Which Apple Macs come with the M1 chipset? Let’s find out…
Not so long ago, Apple flipped the PC market on its head. Apple confirmed that it would stop using Intel chips inside its Mac and focus on developing and using its own silicon inside future Mac releases. Like its switch to 64-bit architecture on iPhone, this was a bold and potentially disastrous move.
There were plenty of risks, and most market-watchers expected Apple to fall flat on its face. How could a company with limited experience in chip building for computers enter a mature market and compete with giants like AMD and Intel?
But this is exactly what Apple did, and it succeeded, shutting up the naysayers more or less overnight. Apple’s first-gen M1 chips were not only incredibly powerful, but they were also amazingly power-efficient too, bringing massive uplift in battery performance on Apple’s MacBooks.
Applications had to be rejigged for Apple’s new silicon, of course, but this didn’t take long. Developers knew Apple’s M1 Macs would be popular, so by the end of the first year, there weren’t too many compatibility issues with Apple’s new M1 chip and legacy applications like those from Adobe and Microsoft.
From 2022 onwards, the vast majority of new Macs released will run on Apple’s custom silicon chips, not Intel chips, which means if you’re buying a Mac in the next couple of years, you’ll most likely be running an M1-powered Mac. But what Macs currently run Apple’s M1 chip? Let’s find out…
Macs That Run Apple’s M1 Chip
- Mac Studio (2022)
- MacBook Pro (14-inch, 2021)
- MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2021)
- iMac (24-inch, M1, 2021)
- Mac mini (M1, 2020)
- MacBook Air (M1, 2020)
- MacBook Pro (13-inch, M1, 2020)
All of the above Macs run Apple’s M1 chipset or a variation of it. Apple makes a few different versions of its M1 chipset. As of right now, you have the following M1 chipsets available inside Macs:
- M1 (Entry-Level Model) – The M1 is the first and least powerful M1 chipset. You will find this chipset inside Apple’s base-model MacBooks and iMacs, as well as the Mac mini.
- M1 Pro (More Performance) – The M1 Pro has up to 10 CPU cores and up to 16 GPU cores. You’ll find the M1 Pro inside Apple’s MacBook Pro and Mac Studio.
- M1 Max (Best Performance) – The M1 Max has a 10-core CPU and up to 32 GPU cores and is currently the most powerful M1 chip Apple makes. You’ll find the M1 Max chip inside the most expensive variants of Apple’s Mac computers like its most expensive Mac Studio model.
But this is just the beginning. Apple is expected to release a whole new bunch of Mac computers in 2022, including a refreshed iMac, a new MacBook Air, and a new MacBook Pro model. And what’s even more interesting is that these new Macs will potentially run Apple’s new M2 chipset, the 2nd generation of Apple Silicon.
From 2023/24 onwards, it is entirely possible that ALL Macs will run Apple Silicon, concluding Apple’s complete migration away from Intel chipsets.
What is The M2 Chip?
As the name suggests, Apple’s M2 chip is the second generation of its Apple Silicon chipsets. The M2 chip is expected to launch in 2022; it will likely feature inside Apple’s 2022 MacBook Air, Mac mini, and MacBook Pro models. Reports suggest the first M2-powered Mac will be the updated MacBook Air for 2022.
The M2 chip will replace the M1 chip, but, rather confusingly, it will NOT be as powerful as the M1 Pro or the M1 Max. Apple’s M1 Pro and M1 Max will remain the company’s most powerful chipsets. The M2 chipset will replace the standard M1 chip on Apple’s entry-level Mac computers. And if that’s confusing the heck out of you, don’t feel ashamed – it makes very little sense to me either!
M2 Performance Stats
How powerful will the M2 be? The latest information suggests Apple isn’t reinventing the wheel with the M2. It will use similar architecture to the M1, having the same number of CPU cores, but there will be notable speed and efficiency improvements. It will also be built by TSMC using its 4-nanometer process.
The M2 is expected to have the same 8-core CPU as the M1, but there will be speed and efficiency improvements as it is expected to be built on TSMC’s 4-nanometer process.
It is expected to have additional GPU cores, with 9 and 10-core GPU options, up from the 7 and 8-core GPU options in the original M1 chip.
Signs of the M2 chip popped up in the macOS Monterey 12.3 beta as Apple works on developing the chip. The chip features eight CPU cores and a 10-core GPU, which is in line with the information we know about the M2.MacRumors
The Future of Apple Silicon…
As noted earlier, Apple’s wider idea with its Apple Silicon chipsets is to eventually move away completely from Intel chips. By 2024, although it’ll probably happen before, you will no longer be able to buy Intel-powered Mac computers. In this respect, Apple’s vision and direction are clear: all Macs will one day run on Apple Silicon.
By using its own silicon, Apple can quickly iterate and improve the performance and efficacies of its Mac computers. It is no longer relying on Intel for improvements and changes. It can set its own pace and its own course. The upshot of this is that we’ll likely see A LOT more Mac computers released than before, Macs with different form factors and lower price points, potentially. For Mac users, this is great news.
As with iPhone, we could also see Apple make significant updates to its M-Series chipsets once a year. So, in 2020 we had the M1, then in 2022, we got the M1 Pro and M1 Max. In 2022, we’ll get the M2, and in 2023, it’ll be the turn of the M3 chipset. And each new iteration will bring new refreshes of different Mac models – from Apple’s iMac to its Mac Studio and MacBook Air.
Apple has also started using its M1 chipset inside its iPads now too, so its move towards a completely unified platform, whereby ALL of its products run on the same silicon, is drawing tantalizingly close to realization.
Me? I’m a big fan of the new Mac mini – it is super powerful, relatively inexpensive, and it has more than enough power for 99.9% of users (even in its lowest configuration). I also cannot wait to see some new MacBook models. The world needs a truly inexpensive MacBook option. And with Apple Silicon, I think we might just get one inside the next few years…
Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.
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