Apple may start shipping the successor to its M1 chip as early as July, according to a report. The new chip, speculated to be called the M2 or M1X, is reported to have entered mass production — hinting at its arrival on new MacBook models later this year. The Cupertino company brought the M1 chip as its first system-on-chip (SoC) in November that came as the first step to replace Intel-designed CPUs on Apple devices. The M1 chip debuted on the company's MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini last year. However, Apple last week widened its coverage to the latest iPad Pro and iMac models.
Citing people familiar with the development, Nikkei Asia has reported the tentative shipments plan of the M1 successor. Apple is expected to offer the new chip first in its next-generation MacBook models in the second half of the year. However, it could be used in other Mac and Apple devices apart from the MacBook lineup over time.
The new M-series chip is said to be produced by Apple supplier Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) using the new production technology called 5-nanometer plus or N5P. This is an upgrade over the existing 5-nanometer process technology that was used for building last year's M1 chip.
In February, some specifications and performance metrics purportedly associated with the M1 successor were leaked via benchmarking site CPU Money. The site suggested that the chip could include 12 CPU and 16 GPU cores, up from the 8 CPU and GPU cores available on the M1 chip. The additional cores are expected to deliver faster processing and graphics performance.
Apple has not yet publicly confirmed the development. However, the rumour mill has so far suggested that the new Apple Silicon could be called the M1X or M2.
While announcing the M1 chip last year, Apple revealed its two-year transition strategy to move completely to its native silicon. The company last week gave a glimpse of its plan by expanding the use of its M1 chip from the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini to the latest iPad Pro and iMac.
Apple's gradual shift to its M-series chips will affect Intel, that has dominated the personal computing industry globally. The US chipmaker introduced its 11th-generation Core processors for both laptops and desktops in the recent past.
Is MacBook Air M1 the portable beast of a laptop that you always wanted? We discussed this on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and wherever you get your podcasts.