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Apple M2 chip just leaked ahead of Apple event — what you need to know

Apple M2 chip
(Image credit: Apple)

Editor's Note: After this story was published, Apple surprised us by unveiling a new top-of-the-line M1 chip during its March 2022 event: the M1 Ultra. With a 20-core CPU and 64-core GPU (the most ever on an Apple chip) this is almost certainly the much-rumored new piece of Apple silicon we expected to see, though it didn't end up being called the M2. Original story follows:

The next big Apple event takes place tomorrow, March 8, and there's good reason to think we may see the launch of some new Apple Silicon. That looks all the more likely now, given reports that Apple is currently testing its new M2 chips ahead of the event.

That’s according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, in his ‘Power on’ newsletter. Gurman claims that a “developer source” has informed him that Apple is testing a new chip at the moment. What's more, this chip has an 8-core CPU and 10-core GPU, and has been tested on various unreleased macOS updates running on multiple Mac machines.

According to Gurman’s source, this new chip has four efficiency CPU cores and four high-performance cores. Gurman points out that he already reported those specs for the M2 last year, suggesting this really is the M2 and not something else entirely — like the M1 Super Max Pro, or something like that.

Rumor is that the M2 chip is going to offer better performance than the M1, but will supposedly use less power in the process. If that sounds familiar, it’s because that’s exactly what the original M1 chip offered when it debuted in late 2020. 

Compared to older Macs running Intel chips, the M1 was a huge improvement, offering more computing power with a significantly longer battery life.

However, the M2 is supposed to be less powerful than both the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips. Both those chips are billed as specialist silicon, designed for power users rather than the casual everyday MacBook owner. 

The chip will reportedly be smaller, though, at 4nm compared to the M1 range’s 5nm, and it’s likely we’ll see Pro and Max versions of the M2 within the next 12-18 months or so.

So, where can we expect to see the M2? So far we’ve heard rumors that a new MacBook Pro 2022 and a refreshed MacBook Air 2022 may be coming with the M2 chip.

The speculation generally suggests these Macs won’t be launching until sometime later this year — possibly the fall — but considering tomorrow's Apple event is billed as "Peek Performance," it's also possible one or both of them might be unveiled in a blaze of glory in just over a day's time. Either way, we won't have to wait long to find out.

Tom Pritchard
Tom Pritchard

Tom is the Tom's Guide's Automotive Editor, which means he can usually be found knee deep in stats the latest and best electric cars, or checking out some sort of driving gadget. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining that Ikea won’t let him buy the stuff he really needs online.