24-inch iMac could be the last computer with the M1 chip


For all its phenomenal abilities, the M1 is a chip for entry-level computers. in which it is used. What this chip has done for the industry is admirable. Mac sales are skyrocketing just because of him. But the limitations of this chip (and the Macs that use it) are getting more and more annoying, and it’s time to take the next step. We need the next M-chip, for mid-range Macs, outperforming Intel in 16-inch MacBook Pros and 27-inch iMacs. And the production of such a chip has already begun. In the first days of April. Mass deliveries of this chip should begin in July.

Chip M2

For powerful new Macs, Apple developed the M2 chip

Disadvantages of the Apple M1 chip

All entry-level Macs (MacBook Air, MacBook Pro 13, Mac mini, and now iMac 24) already use the M1. In fact, this is the first version of the chip of the new architecture. Trial to some extent. The chip has a lot of limitations: on the size of RAM (8 or 16 GB of combined memory), on the amount of flash memory (up to 2 TB), on the number of ports and supported external displays.

M1 Mac

These are all Macs with an M1 chip

And for some tasks, 16 GB of combined RAM is simply not enough. And the GPU in the M1 still can’t compete with discrete GPUs even in the 16-inch MacBook Pro. It is no coincidence that the M1 developers focused their efforts on performance, economy and reliability. Everything else was given attention according to the residual principle. For entry-level computers, the M1 is great. Over time, in their next models, the M1 will be replaced by some M1X, in which these restrictions will not be.

So the 24-inch iMac is latest Mac with M1 inside.

Most likely, there will be some kind of M1X in the 2022 MacBook Air. But the new chip for mid-range and high-end computers is a completely different chip.

When will the Apple M2 chip be released?

Every day there are new indirect confirmations of information about the release of the Apple M2 chip. Both Apple and TSMC, the company’s main partner, declined to comment on the post. But what else could you expect from Apple? TMSC keeps its trade secrets just as well, but is otherwise less secretive than Apple. But the contract with Apple to manufacture the next M-chip, from which TSMC is expected to earn several billion dollars, certainly contains a non-disclosure clause about any information about the content of the contract.

The first circumstantial evidence is secret documents stolen from Quanta’s servers. These are genuine 14.1″ and 16″ MacBook Pro blueprints and instructions for building them. Top secret. They are dated March of this year. In order to prepare and start mass production of these laptops in July-August, these documents should have been on Quanta’s servers in March. By the way, the hackers removed the stolen documents from the public domain, don’t look.

Designing production lines, installing them, training staff, testing and debugging production processes – this takes a lot of time. The second circumstantial evidence is that Mark Gurman of Bloomberg indirectly stated that a new chip is indeed on the way. Bloomberg is much more careful with its Apple sources, refraining from publishing what they know. But they still receive information.

Who makes processors for Apple?

TSMC plant

One of TSMC’s chip factories

TSMC publishes “roadmaps” for the implementation of new technological processes. With these roadmaps, she grabs the attention of potential customers. An article published in the Nikkei Asia edition named the technological process by which the next M-chip is produced. Nikkei claims that this is an improved 5nm process, that is, not N5 (which is used to manufacture the M1 and Apple A14), but N5P. Mass production of this technological process TSMC promised to establish and start this summer. According to this process technology, for example, Apple A15 will be produced. Production of the new M-chip has just begun. It is at the stage of testing and debugging. Mass production and shipping should start in July.

There is only one problem with all this. Due to the lack of chips and electronic components, Apple has every right to postpone the release of new Macs and the presentation of a new chip indefinitely. She will be understood. But no matter how good the reasons for a serious decline in the company’s income, shareholders will simply begin to leave it. The stock price, reputation, status of the richest and most successful company in the world would be called into question. Therefore, in the autumn should be presented new Macs. And at WWDC 2021, they may well present a mysterious new chip.

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