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Apple M1 vs Apple M2: What’s the difference?

The Apple M2 is rumoured to be an upcoming processor from Apple could succeed the existing Apple M1 chip. But how will the two processors differ?

To understand how the Apple M2 chip will differ from its predecessor, first, we need to understand what the Apple M1 chip is. The M1 chip is an SoC that is currently the only processor based on Apple Silicon. It is currently available in the MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, Mac Mini and iMac 2021.

Keep scrolling to learn everything we know about the M2 chip and what sort of upgrades you can expect it to bring to future Apple products.

The Apple M2 will be a direct sequel to the M1

Apple has not confirmed any information about the M2 chip, though we do know that the company is planning to make more than one successor to the M1 chip.

While the M1X is not expected to be a direct sequel (as it’s intended to coexist with the M1 as a more powerful variation for Pro-level Macs), the M2 is expected to be the true successor to the M1.

This means it will essentially kick off the second generation of Apple Silicon processors, similar to how Intel is currently planning on moving from its 11th Gen processor generation to the new 12th Gen Alder Lake range.

The Apple M2 will launch next year

Apple hasn’t confirmed the release date (or even the existence) of the Apple M2 just yet, but there are plenty of rumours indicating it could launch next year.

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (via 9to5Mac) has suggested the M2 will arrive mid-2022, which means we’ve still got a lengthy wait for launch.

For comparison, the Apple M1 chip launched back in November 2020.

The MacBook Air could be the first laptop to feature the M2

Apple is expected to launch a number of Macs before the end of 2021, but the M2 is unlikely to feature.

Instead, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (via 9to5Mac) suggests the M2 will instead debut in the MacBook Air 2022 halfway through next year.

This makes a lot of sense, since the M1 chip also made its debut in a MacBook Air back in 2020. This could spell the end for the M1, as the M2 will look to eventually replace its predecessor.

Apple M2 could use a 4nm process

The Apple M2 chip is expected to be built on a 4nm process, which is an improvement on the M1’s 5nm node, allowing for more transistors per square nanometre.

With a smaller node, the Apple M2 could potentially see better efficiency than the M1, resulting in an improved performance even if it has the same number of CPU and GPU cores.

There are no definitive numbers in terms of the CPU and GPU core counts, however it’s likely that it will have a similar number to the M1. It’s very unlikely that the M2 will offer the number of graphics cores as the M1X, as the M2 is intended for entry-level Macs rather than the likes of the MacBook Pro 2021.

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