Apple Executives Discuss M2 Chips, Gaming on Mac, Intel and More

Following the release of the Mac mini and the MacBook Pro with M2 Pro and ‌M2‌ Max chips, Apple's platform architecture VP Tim Millet and product marketing VP Bob Borchers did an interview with TechCrunch's Matthew Panzarino to discuss the new technology, the transition away from Intel, the future of gaming on the Mac, and more.

new macbook pro pink
With the followup to the M1 chip line, Millet said that Apple did not want to set a precedent of a few percentage points of gain with each new chip generation. Instead, the company aimed to push to the limits of technology as far as it could.

"The M2 family was really now about maintaining that leadership position by pushing, again, to the limits of technology. We don't leave things on the table," says Millet. "We don't take a 20% bump and figure out how to spread it over three years...figure out how to eke out incremental gains. We take it all in one year; we just hit it really hard. That's not what happens in the rest of the industry or historically."

Borchers said that by moving Mac chip design in house, Apple is able to bring silicon, software, and hardware together without relying on outside vendors. Being able to work alongside designers, the hardware team, and the software team "makes all the difference" in Apple's ability to "really target" and add "things that matter" to Macs.

On the topic of Apple's former partnership with Intel, Millet and Borchers praised the company's willingness to accommodate Apple's needs, with Millet also suggesting that the relationship between Apple and Intel ultimately benefited Apple's competitors.

"Intel was a great partner through the years where we shipped the Intel machines. They were very responsive; they really actually were inspired by the direction that Apple pushed them. And I think our products benefited from that interaction. Of course, our competitors' products benefited from that interaction as well sometimes," notes Millet.

As for gaming on the Mac, Borchers says that Apple feels gaming is getting better with each M-series chip release. He said that Apple is adding in new APIs and expanding Metal with Metal 3, so there's "tremendous opportunity" for game makers.

Apple plans to continue to look at chip configurations and components through a gaming lens, and Millet said that while Apple is taking a "long view" on turning the Mac into a gaming platform, work began with the first days of the Apple silicon transition.

"The story starts many years ago, when we were imagining this transition. Gamers are a serious bunch. And I don't think we're going to fool anybody by saying that overnight we're going to make Mac a great gaming platform. We're going to take a long view on this."

According to Millet, Apple is working to build an installed base of strong GPUs. Apple wants the full Mac lineup to have "very capable GPUs," from the MacBook Air to the Mac Studio with M1 Ultra. He also believes that developers haven't yet adapted to M-series chips. "Game developers have never seen 96 gigabytes of graphics memory available to them now, on the ‌M2‌ Max," said Miller. I think they're trying to get their heads around it, because the possibilities are unusual."

Panzarino's full interview, which can be read over at TechCrunch, covers additional topics that include the transition to Apple silicon, how the iPad Pro led to Apple's Mac chips, the relationship between teams, optimizations in design cycles with Apple silicon, the best time to buy a Mac, and the value of the ‌Mac mini‌.

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Top Rated Comments

TheYayAreaLiving ?️ Avatar
17 months ago
Sounds more of a marketing interview.
Score: 44 Votes (Like | Disagree)
HVDynamo Avatar
17 months ago

"Game developers have never seen 96 gigabytes of graphics memory available to them now, on the M2 Max," said Miller. I think they're trying to get their heads around it, because the possibilities are unusual."

Meanwhile they are shipping macs with 8GB of unified memory... That 96GB is completely useless for game developers unless the majority of people have it. If they want to think that way about it they need to stop being so stingy with RAM upgrade pricing, and dump 8GB as an option all together (which should have been done with the M1 lineup anyhow). Nothing should ship with less than 16GB RAM now, especially since it's unified memory that is used for both Graphics and processor.
Score: 41 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kwikdeth Avatar
17 months ago
No one is going to spend $4k for a non-upgradable gaming machine with 96gb of ram on a platform with no real AAA titles. Just stop with that madness.
Score: 39 Votes (Like | Disagree)
now i see it Avatar
17 months ago

And I don't think we're going to fool anybody by saying that overnight we're going to make Mac a great gaming platform. We're going to take a long view on this."
Yeah- 39 years and counting
Score: 33 Votes (Like | Disagree)
singularity0993 Avatar
17 months ago
Macs will never be great gaming platforms unless they fix the pricing. For half the price you can always get Windows machines with much better graphics.

(Yes, 96GB of VRAM sounds attractive, but the truth is most people will get the 8/16GB configuration and there will be so few people gaming with 96GB VRAM that game developers will probably ignore them.)
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sw1tcher Avatar
17 months ago

Macs will never be great gaming platforms unless they fix the pricing. For half the price you can always get Windows machines with much better graphics.
The biggest issue for me is that you cannot upgrade the GPU on Macs since it's all integrated into Apple's chip.

With Windows PCs, you can upgrade the GPU whenever you feel like it (what I used to do was buy 1 year old higher end parts off friends who are upgrading to something newer at a nice discount). With a Mac, you'd need to buy a completely new machine.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)