Apple Rumored to be Planning Four New M2-based Macs in 2022
When Apple unveiled its all-new M1 CPU back in November 2020, it announced it would be transitioning all of its Mac computers from Intel chips to to its own silicon over time. Back then, the company estimated the transition would take roughly two years. Now that’s it’s 2022, the rumor mill is beginning to crank out some info about how the transition will be finalized. Apple still has several models that are using Intel CPUs: the 27-inch iMac, a theoretical iMac Pro (Apple no longer sells this model, but could offer a new version), and the big daddy Mac Pro. According to Apple prognosticator Mark Gurman of Bloomberg, the transition is proceeding on schedule, with all remaining Macs to jettison their Intel silicon this year. All existing M1 models will be reportedly be upgraded to Apple’s second gen M2 chips.
The information comes from Mark Gurman via MacWorld, and he’s reportedly saying Apple has four new Macs in the pipeline for 2022, all with variations of the upcoming M2 chip. As the entry-level SoC in Apple’s arsenal, don’t expect big changes from the M2. It will likely feature the same design as the M1 with eight cores total: four performance cores and four efficiency cores. However, though Apple is using TSMC’s 5nm process for its current M1 chips, it’s rumored to be using the company’s 4nm node for M2. This suggests the M2 will be more efficient but not necessarily more powerful. If TSMC has spun up its 3nm process for the chips though, it could offer up to 15 percent more performance with 30 percent more efficiency. It’s unclear at this time when 3nm parts will arrive however, though it’s already been reported that both Intel and Apple have been securing 3nm wafer capacity from TSMC for future products.
Though the company has a press event scheduled for March 8th where new hardware will be revealed, Gurman says the new Macs likely won’t debut until the second half of 2022. Leading the way will be a redesigned MacBook Air, which was one the first recipients of the M1 chip when it launched. Rumors suggest Apple will be giving the stalwart ultrabook its first major revision in many years, as the general design of the current version hasn’t changed much since its debut all the way back in 2010(!). In addition to receiving the new M2 chip, Apple could add some features it recently shipped with its updated MacBook Pros, namely a MagSafe connector, high resolution webcam, faster storage, and a similar “slab” design instead of the current tapered profile so it matches the rest of the portable Mac family.
Following the Air will be a redesigned 13-inch MacBook Pro, which oddly still exists alongside the all-new 14″ and 16″ models, but still uses the previous design as opposed to the new “slab” style of the updated Pro models. It’s possible the 13″ will be sort of an entry-level Pro model and priced accordingly, as the current model also has an M1 chip. The other recipients of the M2 silicon will be the 24″ iMac, and an entry-level Mac Mini.
Of course, these rumors of an incoming M2 chip leave out the most powerful Macs in the company’s lineup, namely the bigger iMac and the Mac Pro. The reason for that, and this is just a guess, is those bigger machines require at the very least a chip like the M1 Pro and M1 Max. The baseline M1 and its presumable successor are very small chips. Heck, Apple even put one in an iPad, so it won’t be doing a lot of heavy lifting in a bigger machine. Therefore, it’s likely that Apple will slot its existing M1 Pro and Max chips into something like the bigger iMac, with a potential multi-chip design for the iMac Pro and Mac Pro. And if past is prologue, those chips will be updated as M2 Pro and M2 Max, probably built on TSMC’s 3nm process and appearing in early 2023. Since the Mac Pro is the most powerful computer Apple makes, it is widely believed to be the final recipient of Apple silicon, so the company really is saving the best for last.