Apple is developing a next-generation version of the M1 Apple silicon chip, which will tentatively be called the "M2." The M2 is believed to be shipping in 2022, and current rumors suggest that it could be a replacement for the M1, with Apple to use it in MacBook Air models coming later in the year.
What We Know
Apple in October 2021 unveiled the M1 Pro and the M1 Max, its newest Apple silicon chips that are used in the 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pro models. The M1 Pro has up to 10 CPU cores and up to 16 GPU cores, while the M1 Max has a 10-core CPU and up to 32 GPU cores. There's also an M1 Ultra chip in the Mac Studio with a 20-core GPU and up to 64 GPU cores.
The M2 is the next-generation version of Apple silicon, and the first M2 chip will succeed the M1 chip. It will not be as powerful as the M1 Max and the M1 Pro, but it will be more powerful than the M1, the chip that it is designed to replace.
We know a limited amount about the M2 at this time, but rumors suggest it could be first used in the updated and redesigned MacBook Air that's planned for somewhere around mid-to-late 2022, and it is also rumored to be coming to a refreshed version of the 13-inch MacBook Pro.
CPU and GPU Rumors
The M2 is expected to have the same 8-core CPU as the M1, but there will be speed and efficiency improvements as it is expected to be built on TSMC's 4-nanometer process.
It is expected to have additional GPU cores, with 9 and 10-core GPU options, up from the 7 and 8-core GPU options in the original M1 chip.
Signs of the M2 chip popped up in the macOS Monterey 12.3 beta as Apple works on developing the chip. The chip features eight CPU cores and a 10-core GPU, which is in line with the information we know about the M2.
M2 Pro and M2 Max
Apple is also working on higher-end more powerful M2 Pro and M2 Max chips. Rumors suggest that the M2 Max chip features a 12-core CPU and a 38-core GPU, along with 64GB memory, and though we haven't heard specific details on the M2 Pro, it will be a middle-tier chip between the M2 and M2 Max.
The M2 chip is likely to be included in the MacBook Air that's coming in 2022, as well as an updated Mac mini and a new version of the 13-inch MacBook Pro. Apple's MacBook Air is the most exciting of the M2 products rumored, and it is expected to see a total design overhaul, with the new machine featuring slimmer off-white bezels, an off-white keyboard, a MacBook Pro-style design with a possible notch and no more wedge-shaped design.
The M2 Pro and M2 Max will be used in the Mac mini and the 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pro models.
After the M2
Apple is planning to transition all of its Mac products over to the M-series Apple silicon chips in the future, so we will likely continue to see iterations and improvements to the chip lineup. Apple has continually refreshed the A-series chips used in iPhones each year, and we're expecting the same regular upgrades for the Apple silicon chips.
Apple will likely introduce M2 Pro and M2 Max chips for future versions of the MacBook Pro and other devices, if it sticks with the M1/M1 Pro/M1 Max naming scheme introduced across 2020 and 2021.
More on Apple Silicon and the M1
If you want to know more about Apple's plans for its Apple silicon chips, or the M1 that's used in the current MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac mini, and iMac machines, we have dedicated Apple silicon and M1 chip guides. We also have a guides for the M1 Max and M1 Pro chips that are in the 2021 MacBook Pro models.
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