With the launch of the Apple Silicon powered Macs, Apple laid down a gauntlet to its competitors. And the Cupertino-based company isn’t resting on these benchmarks. The plans for 2021’s improvements to the M1 chip along with some new hardware are impressive enough, but 2022’s big change is going to be a shock to the competition.
The M1 architecture is built around 5nm silicon fabrication. According to the latest reports, Apple has placed an order with TSMC for 3nm fabrication. The team at GSMArena has more:
“Sources familiar with the matter say that the said [3nm] chips will likely power up future iPads and MacBooks. This means that we will see 5nm or maybe 5nm+ chips for another year. TSMC is almost ready with the certification process so will likely begin trial production next year while mass production will happen in 2022.
“While the rumor talks about MacBooks’ and iPad’s M-series chips, it’s probably safe to assume that iPhones in 2022 will likely use the same tech.”
The debut of the ARM-based Apple Silicon with the M1-powered MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and mac Mini machines has given the macOS platform a huge shot in the arm in terms of raw performance. In the mid-range consumer space the two MacBooks are offering powerful alternatives with higher benchmarking results than comparable Windows 10 powered laptops.
Those already embedded in the macOS platform will welcome these improvements when the time comes to upgrade their Mac. Those looking to jump over from Windows 10 have a trickier decision to make, with investments in a new user interface, the macOS versions of their key apps, and the integration of their workflow into Apple’s cloud.
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Many of today’s key apps are available over multiple platforms, If the one-time investment to change platforms is coupled with ongoing time savings then the switch to Apple’s new architecture will be attractive. But the three new machines are probably not the best investment. They are certainly on the cutting edge, and I have no doubt that Apple has planned out a number of years of hardware development for the portfolio that follows the first three,
The M1 processor will be the slowest Apple Silicon chip for the Mac family. The next step of improvements (the presumptively titled M1X iteration and the next-step M2) are expected to debut in 2021s new hardware; my money is on a high-end MacBook Pro for the M1X and the first iMac and Mac Pro to debut with the new ARM hardware.
It should come as no surprise that Apple has pre-booked a significant value of 5nm chip fabrication lines, and the demand is so high that the exclusivity Apple has with TSMC may need to become a ‘preferred partner’ status as Samsung Foundry looks for a piece of the action.
Thanks to the latest reports we can see what happens in 2022, namely the launch of a new M class processor built on 3nm technology. That should offer Apple’s hardware the choice of increased performance compared to the 5nm chips, reduced power consumption, or a mix of both. Given the gains already shown by the M1 over Intel’s Core chips, it’s unlikely that we’d see the same massive gain in performance.
But with the move to 3nm fabrication and the technical gains to be found, macOS software improvements from the feedback of countless consumers with the new hardware, and improvements in the physical design of the new Macs to optimise for performance, will see Apple continue to push boundaries as the competition races to catch up.