-hours, Tony enjoys reading comic books, playing video games, reading speculative fiction novels, and spending too much time on Twitter. His non-nerdy pursuits involve attending Hard Rock/Heavy Metal concerts and going to NYC bars with friends and colleagues. His work has appeared in publications such as Laptop Mag, PC Mag, and various independent gaming sites.