Apple's next-gen 'M2' processor reportedly enters mass production

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,528   +1,059
Staff member
Rumor mill: The new M1 Macs have not even been out for a year, but rumors say that Apple's follow-up SoC is already in mass production. Products featuring the new chip could ship as early as the second half of the year, just in time for the still rumored but redesigned MacBook Pros.

Rumors have surfaced that the second generation of Apple silicon is already in production at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC). Nikkei Asia claims insiders familiar with the situation say the first allotments could ship as early as July. This timeline makes sense considering Apple has indicated that it wants to complete its transition away from Intel chips by the end of 2022.

The MacBook Pro (13-inch), MacBook Air, and Mac Mini made the swap last year, and last week, Apple introduced a completely redesigned 24-inch M1 iMac. However, that still leaves three other models of iMac (21.5-inch, 27-inch, and Pro), the 16-inch MacBook Pro, and the Mac Pro that still need to make the transition from Intel silicon. With the new SoC, tentatively called "M2," arriving this summer, Apple could see its next big step in the phasing out the x86 architecture, with M2 MacBooks coming in the second half of 2021. These could possibly be the redesigns that REvil leaked schematics of in its ransomware attack on Quanta last week.

"It's now an irreversible trend that Apple will eventually use only its own chips in its computer products. Macs have their own ecosystem as well as user base because they run on Apple's own operating systems instead of Microsoft Windows," IDC analyst Joey Yen told Nikkei. "So far, Apple has made a successful debut, and the integrated experience has also been satisfying based on general customers' feedback."

The new Apple SoC combines CPU, GPU, and AI processors on TSMC's N5P (5nm-plus) process. They take three months to manufacture, so the July forecast is about right if production has already begun.

Of course, take the news with a grain of salt as usual. Apple and TSMC both unsurprisingly declined to confirm or comment on the report.

The insiders did not offer up any details about the M2's performance but consider the performance gains of the M1 to get an idea. Apple claims its first-gen SoC delivers "up to 3.5x faster CPU performance, up to 6x faster GPU performance, and up to 15x faster machine learning" over the latest (as of last November) Intel laptop chip. It's a good bet Cupertino is shooting for similar gains, but realistically they probably won't be as dramatic.

Image credit: Nanain

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Posts: 337   +595
"It's a good bet Cupertino is shooting for similar gains"

No it isn't. That's a comparison to a completely different architecture not a previous generation chip.

A good bet would be to expect gains in line with one of the last 2 generations of Apple's A chips.


Posts: 6,275   +6,844
It's a good bet Cupertino is shooting for similar gains, but realistically they probably won't be as dramatic.
I bet they will be traumatic, in line with prices.
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Posts: 2,216   +4,268
I think we sort of need to see M1 at full throttle first before any estimations. The new iMacs I don't think will be the full chip either it's still under thermal constrains from the looks of it.

So assuming apple never uses the M1/First generation chip on a fully loaded system we really don't know how much of a jump we can expect for second generation in terms of performance, unless you do apples-to-apples (pun intended) of an M1 imac pro vs a potential M2 imac pro and even then extra polation to the full chip capabilities under no power or thermal constrains might still be too inaccurate.
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Posts: 1,147   +1,055
What will they use in their Mac Pro systems? Surely AMD would be a good choice for high core count.


Posts: 635   +519
From an IPC gain perspective, I am not expecting a significant improvement with the M2, unless Apple can prove me wrong. I suspect they could increase the core count of the M2 CPU and/or GPU with a slightly improved node.

Cubi Dorf

Posts: 372   +244
It is seem like M1 or M2 would not be popular with many peoples here. The SOC has 8 core cpu, but 4 are efficiency core (other 4 are performance). It is seem like most people here only care about using performance cores, so to buy CPU that is mostly using efficiency cores is not going to making you happy. if you are want very low power consumption during office work and web browse then it is amazing cpu but it won't feeling fast, but it is having performance cores for other more requiring task. It does not have feeling of fast cpu for me because it mostly use efficiency cores.


Posts: 190   +47
“satisfying” eh?
Moving from Intel to ryzen is satisfying.

x86 on M1 via translation is startling.

Native M1 is amazing.
If m2 brings more ram the the future of x86 is yawn.


Posts: 190   +47
There I agree! Maybe Apple could spark the fire under AMD to push forward on currently research tech.
I’ve seen the demo chips from IBM, AMD, HP, etc… 128-bit and higher x86 protos that push things well beyond anything currently in production.
Now, does Apple make a money grab and license their modifications?
does a company with both feet in the door on ARM and RISC, such as AMD or VTI, take the open part of M and run with it?
The chances are all here. It’s 1979 all over again.
Despite covid closures the world of innovation in cpus could ignite once again. Especially with so many engineers and theorists locked up right now.
One thing I’ve said over the years, is the next major shakeup is as ready to happen as the next company willing to fail. Intel’s blunder with Itanium gave us AMD64, which lead to the Ryzen family and most powerful x86 processors ever.
Their (Intel) inability to modernise quickly has given us M1+.
Actually I’ve grown fond of Intel’s failures over the decades. each time they fail we get a major advance!