The release of devices powered by Apple’s M1 chip marked a before and after in the tech ecosystem. The x86 architecture has been standard in the PC space since the introduction of Intel’s 8086 CPU in 1978, and Apple themselves made the switch to Intel CPUs over from PowerPC in 2005. But Apple’s second transition, from x86 to their own in-house ARM CPUs last year, was far more interesting. Not only is this the first time Apple has full control over their computers’ software and hardware like with their smartphones and tablets, but the CPU itself, the Apple M1, manages to trade bouts with the most powerful Intel Core and AMD Ryzen CPUs out there in terms of performance.
Now, Apple’s long-awaited successor to the Apple M1, which will probably be called the Apple M2 and ship on devices later this year, has begun mass production, sources in the industry told Nikkei Asia. The Apple M1 SoC has already shipped in the 13-inch MacBook Air and MacBook Pro as well as the Mac Mini, and this M1-powered product lineup was joined by a redesigned iMac and a more powerful iPad Pro during the last Apple event.
Notably, the 14-inch and 16-inch models of the MacBook Pro have been absent from Apple’s product lineup as the last ones are Intel-powered and haven’t received an ARM refresh, and while we’ve seen plenty about them in the rumor mill, they’re supposed to launch with another chip that’s apparently called the “Apple M1X”, featuring a 12-core design instead of an 8-core. However, given that we’re about to enter the second half of the year in some months and seeing that these chips are set to start shipping in July, just less than 3 months from now, we might just be talking about the same SoC. If it’s indeed the same SoC, we’re seemingly going to see considerable performance improvements, whether it launches as the Apple M1X or as the Apple M2.
Of course, we could be wrong as this is all just speculation. We might learn more about this SoC and maybe even about the upcoming MacBooks on WWDC 2021, which is set to be held from June 7 to June 11.