Apple has several big product launches on the horizon, and one of them is the Apple M2 chip, which could launch alongside up to seven new Mac models this year. It’s been 10 years since Apple updated the processor in its Mac lineup, but that could be about to change. Even though it hasn’t even launched yet, the Apple M2 chip appears to have found its way into some new Mac models on display at the ongoing CES tech trade show in Las Vegas.
What is the M2 chip?
The M2 chip will serve as the successor to the Apple A12, both of which are expected to provide significant power for their respective devices. The A12 chip has already been included in this year’s iPhone lineup and Apple has also previously added an A12X series for its latest iPad Pro.
The M2 will likely be introduced with a new iPad Mini and updated MacBook Airs, but if it features strong enough performance improvements over the previous iteration, it is possible that we could see it include other upcoming products like Mac desktops or even iPads.
There have been few details leaked about what improvements the chips might offer compared to their predecessors aside from a 20% increase in speed over the last generation. With those limited specifications, it remains unclear whether or not the M2 will be able to hold up against rivals such as Intel or Qualcomm.
The most obvious advantage of introducing the M2 would be that Apple would no longer need to share development resources between iOS and macOS versions of their chips. That said, many industry experts doubt that this would lead to significant changes in how these two operating systems operate on separate platforms.
It remains unclear whether or not this chip will actually launch at all given its lack of information so far. With any luck, more concrete announcements should come out later this year ahead of its projected release date.
Is it different from the T1?
The Apple T1 chip released last year was touted for its revolutionary performance and quickly became a staple in the company’s new lineup of laptops. Early reports from The Outline now suggest that Apple has been working on a chip they are calling the M2 which is also rumored to have revolutionary performance, as well as cost less than $40 per unit. If true, it could pose a huge problem for Intel and other hardware manufacturers who make computer chips to rival Apple. The Intel Core i7 processor for example, is one of the most popular processors in computers today and can range anywhere from $30-$400.
If this rumor proves to be true then there will no longer be any need for companies like AMD or Nvidia to offer competitive products because Apple will have all their bases covered with just one chip.
It’s unclear if this new chip will replace the T1 or act as an additional model but if it does replace the T1 then things might get interesting when it comes time to upgrade your MacBook Pro again.
What does the name mean?
M2 is a technical standard that defines the width of memory modules and thus, determines the number of chips that can be installed in a computer’s motherboard. For instance, when two chips are designed to fit into an M2 socket, they form a dual-channel memory module. It’s been speculated for some time now that Apple will move away from DDR3 to DDR4 on its new MacBook Pro models this year.
However, now we’re also expecting the company to introduce a mobile version of DDR4 dubbed LPDDR4. If it does indeed make the switch to both LPDDR4 and DDR4 for this year’s Mac lineup (potentially consisting of up to seven models), then Apple could be one of the first companies in North America to do so .
The four desktop machines rumored to launch this year are all expected to include these new standards; however, it’s unclear what impact the transition might have on their pricing.
The phone would likely use Intel 8th generation CPUs with AMD Radeon graphics if released this year, which means an even smaller design change would likely suffice.
Rumors and leaks
The Apple-developed processor dubbed the M2 chip is currently scheduled to launch in 2019. However, now that Intel has announced that it is killing off its 7th Generation Core line-up early next year, a number of people are speculating that the 10nm process based CPU could be available before Christmas this year.
The M2 would allow Apple to sell computers at competitive prices by getting rid of expensive, low-powered processors from Intel or AMD. Although there hasn’t been any official word from Apple on when the new hardware will arrive, leaks and rumors all point to a product release in late 2018/early 2019 time frame. With the competition becoming more and more fierce, there’s no doubt that Apple needs to update their lineup sooner rather than later.