The first Macs with Apple Silicon chips are here, and so far it seems like they’ve largely exceeded expectations in terms of performance and power efficiency. With a few notable exceptions, most software runs faster on the new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro with Apple M1 chips than on previous-gen models with Intel processors.
So what’s next? According to Bloomberg, Apple could launch “a series of new Mac processors” as soon as next year, with some expected to outperform Intel’s most powerful desktop processors.
The Bloomberg report is based on leaks, and it’s a little light on details, so it’s best to take things with a grain of salt. Even if the information is accurate, it’s a little vague and Apple’s plans could change in the coming months. But here are a few highlights from the report:
- Apple could release new chips as soon as spring, 2021, with more processors coming in the fall.
- Next-gen MacBook Pro laptops and iMac all-in-one desktops could be powered by chips with as many as 16 high-performance CPU cores and 4 efficiency cores (although Apple may also decided to go with a 8 or 12 performance cores for the 2021 models instead).
- Apple is said to be developing chips with as many as 32 high-performance CPU cores for high-end desktop computers.
- The company is also developing high-performance GPUs with 64 or 128 dedicated graphics cores. This may be an optional upgrade for high-priced, high-power systems.
By comparison, the Apple M1 processor that powers the current-gen MacBook Air and 13 inch Macbook Pro is an 8-core processor featuring 4 high-performance cores and 4 efficiency cores, and it still trounces Intel’s latest laptop chips in most benchmarks.
Apple has previously said it plans to transition its entire lineup to Apple Silicon by the end of 2022, but according to Bloomberg, the company may be a little ahead of schedule. The first of the new chips could debut in next-gen MacBook Pro and iMac models in the spring, while the even higher-performance chips will likely come to high-end desktops starting in late 2021. The report also mentions a new “half-sized Mac Pro” that could launch late in the year or in early 2022. It will likely feature one of Apple’s most powerful chips.