We were somewhat surprised when the new iMac arrived with an M1 chip at Apple's Spring Loaded event. We had heard rumours that Apple was working on the successor to the M1 processor, and Apple's all-in-one seemed like a great place to debut it.
That didn't happen. Instead, we got the same M1 chip that's in the MacBook Air, right down to the cheaper option with seven GPU cores instead of eight. Granted, it'll still be a very fast machine, but we were hoping to get a glimpse at the second generation of Apple silicon.
Now it seems that chip is on the way. According to Nikkei Asia, the next generation of Apple silicon chips has entered mass production and shipments could begin as early as July for use in MacBooks that are scheduled to go on sale in the second half of this year.
Nikkei Asia says the chip is tentatively known as the M2, but we've also heard rumours that it could be called the M1X.
The chip is likely bound for the rumoured 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models that have been rumoured for a while. They were originally expected to arrive at WWDC in June, but production shortages reportedly pushed back the launch to the fall.
It makes sense that Apple would launch a new chip with its remaining Macs, which are all higher-end machines. A Bloomberg report from late last year said Apple's next processors are destined to be placed across upgraded versions of the MacBook Pro, both entry-level and high-end iMac desktops, and later a new Mac Pro workstation.
The report claimed Apple was working on chip designs with up to 32 high-performance cores for higher-end desktop Macs and 16 power cores for notebooks, but cautioned that Apple Apple could choose to first release variations with only eight or 12 of the high-performance cores enabled depending on production. The current M1 has four high-performance cores.