A report in Japanese publication Nikkei claims that the next generation of Apple’s custom-designed silicon chips for Mac, dubbed the “M2,” entered production this month.
Citing “sources familiar with the matter,” Nikkei reports that the chips will power Macs that will be introduced in the second half of 2021, potentially as soon as July. That July date suggests that new Macs could be announced at Apple’s 2021 developer conference, which kicks off on June 7.
The sources also say this new chip will “eventually” be used in other Macs and Apple products besides MacBooks. The chip would be the successor to the M1, which Apple has included in recently launched or announced models of the MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, Mac mini, iPad Pro, and 24-inch iMac.
The revised 5 nm design is being manufactured by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, which Apple has used many times before.
We were already expecting new Apple Silicon-based Macs to launch this year. Apple announced a two-year roadmap to bring its custom-designed chips to all Macs when it first announced the M1 last summer, and multiple reports and leaks have described the company’s plans to update the 16-inch MacBook Pro with a new, faster M1 relative. The M1 could also come to the 30-inch iMac and higher-end configurations of the 13-inch MacBook Pro.
Previous reports conflict slightly with the details of this story. Those reports claim that at least some of the new Macs expected later this year will ship with a variant of the first-generation M1 but with more cores and other optimizations and improvements, such as support for additional ports and external monitors.
We’ve been calling that hypothetical chip an M1X, after Apple’s now-abandoned iPad chip-naming scheme, i.e., “A12X” as a more powerful cousin to the A12. But until now, any discussion of the chip’s name has been pure speculation.
Apple could plan to release both an M2 for its next wave of entry-level machines and a higher-core-count variant of the M1 or M2 as previously expected, or the M2 may be the higher-core-count chip destined for the next 16-inch MacBook Pro, marking a departure from that past chip-naming scheme.