It was WWDC last year that Apple announced its plan to transition its Mac lineup to its custom ARM processors over the course of two years. It introduced a MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini with the Apple M1 that fall. According to a new report from Bloomberg, the new Apple Silicon is going to blow the M1 away.
And before diving into the report, it’s worth noting that there’s no reason that it can’t blow the M1 away. Apple is using chips that it’s designing in-house, and it’s no longer tied to the incremental improvements that Intel can offer year over year.
First of all, the report says that Apple is refreshing the whole Mac lineup; no surprise there, especially if there’s no timeline. First, there’s going to be a new MacBook Pro, likely this summer, and that will be followed by a new MacBook Air, a new low-end MacBook Pro, and a new Mac Pro.
The new MacBook Pro devices are coming in 14- and 16-inch sizes, will have a MagSafe charging port, HDMI, and an SD card reader. This isn’t actually new news, as the rumor that Apple was bringing back port selection has been around for a while. The new MacBook Air PCs will likely be the colorful ones that have been rumored.
What’s more interesting is the silicon that’s going to be powering these machines. According to the report, the new MacBook Pro PCs will come with chips that are codenamed Jade C-Chop and Jade C-Die. They have eight performance cores and two efficient cores for 10 total cores; graphics are either 16 or 32 cores.
ARM processors use big.LITTLE architecture, using big cores to handle tasks that need power. The efficient cores use less power and can be used for tasks that are more suited for them. This all results in better power management. The current Apple M1 has four performance cores and four efficient cores; a move to eight performance cores and two efficient cores is huge.
That’s not all either. They’ll max out at 64GB of RAM instead of 16GB, they’ll support more Thunderbolt ports, and they’ll support more external devices. Indeed, this is all going into a 16-inch MacBook Pro, which is the one that the actual pros use. Right now, the M1 has some limitations, like only being able to connect to one external display. The 16-inch MacBook Pro is currently only sold with Intel processors. The report also said that there’s a new Mac mini, codenamed J374, that’s coming with the new processor and will have more ports.
And then there’s the Mac Pro, the absolute powerhouse of Apple’s desktop computing portfolio. There was a time not too long ago that it was unthinkable for an ARM processor to power such a beastly machine, but it’s happening. The codenames for the chips are reportedly Jade 2C-Die and Jade 4C-Die, and they’re going to have 20 or 40 total cores. Out of those, 16 or 32 will be performance cores, respectively, and the rest will be efficiency cores. For graphics, we’re looking at 64 or 128 cores.
Finally, the new MacBook Airs are getting new Apple Silicon, which is codenamed Staten. The report says it’s the same amount of cores, which is only relevant because there are so many other chips being talked about with more cores. It’s the architecture of the chips that matters more, so if it’s a successor to the M1, it should be pretty impressive. Also, the graphics in the chip will be nine or 10 cores instead of seven or eight.