And four different versions of the M2 chip. Time we take a look!
Last week, Bloombergs, Mark Gurman reported that deep within Apple HQ, a plethora of Macs are being tested in readiness, potentially, for WWDC which are running the long anticipated M2 Macs. Two of these Macs, it would seem, are fully developed and are ready to ship immediately. And one of those is critical to Apple, as it is their biggest selling Mac or laptop.
The M2 Chips
Gurman’s article, based on information from third-party app developers, is credible. Apple is testing the M2 chips with these third-party apps, and the apps are keeping logs on those Macs that are running them. The information passed to Gurman is also corroborated by employees within Apple. I only contextualise this, as I think this means the information we have, which is fairly comprehensive, is to be trusted.
Currently, there are four different versions of the M2 chip which are being tested. In the MacBook Air, there is a chip codenamed J413. This Mac will have 8 CPU cores and 10 graphic cores (the current Air only has 8 graphic cores). Next is a Mac Mini with an M2 chip (J473). This has an identical chip to the MacBook Air, butthere will also be an M2 Pro version available too (J4740). Another Mac with the same spec as the MacBook Air, is the J493 chip which is the codename for the project which will eventually be an entry-level MacBook Pro.
The 14-inch MacBook Pro will be available with two options, namely the first sighting of the M2 Pro and M2 Max chips. The Max chip will have 12 CPU cores and 38 graphic cores. This represents a significant upward shift from the existing 10 CPU cores and 32 graphics cores. It will also ship with up to 64 GB of unified memory. There will, of course, also be a 16-inch MacBook Pro available, codenamed J416. The specs will be as per the 14-inch.
Lastly, the successor to the chip first seen in the recent Mac Studio, the Ultra, is being tested. J180 will be the new Mac Pro. In short, I think it’s safe to assume, that after this leak, that any Macs released from here on, will ship with M2 chips inside.
All the M2 chips will be quicker due to the faster clock speeds. This means that every chip will note a significant speed increase in both in single and multicore performance. But, when we look closer at the M2 Pro chips, we can see that there is a big bump in the number of actual cores, both CPU and GPU. Marry that to the improved clock speeds I just mentioned, and I think this high-end M2 chip will just be insanely quick. As for the M2 Max & Ultra. They will have yet more cores, with the possibility that the Ultra could come with 24 cores CPU and 76 cores GPU. I have a knack of buying at just the wrong time! I am awaiting delivery on my M1 Max 16-inch MacBook Pro. Will it be a slow chip by the time I finally receive it, or is it now a case of diminishing returns? Every report I have seen tells me that I have made the right choice, but do keep your fingers crossed for me. Tech always moves at pace. There will always be the next-best iteration, I guess.
Just a few weeks ago, let’s not forget, one and all was eulogising over the speed and brilliance of the Mac Studio. Yet now, that is suddenly yesterday’s news. Boy, it’s a brutal world! Gurman tells us, though, out of all the above Macs in testing, only two are ready to ship.
What should we expect first?
The most important Mac must be the new look MacBook Air. It now looks likely that it will be debuted at WWDC in June. Yet, the new Mac Pro is what excites me most. To satisfy the Pro market, Apple will have to make the Pro modular and expandable. How, no one knows and, as to the design, your guess is as good as mine. I’d imagine it will still be a tower of some kind and dimension, but given what restrictions we currently know of Apple Silicon, how they eventually make this machine upgradeable, will be interesting to learn. I am keenly hoping that this gets shown off at WWDC for release later this year.
Back to their bestseller though, the MacBook Air, and we seem to know a lot more about this Mac. The last update to this favourite really only came down to a retina display and eventually the M1 chip. Then however, it retained the historic teardrop, wedge design, but wind it on to 2022, and now we can expect, a squared off, flat sided design and full of colours too. Think 24-inch iMac but in a laptop form. It will be the thinest MacBook Air yet and weigh only 12lbs. IO will be two USBC ports and MagSafe charging. All in all, this will be the biggest overhaul we will ever have seen for the Air.
It will be thinner, with white bezels and keyboard, again as per the iMac. Will they incorporate a notch design on a white-bodied Mac? We will find out soon, I guess. The screen will be a larger, up to 13.6-inches from the current 13.3-inch appearance. Their aim has not been purely to make a bigger screen, rather as large a display as possible, whilst retaining the footprint of the current MacBook Air. Sadly, it will not be featuring a mini LED panel, but the flips side of that, is it will keep the cost down to around £1000.
It seems Apple have been busy and are way ahead of schedule. I had always thought that the Air would be seen in the fall, but given what we have learned from Gurman, it seems very likely this will be shown at WWDC and available before the end of the year. Being the bestseller, putting the new M2 in the Air first, makes sense in every way. The other machine therefore looks likely to be a new Mac Mini, with immediate availability, with the Mac Pro just being shown off for developer purposes.
This year will be busy
Whatever happens in June, this year will be crazy exciting. There is so much hardware to come our way, it could end up being the busiest year to date for the Cupertino-based giant.
But, what are you most looking forward to? Are you in the market to change Macs this year, and what are you waiting on?
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