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Apple’s next-gen custom Mac Silicon processor enters mass production

11 min read
  • The second Apple custom Mac Silicon processor has reportedly entered mass production earlier this month.
  • Shipment of this new processor is expected to begin, starting early July.
  • It is expected to debut with the upcoming higher-end MacBook Pro models.

A new report from Nikkei Asia claims that Apple’s next-gen custom Mac Silicon processor has entered mass production earlier in the month.

After the massive success of the 'M1' chip, Apple’s first custom Mac Silicon processor which saw its debut last year with the introduction of the new Mac Mini, MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro, rumors of the second Mac Silicon Processor, allegedly entitled 'M2' have started piling up.

The next generation of Mac processors designed by Apple entered mass production this month, sources familiar with the matter told Nikkei Asia, bringing the U.S. tech giant one step closer to its goal of replacing Intel-designed central processing units with its own. Shipments of the new chipset — tentatively known as the M2, after Apple's current M1 processor — could begin as early as July for use in MacBooks that are scheduled to go on sale in the second half of this year, the people said.

The processor is reportedly being produced by TSMC, Apple’s primary chip supplier, and has entered mass volume production in early April. It will take at least three months to produce before it can begin shipping in, as early as July, according to the reports. This, according to various leakers and sources, lies in-line with the fact that it could very well be debuted with the newer 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models, which are highly rumored to be launched by Apple in Q2 2021.

The M1 unexpectedly attracted a very large number of positive reviews and amazing responses from users and developers around the world. It brought considerable performance improvements and battery efficiency over the Intel chips that housed in the previous MacBook models. People around the globe were amazed by the overall performance of Apple’s first custom Silicon processor for Macs.

The trend of M1 continues and just to highlight the power of the processor and the hardware capabilities of the devices, Apple has introduced M1 in its redesigned 24-inch Macs and even in the 2021 iPad Pro line-up. In fact, this new iPad Pro line-up is the first iPad ever to house in the Mac processor, since the processor is built on the same 5nm foundation as the Apple’s latest A-series processor, the A14 Bionic.

M1 boasts an 8-core CPU, an 8-core GPU, a 16-core Neural Engine, unified memory architecture, and more. The company touts that the “M1” delivers up to 3.5x faster system performance, up to 6x faster graphics performance, and up to 15x faster machine learning, while enabling battery life up to 2x longer than previous-generation Macs. When it comes to the alleged “M2”, Mark Gurman (reliability 84.38%), stated back in December 2020 that this second processor is believed to have up to 32 high performance cores. He also stated that Apple has planned two new chips for its upcoming Mac line-up and that they are likely to come in spring and fall of 2021. It’s even unclear as to what will this new processor be called, since many rumors speculate an “M1X” before “M2”. Earlier this month, DigiTimes also reported that Apple has already ordered 4nm chips from TSMC in advance for its next-gen Macs.

Back at WWDC20, Apple said that it would two years for the company to fully transition its entire Mac line-up to Apple Silicon. With the first line of Apple Silicon Macs being already introduced since then, rumors suggest that future Apple silicon Macs will include new revamped 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models as early as Q2 2021, along with a redesigned 27-inch iMac later in the year as well as a new Mac Pro and a half-sized Mac Pro in late 2022.

The M1 is expected to be the standard processor for many more base products coming later. As it goes for the current in-production next-gen Apple Mac Silicon processor, if the rumors fall in line to be true, then more higher end products, housing this second Apple Silicon processor will be expected later this year as well as next year.

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