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M2 MacBook lineup for 2022 leaked: Here’s what you need to know

16-Inch MacBook Pro

Various sources have claimed in the past few weeks that Apple will soon unveil the first MacBook Pro to feature the M2 System-on-Chip (SoC). The 2022 M2 MacBook Pro will launch alongside other new devices this spring, including the iPhone SE 3 and iPad Air 5. But despite getting the latest Apple processor for Macs, the new MacBook Pro will not outperform the 2021 models that launched with M1 Pro and M1 Max chips inside. It will not even feature the new “notch” design that Apple introduced last fall for the MacBook Pro series.

That might sound puzzling at first, but a new report from a well-known Apple insider sheds more light on Apple’s Mac strategy going forward. The MacBook Pro will not be the only new Mac to run on the new M2 SoC this year. However, the most powerful M-series chips will still be part of the M1 series.

Apple’s switch to M-series chips

There’s no question that Apple’s pivot to its own silicon has been a significant success for the company. Apple announced about two years ago that all of its Macs would run on M-series SoCs in a couple of years. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman explained in his Power On newsletter how Apple plans to complete the switch from Intel to Apple M chips.

The M2 MacBook Pro will be just one of the Macs that Apple will launch this year, featuring a custom chip from Apple. In total, Apple plans to launch seven new Macs featuring M1 and M2 SoC variations.

To recap, Apple started in late 2020 with the first M1-series chip that powered the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini. The M1 performance and efficiency reviews were so good that Intel launched a massive anti-Apple ad campaign it ran for most of 2021. Then, Apple used the M1 inside the 2021 iMac and iPad Pro models.

In late 2021, Apple released the M1 Pro and M1 Max versions alongside the redesigned MacBook Pro models. These SoC are even more powerful than the regular M1, and they’ve been even more impressive in reviews. The arrival of the Pro and Max also indicated that Apple has a specific naming convention in place for the evolution of the Apple M-series chips.

Gurman’s report further explains how Apple plans to use these SoC generations in its products. The M2 might be the next-gen chip, but it will not outperform the M1 Max and Pro. The latter will still be the SoC of choice for any Mac with a “Pro” particle in the name. All entry-level computers coming in 2022 from Apple will get the M2 SoC.

Apple MacBook Pro M1 Pro
Apple MacBook Pro M1 Pro version. Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

The M2 MacBooks and Macs coming in 2022

Gurman says that the MacBook transition to Apple silicon “will shift into high gear” in 2022, with the help of these M-series SoC versions:

  • A new M2 chip
  • Last year’s M1 Pro and M1 Max chips
  • Super-powered versions of the M1 Max

Apple will likely introduce the first M2 MacBooks on March 8th, when the company plans to unveil the first hardware products of the year. At least one Mac will join the 5G iPhone SE and new iPad Air during the event. Also, Apple has already listed three new Mac models with the Russian version of the FCC. One of them is going to be a laptop.

Gurman listed the following MacBook and Mac models he expects Apple to unveil during 2022:

  • A new Mac mini with an M1 Pro chip
  • A 13-inch MacBook Pro with an M2 chip, to succeed the 2020 model and sit below the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro in the line
  • A Mac mini with an M2 chip
  • A 24-inch iMac with an M2 chip
  • A redesigned MacBook Air with an M2 chip
  • A larger iMac Pro with M1 Pro and M1 Max chip options
  • A half-sized Mac Pro, the first with Apple Silicon, with the equivalent of either two
    or four M1 Max chips
Apple MacBook Pro 2021 Notch
Apple MacBook Pro 2021 Notch. Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

Understanding the M2 upgrade

Gurman said that he expects the current entry-level MacBook Pro and Mac mini to see upgrades to M2 first. The iMac Pro launch isn’t too distant either, Gurman added. Previous reports said that Apple plans to bring back the iMac Pro all-in-one. But the new desktop will not necessarily launch during the March 8th event. Gurman says Apple might unveil the 2022 iMac Pro at WWDC in June and ship it in the fall.

The M2 MacBook Air will come with a brand new design. The redesigned MacBook should launch in late 2022, in time for the holiday shopping season.

Gurman explains that the M2 chips will be faster than the M1 series, but it’ll feature the same eight-core CPU architecture. The GPU might see a bump from seven or eight cores to nine or 10.

The Mac Pro chips will come in two flavors based on the M1 Max chips. One version will double the M1 Max capabilities. The other will quadruple it. That means 20 CPU cores and 64 GPU cores for the former, and 40 CPU cores and 128 GPU cores for the latter.

The M2 Pro and M2 Max versions will only drop in 2023, Gurman speculates. Once that happens, a new M3 SoC might arrive. That SoC will likely power all Macs that aren’t “Pros.”

Chris Smith started writing about gadgets as a hobby, and before he knew it he was sharing his views on tech stuff with readers around the world. Whenever he's not writing about gadgets he miserably fails to stay away from them, although he desperately tries. But that's not necessarily a bad thing.