New MacBook Air 2022 leak could be bad news for M2 performance

MacBook Air 2022 render
(Image credit: LeaksApplePro)

The MacBook Air 2022 is tipped to launch at Apple's WWDC 2022 event on June 6, but we wouldn't expect a huge power boost over the MacBook Air M1. 

Rumors surrounding the Apple M2 chip have been plentiful. As the successor to the M1 line, it’s not unreasonable to assume that the M2 would be more powerful. However, the latest rumors hint at a minor upgrade at best for the next generation of Apple silicon.

According to Apple leaker Ming-Chi Kuo (opens in new tab) (via MacRumors (opens in new tab)), we may see the first M2 chips appear in the next iterations of the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models. It’s also possible that the M2 chip will appear in the MacBook Air 2022.

However, as previous rumors have suggested, the M2 may not be much more powerful than the M1. Apple may call the redesigned chip “M2” to boost sales or wait to use that moniker for chips debuting in 2023, according to Kuo.

Apple M2 chip

It's possible that the M2 chip won't offer a significant upgrade over M1, according to rumors. (Image credit: Apple)

To that end, Kuo said TSMC’s improved N3 and N4P fabrication process won’t be ready for mass production until 2023. As such, Apple’s 2022 chips are likely to use the current N5P and N4 process. Kuo believes N4 doesn’t offer a significant advantage over N5P. This is supposedly the case with the upcoming A16 chip believed to power the iPhone 14 Pro. Kuo claims the names “A16” and “M2” could exist for the purposes of marketing.

If these rumors are true then it seems we’ll have to wait until 2023 to see the true successor to the M1 line of chips. Because of that, it might be best to temper one’s expectations with regard to the M2 and A16 chips. Based on these and other rumors, we may not see the same jump in performance experienced between the 2020 M1 chip and the 2021 M1 Pro and M1 Max.

In an earlier report, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman claimed that the M2 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 and M1 Max, but more powerful than the M1 chip.

The bigger news around the MacBook Air 2022 seems to be the rumored redesign. The new MacBook Air is tipped for a slightly larger display, slimmer bezels and MagSafe charging. Plus, you can expect multiple color options. We just saw some pretty stunning MacBook Air 2022 renders ahead of the possible launch, and we hope these are accurate. 

Be sure to check out our WWDC hub for all the latest news regarding Apple’s next big event. If you’re unsure where to see the show, here’s how to watch the WWDC 2022 live stream. And if you want a sneak peek at would could be coming next, check out this patent for a touchscreen MacBook with Apple pencil support (opens in new tab)

Tony Polanco
Computing Writer

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.