Apple’s M1 chip has been a revelation since it launched late last year, bringing a radical performance increase to the company’s Macs compared to their Intel predecessors. Now, it looks like the follow-up to the M1 is almost ready for showtime.
According to Nikkei Asia, the chips entered production this month. The outlet reports that the chips could start shipping to Apple as early as July of this year, with Macs containing them going on sale in the second half of 2021.
Updated MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models are obvious candidates for these new chips, as are the Mac Mini and iMac (although the latter would likely be updated later, seeing as it has only just been redesigned). Intriguingly, the Nikkei Asia report says the M2 could appear in “other Mac and Apple devices beyond the MacBook.” That would seem to suggest it could be outfitted in iPad models — something that seems less surprising now that the iPad Pro runs on an M1 chip.
Nikkei Asia tentatively dubs the new chip the M2. Previous rumors had suggested the chip might be called the M1X, implying a more incremental upgrade over the M1. If it turns out that the M2 name is correct, that would suggest a much larger improvement in performance.
We currently do not yet know any of the key specs of the M2. In late 2020, reporter Mark Gurman, who has a strong record when it comes to Apple rumors, claimed the company was working on the next generation of its Apple Silicon chips. These could contain 16, 12, or eight high-performance cores, he claimed. The M1, in comparison, currently contains four high-performance cores. Even if the M2 sits at the lower end of Gurman’s prediction, it would still be a potentially huge upgrade over the M1.
If Nikkei Asia’s July date is correct, there is a slim chance Apple might reveal the updated MacBooks at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June. It is already a dead certainty that Apple is planning to completely overhaul the MacBook Pro 13 this year, so that would seem to be a prime target for the M2 chips. If everything is ready in time, WWDC could be the event to watch.