Apple M2 SoC Now Rumored to Debut on Refreshed MacBook Air and MacBook Pro Later This Year
In a barrage of confusion coming from multiple sources citing what they think are Apple’s next steps in its transition to in-house silicon, we have another update, this time from 9To5Mac once again who is claiming that Apple is working on a new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro that will launch later this year with the M2 SoC. This is contrary to popular analyst Ming-Chi Kuo who believes that the MacBook Air will pack the M1 instead.
Predictions for new MacBook Air in 2022:
1. Mass production in late 2Q22 or 3Q22
2. Processor: M1 chip
3. No mini-LED display
4. All-new form factor design
5. More color options
— 郭明錤 (Ming-Chi Kuo) (@mingchikuo) March 9, 2022
MacBook Air M2 refresh
Reliable sources close to 9To5Mac have told the site that new MacBooks with the updated M2 SoC are coming later this year and this is what is known about them so far. The updated MacBook Air with a new SoC (either M2 or M1 Pro/Max) has been rumored for ages now with multiple outlets reporting on the matter with unanimous agreement that Apple is planning a big refresh for it with a complete redesign, similar to the 14-inch MacBook M1 Pro/Max MacBook Pros that just recently launched.
According to 9To5Mac, the new MacBook Air will see only a single variant being released that will be powered with the M2 SoC, which is based on the A15 Bionic and has an 8-core CPU, similar to the M1, but bumps up the GPU to 10-cores from the M1’s original 8-core design. The M2 MacBook Air is codenamed “J413” internally and is on track for a H2 2022 launch with a plausible (but unlikely) announcement as early as WWDC 2022 in June.
While the 2022 MacBook Air will be powered by the M2 SoC, it’s important to note that this is the entry-level chip that’s the direct successor to the original M1. Therefore, it may not be as or more powerful as the enhanced M1 chips such as the M1 Pro, Max, and Ultra which are higher-end variants. Upgraded versions of the M2 will launch later, with the M2 Pro rumored to power a new Mac Mini later this year as well.
13-inch MacBook Pro
Then, we come to the 13-inch MacBook Pro refresh. While many believed that it was time for the 13-inch MacBook to finally retire as the 14-inch seemed like a natural replacement for it, Apple is planning to keep it around for longer. 9To5Mac states that the new 13-inch MacBook Pro, codenamed “J493“, is based on the older 13-inch MacBook Pro design but will come with refreshed internals, aka the new M2 chip.
More interestingly though, Apple has been considering dropping the “Pro” moniker for this machine and rebranding it as just the “MacBook“. In which case, this will become the company’s new entry-level MacBook and this will correspond with recent reports suggesting that the redesigned (M2) MacBook Air will be “slightly more expensive” and not exactly an entry-level option. However, this is not confirmed and there is a chance Apple retains the MacBook Pro name for this machine.
Similar to the new MacBook Air, the new 13-inch MacBook Pro will only see one variant, that being the one with the M2 SoC. Apple is however, reportedly, working on the M2 Pro, M2 Max, and M2 Ultra SoCs as we speak and we will see those implemented within the Mac lineup in the next series of hardware refresh for the Macs. It’s unclear at this point the concrete release date that Apple is targeting but 9To5Mac’s sources tell them that both machines are in the advanced stages of development which suggests official announcements are coming soon.
Apple is planning to release new Macs in the second half of this year. The current rumor suggests that this includes new Mac Mini machines along with the aforementioned MacBook Air and MacBook Pro refreshes. However, there’s some fog surrounding the exact logistics of this lineup as some analysts believe that updated Mac Minis are coming next year instead of this, and that the MacBook Air is being refreshed with M1 Pro/Max instead of M2. That being said, things should clear up as we move closer to release.