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Apple made quite an impression with the launch of its home-built M1 SoCs in 2020. The original M1 chip seems odd now that the Pro, Max and Ultra variants have launched, and Apple is now gearing up for round two of its assault. on silicon. † The company is reportedly working hard on the follow-up chip, predictably dubbed M2. This isn’t a huge surprise as it said the M1 Ultra was the last chip in the family at the Peek Performance event. Developer logs show that the new chips are already being tested and will appear in a range of new and upgraded Macs in 2022.

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has the scoop and says that four different M2 chips are currently being tested. The new SoCs will make their way to the company’s flagship Mac Pro computer, as well as several new models in the coming year. The Mac Pro is the only computer Apple sells that still uses Intel silicon, so for many of us, the replacement chip for it is the most intriguing. After all, if the M1 Ultra with its 114 billion transistors isn’t powerful enough for the Pro, whatever they’ve planned has to be (literally) huge. The arrival of M2 is intended to cement the company’s commitment to the Mac, which has languished for years with Intel chips and strange design decisions. Apple has started to reverse that trend with its M1-based models, going so far as to bring back features it had previously removed. This includes the ever-popular MagSafe, as well as things like HDMI and SD card readers.

The only new model on the horizon for Apple is an entry-level MacBook Pro with an M2 SoC. While the company currently sells a “cheap” 13″ model for $1,299, it’s an odd one out. It uses the base M1 chip, the same chip used in the iPad Pro and Air. This makes its inclusion in a “Pro” machine questionable. The upgraded M2 version adds two more cores to the GPU, from eight to ten. The CPU side of the chip remains an eight-core design. This gives it four performance cores and four efficiency cores.

The same M2 chip will make its way to a redesigned Macbook Air. The Air has surprisingly used the same “wedge” design since Steve Jobs pulled it out of a manila envelope in 2008. There have been minor changes over the years, especially in 2020 when it got a new keyboard and screen. But for 2022 it will be a completely new design. Rumors suggest it will follow the Macbook Pro’s cues with more of a “flat brick” shape. Like those computers, it also offers MagSafe and maybe even a little more I/O. The current model only includes two USB-C ports and a headphone jack.

The 14-inch and 16-inch Macbook Pros will get the M2 Pro and Max chips and will be exactly the same except for size. The updated M2 Max adds two more CPU cores, from ten to 12. The GPU gets six more cores, from 32 to 38 in total. Developer logs show that it comes with 64 GB of memory, which is currently only possible on the Max version.

The company is also testing an upgraded Mac Mini, which currently ships with the M1 silicon. It seemingly tries to bridge the gap between the Mini and the Mac Studio. The performance delta between the original M1 and the Ultra in the Studio spans the company’s entire chip lineup. Apple is trying to remedy this without cannibalizing sales. It’s considering either the M1 Pro or Max in the new Mini, or some version of the M2 chip.

Naturally, all eyes are on what will replace the Intel Xeon CPUs currently in the Mac Pro. Most people predict that just as Apple went with a dual Max design for the M1 Ultra in the Studio, the Pro will have a quad-Max setup. Since the M1 Ultra consists of two Max chips fused together, that means four M2 Max chips combined. That would mean a 40-core CPU and a 96-core GPU. WWDC is just around the corner, so hopefully at least one of these new models will be unveiled. The rest may arrive at the hardware event in October.

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