Apple’s next-generation silicon for Macs, dubbed the M2, has reportedly entered mass production ahead of additional Apple silicon Mac hardware introductions expected in late 2021.


STORY HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The new Apple M2 chip has entered mass production this month.
  • The M2 is expected to power higher-end Mac models.
  • The 16-inch MacBook Pro and 27-inch iMac are yet to be refreshed.
  • Apple also plans to debut a 14-inch MacBook Pro later this year.

The Apple M2 chip enters mass production

Nikkei Asia reports that the Apple M2 chip has entered mass production recently. Shipments of the new Apple silicon could begin as early as July, in time for new product releases in the fall.

The latest entry in the Apple silicon lineup is, like its predecessor, a so-called system-on-a-chip, meaning it integrates central processing units, graphic processing units and artificial intelligence accelerators all on one chip. Sources said it will eventually be used in other Mac and Apple devices beyond the MacBook.

The M2 is produced by Apple’s chip partner TSMC on its 5-nanometre plus process technology, or N5P. “Producing such advanced chipsets takes at least three months,” the site adds.

Which new features could Apple M2 bring?

The current M1 chip debuted in last year’s Mac mini, 13-inch MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, marking the company’s very first M1 Macs. In April 2021, Apple unveiled yet another system powered by the M1 chi, a redesigned iMac all-in-one desktop with a 24-inch screen.

The Intel → Apple silicon transition is a two-year process and we’re not halfway through yet. While pure speculation on our part, the M2 chip is most likely designed to power higher-end iMac models, such as the current 27-inch iMac, aside from a revision to the current 16-inch MacBook Pro notebook and a rumored new 14-inch MacBook Pro model.

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Built using TSMC’s 5-nanometre process technology, the M1 sports four Apple-designed high-performance “Firestorm” and four energy-efficient “Icestorm” cores along with a custom eight-core GPU, dedicated neural network hardware in a 16-core Neural Engine and unified memory architecture, among other features.

The RAM chips are mounted together with the M1 system-on-a-chip in a system-in-a-package design, with 8GB and 16GB configurations available. The limited RAM is why the M1 doesn’t power, for instance, the 16-inch MacBook Pro, a machine aimed at content creators, programmers, designers and other creative professionals who need as much RAM as possible.

By that logic, the M2 could be based on the same CPU and GPU technology as the M1 whilst boosting the RAM to satisfy those customers (and probably supporting connections to two external displays). It will probably also feature a slightly updated thermal throttling.