CUPTERTINO, Calf. — How do you make something a surprise and not a surprise at the same time? Well, if you’re Apple, you’re announcing something that almost everyone expects from you at a very different time than most people thought you would.
No, I’m not talking about the long-awaited (but still just rumors) AR headset (that’s probably something for next year). This week’s announcement was among the new M2 chip-based MacBook Air and MacBook Pro laptops, which the company unveiled at its annual Global Developer Conference (WWDC). The WWDC event tends to focus almost exclusively on software improvements, with things like feature updates for iOS, MacOS, watchOS, and iPadOS taking center stage.
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The company has even tackled software updates this year, with: iOS 16 promising features like lock screen customization and text call or edit after sending, iPadOS 16 offers significantly more Mac-like productivity features for collaboration and multi-app windows, and MacOS Ventura (name of next version) planned to enable things like Continuity Camera for using a docked iPhone as a high-quality webcam and passwordless logins via new Passwords†
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However, in addition to the expected software refinements, Apple has also removed the highly anticipated second generation M2 chip for Mac and the first two machines to support it – updated versions of the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. Even regular Apple observers all thought the company would eventually do this, but almost everyone who followed the news from WWDC was surprised that it happened now.
What it illustrates is that Apple is making even more aggressive progress on its customization roadmap Arm-based chip designs (at the heart of the M-series processors) than many realized. At the same time, it’s becoming clear that Apple’s M-line of silicon is quickly becoming a more complex and nuanced offering than many initially imagined.
As you might expect from the name alone, the M2 is a more advanced version of the original M1 chip first introduced about 20 months ago in earlier versions of the MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro and the Mac Mini. However, it is not expected to be faster or more capable than the M1 Ultra† M1 Pro or M1 Max processors the company has introduced in the past year.
What does it all mean?
Confused? Well, what Apple is clearly stating is that it will have a range of performance levels within each generation of its M Series and, from generation to generation, those levels will overlap. So, M2 based computers are expected to be 18% faster for calculations and 35% faster for graphics applications than M1 machines, but not necessarily faster than anything based on the M1 Pro or M1 Ultra. At the same time, it’s now pretty safe to bet that we’ll see an M2 Pro and M2 Ultra and they’ll be faster than their predecessors.
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What this also suggests is that in some ways Apple is using a page from an old Intel chip manufacturing strategy called “tic toc.” With this approach, one generation of chips offers refinements to an existing design like the M2 – seems to do versus the M1 – and then the next generation uses what is called a other process node to manufacture the chip with small transistors.
Practically speaking, this means that the M1 and M2 are made with 5nm (nanometer) transistors, but the M3 is expected to be scaled down to use 3nm components. The only reason you should be concerned is that these process node changes typically offer even bigger performance gains than design changes, meaning we could see even bigger performance jumps when Apple eventually moves to the M3.
The M2 seems to bring solid improvements over the first-generation M1 MacBooks. Even bigger news for the new M2-powered MacBook Air is a refined, slimmed-down design that brings back the Magsafe power connector, improves the webcam to 1080P resolution and increases the screen size to 13.6 inches.
As I could see first hand during the event, it’s a beautiful machine to see and hold, and it’s now also available in four different metallic colours. The new design comes at a price, though, with the M2-based MacBook Airs starting at $1,199 when they’re available sometime next month, according to Apple. That’s $200 more than the M1 MacBook Air, which the company will continue to sell for $999.
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The M2-based MacBook Pro starts at the same price of $1,299 as the M1-based MacBook Pro (which it replaces), though it retains the same design and 13-inch screen size as the original.
it comes down to
As Apple likes to point out, the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro are the two best-selling laptops in the world (in part because Apple offers significantly fewer different models than any other PC vendor), so changes and upgrades will affect and affect many people. to be noticed.
The M2 versions, especially the newly designed MacBook Air, offer much of what most potential notebook buyers expect, including up-to-date performance, solid battery life and good designs. More importantly, they are clear representations of where Apple wants its computing business: full steam ahead.