How Apple’s Rumored M2 Chip Could Speed Up Your Next Mac

Faster and cooler

Key Takeaways

  • Apple’s rumored M2 chip could be coming soon to a Mac near you.
  • The M2 could bring significant performance gains to everyday computing tasks.
  • Apple also reportedly is moving forward with the production of the next generation of chips for the iPhone.
Hand installing a CPU onto a PC motherboard

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Apple isn’t waiting around when it comes to chip development. 

The company recently launched its ultrafast M1 chip that powers some of its MacBooks and the Mac mini, but reports say it’s already working on a new in-house chip called the M2 that is likely to drive the next generation of Macs. According to experts, the M2 could drastically speed up your computing experience.

"Currently, developers are seeing great benefits with their new M1 gear, from being able to reproduce hardware-specific errors in their pipelines to seeing performance improvements," Keith Pitt, co-founder of software development firm Buildkite, said in an email interview. "M2 will result in even greater speeds and efficiencies across software development."

More Transistors for Greater Power

The Taiwanese firm TSMC is building the M2 chips using a 4-nanometer fabrication process node. That means the company can pack more transistors onto each chip and silicon, and generate more computing power. 

Apple also is moving forward with chip innovations for its iPhone line. The next-generation A15 chip that reportedly will power the iPhone 13 is scheduled to start production soon. 

Apple M1 Chip and facts on a black background

Apple

Apple's M1 chipset established a new precedent for performance in a chip built on ARM instruction sets, usually used in smartphones rather than notebooks. In an email interview, Julian Goldie, CEO of Goldie Agency, pointed out that Apple could capitalize on its popularity with the M2 and push MacBooks farther away from Intel processors. 

"The ongoing global chip shortage means that development could be postponed until next year, so this proposed start date is far from definite," Goldie said. "In that case, we anticipate Apple using a more efficient version of the latest M1 chip in its updated MacBook lineup in 2021."

 "M2 will result in even greater speeds and efficiencies across software development."

Goldie said he would be "shocked" if Apple didn't soon refresh the MacBook with at least a processor upgrade. But, he said, "it's unknown if the M2 chip will be included."

When the M2 hits computers, users can expect to see dramatic differences. 

"Having a faster M2 chip means that users will experience a smoother and faster experience when using their devices," Mac user John Stevenson said in an email interview. "The reading and writing speed of your Mac will increase, as well as boot times and software load times."

Boosting the Already Speedy M1

Experts say that even the current M1 chips that power some of Apple’s latest computers represent a giant leap forward in computing. 

The M1 chips allow the new MacBook Air to be completely fanless, since Apple doesn't expect them to run nearly as hot as Intel chips, Greg Suskin, the web and procurement manager of Syntax Production, explained in an email interview. The MacBook Pro still has a fan, allowing for better performance despite the computers running on the same chips, as it will not be throttled to control heat, he added. 

"Current Intel-based macs have completely separate RAM, and on older Macs and most tower PCs, you can swap out and upgrade the RAM as you wish," Suskin said. "The last generation of Intel Macbook Pros could actually upgrade to 32GB of RAM, but now the maximum is 16GB due to the integration. This integrated RAM will likely provide better performance than 16GB of separate RAM because of the direct-line tailoring Apple is able to do."

"Having a faster M2 chip means that users will experience a smoother and faster experience when using their devices."

Other manufacturers are rushing to catch up with Apple’s chip advances. Microsoft is working on Windows 10 for ARM, a very similar transition to what Apple has done, Suskin said. The new Windows operating system will allow broad compatibility with non-intel chips based on the ARM design that has become extremely popular for mobile devices. 

"Microsoft's challenge is that they will need continued compatibility with Intel and other chip manufacturers, whereas Apple will proceed only with in-house chips," Suskin said. "So, for Microsoft, they need to design a seamless OS that works across all devices regardless of the chip inside."

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