Apple "M2" processors reportedly enter mass production, shipments scheduled for July
Apple’s efforts to reduce reliance on companies like Intel and AMD seemed to have paid off quite well with the introduction of the M1 proprietary processors. These chips were the first to be produced on the 5 nm nodes at TSMC last year and thus were able to hold their own against mobile CPU models like the Tiger Lake-U lineup from Intel or Ryzen 4000 from AMD. Of course, Apple wants to extend the proprietary chip portfolio with powerful desktop and server processors and possibly even desktop-grade discrete GPUs down the line, but right now the money is certainly in the mobile devices, especially in the MacBooks and iPads. Apple is well aware of the new Intel and AMD mobile processors launched this year, so the Cupertino giant is planning to roll out updated M processors of its own in the second half of 2021. The latest report from Nikkei Asia is suggesting that these new processors (tentatively called M2) have already entered mass production this month.
According to industry sources, the “M2” chips are produced at TSMC on the improved 5 nm+ (N5P) nodes. Not much is known about the hardware specs, but rumors going around the Internet are talking about upgrades to 12 ARM cores instead of 8, clock speeds in excess of 3.2 GHz, updated GPU and NPU, plus possibly more than 16 GB of RAM included in the package. Improvements on the energy efficiency side are also expected. Nikkei Asia claims that the new chips will be ready for shipment some time in July, so Apple could launch new devices powered by the “M2” chips as early as September.
The first devices to sport these new “M2” chips are rumored to be 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models with new aspect ratios and a redesigned 27-inch iMac. Apple will most likely add some streamlined versions of the new processors to the iPad tablets later on.