As Intel’s new CEO makes it a top priority to win back Apple’s business, the iPhone maker is apparently developing successors to the company’s inaugural Mac chip, the M1.
- The Information says Apple is working on the next two generations of Mac chips
- The high-end one would use four semiconductor dies for up to 40 CPU cores
- Some of the chips will be fabbed on TSMC’s 3nm process technology
- The most powerful chips coming in 2023 will power Apple’s Mac Pro
- Less powerful ones will be used for MacBooks and other systems
Much more powerful Apple silicon Macs coming in 2023
The Mac is transitioning from Intel technology to Apple’s in-house silicon. Following the M1, its inaugural Mac chip that powers several models such as the Mac mini, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air and iMac, the company is now reportedly developing its successors.
Based on confidential information provided by three people with direct knowledge of Apple’s plans, The Information reported that the second and third-generation Mac chips are expected to easily outperform Intel’s future processors for consumer PCs.
Apple’s third generation of Mac processors—which go by the code names Ibiza, Lobos and Palma, according to three people with direct knowledge of the projects—look to be an especially big step up from the processors Intel is expected to begin shipping around that time, analysts told The Information.
The second-generation chips are coming as soon as 2022, The Information has it.
Author Wayne Ma adds that the chips coming in 2022 will be manufactured using TSMC’s upgraded five-nanometer process, resulting in a relatively modest jump in CPU and GPU performance over the current M1-branded ones.
For context, all versions of Apple’s Mac chips—the inaugural M1 and its successors the M1 Pro and M1 Max—are built on the first version of TSMC’s five-nanometer process. Read: How to distinguish between Apple silicon and Intel apps on your Mac
Second-generation Apple silicon will be succeeded by the third-generation chips coming in 2023, bringing a “much bigger leap” in performance. As The Information has learned, Apple’s roadmap includes 2023 chips with two and four semiconductor dies, resulting in up to 40 processing cores. By comparison, the current M1 chip has eight CPU cores.
As for the more powerful M1 Pro and M1 Max versions, these chips use ten processing cores. We think it’s safe to speculate that the refreshed Mac chips coming in 2023 are designed for Apple’s most powerful desktops, such as the flagships Mac Pro workstation which can be configured with a 28-core Intel Xeon W processor.
Less powerful versions of the 2023 chips will power upcoming Mac notebooks, The Information has learned, including the next 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro updates and a future MacBook Air coming in 2022 with MagSafe support.
It will be interesting seeing whether the next Mac chips succeed in widening the gap between Apple and Intel. One thing is certain: Without the actual chips to run CPU and GPU benchmarks, we can only speculate about the CPU performance. But if the Apple M1 is anything to go by, Apple will continue leveraging its node and architecture advantages to scale up the M1’s design even further than the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips.