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What is the Apple M4 chip?

The Apple M4 chip has finally been unveiled, marking the fourth generation of Apple Silicon.

The new chip will debut inside the iPad Pro 2024, making the hind-end tablet even more powerful than the MacBook Air. But what exactly is the Apple M4 processor, and what kind of performance can you expect from it?

We’ve created this guide to answer all of your questions and more, so keep on reading for everything you need to know about the new chip.

What is Apple M4?

The Apple M4 processor is the successor to the recent M3 chip, marking the fourth generation of Apple Silicon. The M4 is a baseline chip, with Pro, Max and Ultra variants expected to arrive in the future.

Right now, the M4 chip is only available inside the latest iPad Pro, but it’s expected to arrive in various Apple computers in the future, including the MacBook Air, iMac and Mac Mini.

What is new with the M4 chip?

There are a number of new additions for the Apple M4. Firstly, it’s based on a new second-gen 3nm architecture, which not only boosts performance but also enhances power efficiency. This has allowed Apple to increase the number of transistors to a whopping 28 billion.

Apple has upped the maximum core count to 10, made up of 4 performance cores and 6 efficiency cores. Combined with advancements made to the architecture, Apple claims this has resulted in a 1.5x CPU performance boost compared to the M2 processor.

A new 10-core GPU will also see a boost to graphics performance, with hardware-accelerated ray tracing allowing for advanced lighting effects in supported games.

Apple M4 specs
Credit: Apple

The headline feature of the M4 chip is arguably its new AI capabilities, with Apple calling it the most powerful neural engine ever. With the M4’s 16-core NPU capable of 38 trillion operations per second, it’s significantly faster in AI performance than any previous Apple processor.

Apple has teased that a new uplift in AI performance will allow M4-powered devices to perform tasks such as isolating a subject from its background in a 4K video by just a tap when using Final Cut Pro. We expect more AI apps and features to be released throughout the year to take advantage of the new AI powers.

Which devices will have the M4 chip?

The iPad Pro is, at the time of writing, the only device to be powered by the M4 processor.

We expect the Apple M4 to eventually arrive in a wider range of products, including the MacBook Air, iMac and Mac Mini. However, these new Macs aren’t expected to arrive until the latter end of 2024.

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