Monday, Nov 08, 2021, 17:03 Mac: Hardware

Roadmap For Apple’s Future M-Chips Revealed?

Last winter, Apple presented the first Macs with its new M1 chips in an impressive demonstration revealing how efficiently the iPad/iPhone inspired chips could be implemented into the Mac mini and MacBooks. Since last week, Apple has begun deliveries for the new MacBook Pro equipped with a performance variant of last year's M1 chip. Both the press and customers have shown equal admiration for the two new performance variants of the already-impressive M1, the M1 Pro and M1 Max. There's currently no other laptop chip in the same class on the market worthy of competition, even from competitors such as Intel or (in comparison to Intel, the much more formidable) AMD isn't capable of the same high performance and simultaneous energy efficiency.

Despite the release of the another set of Apple Silicon chips, Apple still has yet to indicate when the entire switch to in-house processors will be complete. The larger 27" iMac is still only available with an Intel processor, and the same goes for the 2019 Mac Pro and its Intel Xenon processors.

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The Second Generation – "Rhodes" & Improved 5-nm Manufacturing
TheInformation.com claims to have happened upon Apple's internal roadmap for the development of its Apple Silicon laptop and desktop computer chips. Accordingly, Apple is planning the second generation of "Apple Silicon" for the year 2022 under the codename "Rhodes". This chip will likely be the M2, which should also rely on an improved 5-nm manufacturing process from Apple's production partner, TSMC, thus offering up even more energy efficiency. However, some M2 chips will have 2 processor dies (a small piece of silicon which the transistors and their interconnecting circuits are etched onto) and thus an even higher number of available CPU cores.

The Third Generation – Up To 4 Processor Dies
Come 2023, and things should get even more interesting. According to the report, Apple Silicon's third generation should consist of three different chips entirely under the codenames "Ibiza", "Lobos", and "Palma". "Ibiza" should be a chip intended for the MacBook Air (and likely also the Mac mini), whereas "Lobos" and "Palma" are expected to be the performance variants – with up to 4 processor dies and 40 CPU cores.

Apple Silicon's third generation will likely also undergo the 3-nm production process – yet again, thanks to Apple production partner TSMC. According to TheInformation.com and as per the alleged roadmap, Apple should easily keep its seat on the chip throne, outclassing anything coming from Intel and AMD in terms of both energy efficiency and performance with even its third generation of chips.

Mac Pro With A Refurnished M1?
During the announcement of the new MacBook Pro at the most recent Apple event, Tim Cook yet again spoke concerning the transition to Apple Silicon and reiterated that it's expected to take at least two years. This means that the Cupertino will present a 27" iMac and Mac Pro with Apple Silicon by the end of 2022 at the latest. TheInformation.com also claims that the upcoming Mac Pro will rely on a new variation of the M1 – with 2 processor dies and up to 20 processor cores.

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