Forget MacBook Pro M1: New Apple Silicon could be death blow for Intel

MacBook Pro Apple silicon
(Image credit: Apple)

The first MacBook Air M1 with Apple Silicon was impressive, and it looks like Apple's ready to turn the heat up even higher on Intel.

According to a Bloomberg report co-authored by reliable Apple journalist Mark Gurman, Apple's looking to not just beat the previous Intel-based MacBooks (and some of the best laptops around today) but just flat-out embarrass Intel altogether.

Apple will bestow these new ARM-based processors inside of its next MacBook Pro (both entry-level and high-end), the upcoming upgraded high-end iMacs and a new Mac Pro. Of course, we expected Apple to launch reveal new successors to the M1 chip for its more powerful Macs, but the details here are interesting.

How much faster can Apple get? Let's talk about cores. The new M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro kicked butt on M1 benchmarks, but the demanding world of video editors has been wondering what Apple will release for the more power-hungry audience.

The original M1 chip has a 8-core (4 high-performance, 4 high-efficiency) and the Bloomberg report suggests Apple's working on clearly more brawny chips. The next Apple Silicon for the MacBook Pro and iMac will reportedly be a 20-core system on chip, with up to 16 high-performance cores. That's on top of the standard four efficiency cores (which are there for when you are doing less processor-demanding work).

For those scoring at home, the new chip would be more than twice the number of cores in Apple's Intel-based MacBooks (which top out at 8).

The new M1 MacBook Pro and Air have 7-or-8 core integrated GPUs, and Apple also plans to up the ante for its upcoming "high-end laptops and mid-range desktops," as the report notes 16-core and 32-core graphics components are being tested out.

Except there's also versions of that chip with 8- and 12 high-performance cores enabled. Those could need to be used if issues with enabling all 16 high performance cores are shown during production.

Apple Silicon will get even faster

And then there's the even-more powerful Apple Silicon that's being made for desktop-class Macs. Apple, according to this report, is working on a system on chip design with a whopping 32 high-performance cores. This would go into "a new half-sized Mac Pro," that Apple would be positioning for 2022. The current MacPro maxes out at 28 cores at its highest-end customization. 

For higher-end desktop computers, planned for later in 2021 and a new half-sized Mac Pro planned to launch by 2022, Apple is testing a chip design with as many as 32 high-performance cores.

At that stage, Apple's biggest competitor will be AMD (Advanced Micro Devices), which has also been beating Intel in the chip fabrication business, with 16-core desktop-class chips and 64-core gaming components.

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.