Apple's second-generation silicon chip, the M2, has arrived

This is Apple's first chip for its second generation of bespoke silicon, and it was unveiled at WWDC 2022 on June 6. In addition to powering Apple's new 13-inch MacBook Air 2022 and MacBook Pro 2022, the M2 is an evolution of the groundbreaking M1 chip that was introduced in 2020. I'm excited to see what an injection of M2 can do for these two of the best MacBooks on the market.

The Apple M2 chip is currently unknown, but we know some things about it.

According to rumors, the M2 Pro may improve upon this chip if you don't find it powerful enough. A new iPad Pro is also expected to include it, as well as a 14-inch model. A slew of M2-powered devices is expected to hit the market between 2022 and 2023, including Apple's MacBook Air 15-inch and MacBook 12-inch.

New features and improvements in Apple's M2 chip

  • With 8 cores and 12 cores, M1 has improved performance

  • Unified memory bandwidth of 100 GB/s is possible

  • It comes with 20 billion transistors, a 25% increase over the M1

  • A unified memory capacity of 24GB is supported

  • The M1 neural engine has been improved to a 16-core version

  • The follow-up to M1 is a new 5-nanometer chip

  • Multi-stream 4K/8K video playback capability

Date and configuration of the Apple M2 chip

Two new MacBook laptops will feature the new Apple M2 chip: the 13-inch MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. Both are expected to be released in July 2022.

If you want to get an M2-powered MacBook, you'll need to shell out over $1k for either the 13-inch MacBook Air 2022 or the 13-inch MacBook Pro 2022.

Chip specifications for Apple M2

The M2 chip from Apple has up to 10 cores of CPU and GPU configurations. With the M1, you could configure a CPU with up to 8 cores and a GPU with up to 8 cores. While it offers CPU core counts of 8-10 and GPU core counts of 16-32, it doesn't match the core counts of the beefier M1 Pro and M1 Max chips. 

Despite this, Apple claims that M2 chips are capable of 18% higher multi-core performance than M1. Whether or not it's true will have to be tested, but if it is, it's great news considering the outstanding performance and power efficiency of the M1.

Like the M1, the M2 also features 16 cores of neural processing. According to Apple, the M2's Neural Engine can process 15.8 trillion operations per second, which is forty percent more than the M1.

In addition to supporting up to 24GB of memory, the M2 chip uses half the power of the M1 chip while providing twice the performance.

The M2-powered 13-inch MacBook Pro 2022, Apple says, can deliver up to 20 hours of video playback on a single charge, which would represent an impressive performance and power efficiency improvement. Additionally, the M2 introduces a new media engine that should decode 8K HVEC and H.264 video, supporting multiple 4K and 8K ProRes streams.

In addition to its improved image signal processor, Apple claims the M2 chip will provide better video quality during video calls, compared to the M1.

Outlook: Apple M2 chip

If you're a Mac fan who's been eyeing the new 13-inch MacBook, it's exciting to see Apple finally release its successor to 2020's renowned M1 chip. There is no doubt that the M2 chip will outperform its predecessor, the M1, but obviously won't reach the heights of the M1 Max. Our team looks forward to testing one later this summer to be sure, but we will have to test one ourselves to be sure.


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