- Apple is reportedly working to release a new series of processors for the Mac as early as 2021.
- Apple launched the M1 chip in November, but the company’s homegrown processor was only included on a few MacBook models and the latest Mac mini.
- Apple’s successors to the M1 chip could feature up to 32 high-performance processing cores.
In spite of all the hurdles in its way, Apple ended up having a surprisingly busy year of hardware releases in 2020. In September, Apple revealed new Apple Watch and iPad models. In October, the iPhone 12 series made its debut. And in November, we were introduced to the first Mac computers with Apple’s own chips. We’ve probably seen everything that Apple has to offer this year, but it sounds like 2021 could end up being just as eventful as 2020.
Bloomberg reports that Apple engineers are currently working on multiple follow-ups to the M1 chip. Not only will the new chips be more powerful than the ones in the latest MacBook models, but people familiar with Apple’s plans say that they could end up topping the performance of the latest machines with Intel chips as well.
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Apple’s M1 chips debuted inside new MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini models last month, but according to Bloomberg, Apple’s next series of chips could be ready to roll out as early as spring 2021 and should make their way into “upgraded versions of the MacBook Pro, both entry-level and high-end iMac desktops, and later a new Mac Pro workstation.” If this comes to pass, Apple’s goal to transition away from Intel by 2022 should be manageable.
As the report notes, the M1 chip that was announced last month features four high-performance cores to handle more stressful workloads, such as when the user is editing video, and four high-efficiency cores for lighter activities, such as browsing the web. For next-generation chips targeting MacBook Pro and iMac computers, Apple is said to be working on designs with up to 16 high-performance cores, unlocking even greater performance gains.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that those chips will be ready in the spring, and Apple might choose to release chips with 8 or 12 high-performance cores first depending on how production proceeds. But down the line, Apple wants to build a chip with as many as 32 high-performance cores for high-end desktops, including a “half-sized Mac Pro” that is slated to launch in 2022. Apple could catch up with its rivals and then some in a very short period of time if its chip development progresses as quickly as the company seems to believe that it will.
Finally, Bloomberg’s sources suggest that Apple is also working on GPUs with up to 128 dedicated cores for its top-of-the-line machines. “Those graphics chips would be several times faster than the current graphics modules Apple uses from Nvidia and AMD in its Intel-powered hardware,” the report concludes.
Jacob started covering video games and technology in college as a hobby, but it quickly became clear to him that this was what he wanted to do for a living. He currently resides in New York writing for BGR. His previously published work can be found on TechHive, VentureBeat and Game Rant.