And look at the calendar: 2022 is just around the corner. So, if you’re wondering if you should wait for the M2 instead of investing in a MacBook Air M1 or MacBook Pro M1 Pro, we’re here to help.
M1, M1 Pro and M1 Max
Apple’s first three Mac chips are all based on the same architecture but are quite different:
CPU core (performance)
CPU core (efficiency)
8GB / 16GB
16GB / 32GB
32GB / 64GB
As you can see the chips are quite different. While they are all based on the same 5nm die process, the M1 Pro has a lot more power, especially when using apps that leverage more than one core. The M1 is a great chip, but the M1 Pro is great with blazing speeds and excellent upgrade options. As you can see in the CPU benchmarks below, the extra cores go a long way and that’s before we take graphics and RAM into consideration. Apple has produced a great chip for professionals, but it could be too fast for occasional users.
M2: Specifications and speeds
According to several reports, the M2 will make its debut in the next MacBook Air, it will be faster than the M1, but Bloomberg relationships which will have the same number of CPU cores as the M1 and up to 10 graphics cores. This would put the M2 closer to the M1 than the M1 Pro.
The debut of the M2 in Apple’s thinnest and lightest laptop says a lot about the chip. Like the current MacBook Air, relationships let’s say the MacBook Air 2022 won’t have a cooling fan, which could mean Apple will throttle the M2’s performance to maintain an adequate operating temperature. Self the A15 is an indication, the M2 chip could bring about a 10% single-core performance increase over the M1 and 20% better multi-core CPU performance. As for the GPU, we saw speeds 40 to 50 percent faster on the iPhone 12’s A14 chip than the high-end iPhone 13 Pro and about 25 percent faster with the iPhone 13’s 4-core GPU.
Jason Cross / IDG
Compared to the M1, we will likely see the M2’s CPU performance increase by around 15% with a larger increase in GPU performance. The M1 Pro, with its eight or 10 CPU cores (two efficiency cores, the rest are performance cores), boasts multi-core CPU performance that is about 70 percent better than the M1, so even with a nice increase, the M2 will still be significantly slower overall than the M1 Pro.
M2 vs M1 Pro: no comparison
The M1 Pro is designed for software that can take advantage of multi-core processing and GPUs. If you are a professional using CPU intensive apps, don’t wait, invest in a MacBook Pro M1 Pro right away. Based on what we know about the M2, it will offer a decent improvement over the M1 and come a little closer to ‘M1 Pro, but not close enough to it.
But for common tasks, the M2 may be even faster than Apple’s flagship processors. The M1 Pro’s single-core performance is essentially the same as the M1 (which is expected, as the M1 Pro is based on the M1), and if the M2 follows the path of the A15, the single-core speed it will be a little faster than all M1 chips, including Pro and Max.
If the idea that the M2’s single-core performance could be better than the M1 Pro piqued your interest, an M1 Pro – and probably any subsequent Pro chip – is overkill for what you do in the first place. Single-core performance is important for common apps like Mail and Photos, so the speed gains might be more useful than the M1 Pro’s multi-core performance. But the M1 is already great for those things, so we recommend one of those, unless you’re interested in the rumored redesign of the MacBook Air, at that point the chip doesn’t really matter.
There is also the question of the 13-inch MacBook Pro: will Apple decide to keep it, and if so, will it get an M2? The current model has the same chip as the MacBook Air, but its fan keeps things a little cooler so it can run at higher speeds for longer. In our tests, the 13-inch MacBook Pro M1 was slightly faster than the MacBook Air M1, although the MacBook Pro can sustain its speeds longer than the Air and we expect similar results for the M2. This is still not enough incentive to wait for an M2 instead of buying an M1 Pro.
M2 Pro: the future
According to rumors, Apple is not done with the M1 Pro and the M1 Max. Far from it. The new chips will likely end up in at least two other Macs in 2022: the 27-inch iMac and the High-end Mac mini.
How about an M2 Pro? It will surely come after the M2, but it may take a while. The M1 Pro has just made its debut and the new M2 MacBook Air is rumored to be unavailable until mid-2022, around 18 months after the M1 was released. If a Pro chip has a similar cycle, the M2 Pro won’t be available until late 2022 or early 2023. However, we’ve heard it will have two dies and possibly twice as many cores as the M1 Pro and M1 Max.But that’s years of distance. For now, the M1, M1 Pro, and M1 Max will be very fast for everything you need for your Mac.
Roman has been involved in technology since the early 1990s. His career started at MacUser and he worked for MacAddict, Mac | Life and TechTV.