Apple‘s next-gen computing silicon — tentatively called the M2 silicon — is rumored to go official within the next few months, but as per a reliable Apple leakster, the M2 chip portfolio will be even more expansive and powerful compared to the existing M1 chip variants. Following the debut of its M1 chip back in 2020, Apple followed it up with two beefed-up variants called M1 Pro and M1 Max.
The M1 offered eight CPU cores and eight GPU cores, while the M1 Pro and Max models increased the number of CPU cores to 10, and the graphics core tally reached the 32 mark. Earlier this month, Apple introduced an even more powerful variant called the M1 Ultra, which is essentially two M1 Max processors fused together, offering a configuration with 20 CPU cores and up to 48 graphics cores.
Related: M1 Vs. M1 Pro & M1 Max: Apple‘s New MacBook Pro Chips Explained
Now, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has shared insights about the M2 silicon and its variants in his PowerOn newsletter. Laying the foundation is the vanilla M2 chip, which is touted to pack the same number of CPU cores as the M1 silicon at eight. However, GPU cores will likely go up to nine or ten, while M1 was offered in 7-core and 8-core GPU variants. Next in line are the M2 Pro and M2 Max, both of which take the number of CPU cores to 12, up from the 10 CPU cores offered by the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips. As for the number of graphics cores, the M2 Pro will reportedly pack 16 GPU cores, while the M2 Max elevates the graphics performance to a 32 GPU core platform.
A Lot Of Cores & A Lot Of Variants
Coming to the hardware side of things, Gurman notes that the redesigned MacBook Air refresh is slated for an official debut later this year with the M2 chip inside. The same chip is touted to power the entry-level MacBook Pro that is also expected to arrive later this year. And finally, an iMac and a Mac Mini with the M2 chip are also said to be in the pipeline. The M2 Pro and M2 Max are destined for the 2023 refresh of the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models. Plus, an iMac Pro with the same chip options might also be on Apple’s product roadmap.
Just like the M1 Ultra, Gurman also expects Apple to launch an M2 Ultra chip next year. But compared to the M1 Ultra, which offers 20 CPU cores and up to 48 GPU cores, the M2 Ultra will reportedly take things a notch higher with 24 CPU cores and up to 64 GPU cores. Interestingly, Gurman also predicts the debut of an M2 Extreme version that might offer a massive 48 CPU cores and up to 128 GPU cores. A few months ago, he also predicted the debut of an M1 Extreme chip destined for a Mac Pro refresh that will reportedly pack 40 CPU cores and anywhere between 64 to 128 GPU cores. However, these M2 details sound like intelligent guesswork at best with iterative upgrades, and the actual plans at Apple might change down the road.