The MacBook Pro M1 may only be five months old, but Apple is reportedly already looking to the future with a refreshed range that will be powered by an M2 chip.
A new report from DigiTimes (opens in new tab) suggests that Apple has now booked the production for new in-house design chips that will very likely power the next generation of Macs. These are widely believed to be the M2 chip.
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Being manufactured by Taiwanese firm TSMC, these new M2 chips will be based on a 4-nanometer fabrication process node, which in layman's terms means more transistors packed onto a slice of silicon and thus more power. The current Apple M1 chip is based on the 5nm process, so moving to 4nm could give next-gen Macs a big boost.
Apple’s M1 chip broke new ground by providing a lot of performance from a chip that's based on ARM instruction sets, normally found in smartphones, not laptops. With the M2, Cupertino could build upon that success and drive MacBooks further away from Intel CPUs.
It's likely that the earliest we'll see the M2 chip in Macs will be this fall with the predicted debut of new MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models. We're expecting the iMac 2021 to use a custom take on the M1 rather than a second-generation Apple Silicon chip.
This rough launch date is far from certain, however, as the current global chip shortage means that production could be delayed until next year. In that case, we expect that Apple would make use of a more powerful version of the current M1 chip in its 2021 refreshed MacBook range.
We’d be very surprised to see Apple rest on its laurels this year and not push the MacBook forward with at least some form of processor upgrade. Whether it’ll be the M2 chip remains to be seen.
We’re still expecting to see an Apple event this month. Just don't expect to see any new MacBooks make their debut then.
The M2 chips for MacBooks are not the only new chip Apple is supposedly working on; according to DigiTimes. The A15 chip tipped for the iPhone 13 is due to enter production in late May ahead of the phone’s fall release. It's believed this new iPhone chip will be based on 5nm technology like its predecessor, the A14 Bionic. The 2022 iPhone is rumored to jump to 4nm.