Apple has started widespread internal testing of several new Mac models with next-generation M2 chips, according to developer logs, part of its push to make more powerful computers using homegrown processors.
The company is testing at least nine new Macs with four different M2-based chips — the successors to the current M1 line — with third-party apps in its App Store, according to the logs, which were corroborated by people familiar with the matter. The move is a key step in the development process, suggesting that the new machines may be nearing release in the coming months.
The M2 chip is Apple’s latest attempt to push the boundaries of computer processing after a split with Intel in recent years. Apple has gradually replaced Intel chips with its own silicon, and now looks to make further gains with a more advanced line.
After years of slow growth, the Mac computer division enjoyed a resurgence the past two years, helped in part by home office workers buying new equipment. The business generated US$35.2-billion in sales the past fiscal year, about 10% of Apple’s total.
Even though testing is far along in some cases, there are no guarantees that all the models will ultimately be released. A spokeswoman for Cupertino, California-based Apple declined to comment on the plans.
The new machines being tested include:
- A MacBook Air with an M2 chip, codenamed J413. This Mac will have eight CPU cores and 10 cores for graphics. That’s up from eight graphics cores in the current MacBook Air.
- A Mac mini with an M2 chip, codenamed J473. This machine will have the same specifications as the MacBook Air. There’s also an “M2 Pro” variation, codenamed J474, in testing.
- An entry-level MacBook Pro with an M2 chip, codenamed J493. This too will have the same specifications as the MacBook Air.
- A 14-inch MacBook Pro with M2 Pro and “M2 Max” chips, codenamed J414. The M2 Max chip has 12 CPU cores and 38 graphics cores, up from 10 CPU cores and 32 graphics cores in the current model, according to the logs. It will also have 64 gigabytes of memory.
- A 16-inch MacBook Pro with M2 Pro and M2 Max chips, codenamed J416. The 16-inch MacBook Pro’s M2 Max will have the same specifications as the 14-inch MacBook Pro version.
- A Mac Pro, codenamed J180. This machine will include a successor to the M1 Ultra chip used in the Mac Studio computer.
Apple is also testing a Mac mini with an M1 Pro chip, the same processor used in the entry-level 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros today. That machine is codenamed J374. The company has tested an M1 Max version of the Mac mini as well, but the new Mac Studio may make these machines redundant.
The new MacBook Air, low-end MacBook Pro and new Mac mini are scheduled to debut as early as this year, with at least two Macs planned for launch around the middle of the year. The new MacBook Air is destined to be the product’s biggest redesign in its history, adding a thinner frame and MagSafe charging.
Logs maintained by developers have accurately predicted specifications of upcoming Macs in the past. Last year, logs revealed that the MacBook Pro chips would be named the M1 Pro and M1 Max.
Apple hasn’t updated the MacBook Air, Mac mini or the entry-level MacBook Pro since it launched the original M1 chip in November 2020. However, the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros went on sale more recently, in October of last year. — (c) 2022 Bloomberg LP