The latest in Apple Silicon has been spotted out in the wild. An all-new, turbocharged line of SoCs is already being tested in the next wave of Apple computers. So, what does the M2 series have to offer?
The Apple M1 chips may be finally superseded by several highly-anticipated successors as new silicon chips are all currently being put to the test. According to Mark Gurman of Bloomberg, developer logs from third-party apps have revealed what seems to be the M2 series of Apple’s own silicon.
The brand has been working hard to free itself entirely from its previous line of Intel-based processors, and the next step is finally here.
New Things on the Horizon
Here are the chips that are currently being tested and are slated to hit the market sometime in the next refresh:
- The M2 chip, with 8 CPU cores and either 9 or 10 dedicated graphics cores
- The M2 Pro, with a 12-core CPU and a 16-core GPU
- The M2 Max, with 12 CPU cores and a 32-core GPU
- The M2 Ultra, a 24-core CPU offering either 48 or 64 cores of graphics processing power
- The M2 Extreme, with 48 CPU cores and either 96 or 128 GPU cores
The plain-Jane M2 chip is supposed to make its debut in the next MacBook Air, and it offers a slight upgrade from the current one’s eight-core GPU. It’s a common theme we’ll see throughout this development—slightly more power, more reliability, and, of course, more capacity and speed.
Mac-based gaming (for what it is compared to PC), 3D animation, and, most importantly, video editing and coloring on a Mac are all about to become different experiences—the new M2 series has already outpaced its predecessors, inching closer to Intel’s own higher-octane fare, as well as the prosumer end of brands like AMD.
Apple has earned a reputation for style and usability over the years, often at the cost of a more powerful computer overall. Now, that gap may actually be coming to a close. While Apple still has some way to go to meet high-end CPUs from Intel and AMD, they’re certainly getting close.
There’s a lot for Apple fanatics to look forward to, especially those working in the film industry, even though some industry editors are a bit unhappy. But more on that a bit later.
What’s Coming for the M2 Series
Details on all of the above have been trickling in over the last couple of weeks, and many believe that these announcements will come to light officially during Apple’s upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). Here’s what we expect to see on the virtual showroom floor.
The M2 MacBook Air (J413)
The all-new MacBook Air will offer the convenient, lightweight, portable laptop we all know and love, now with more horsepower than ever before. Thanks to the M2 chip, you’ll be able to go further with your little Air without lapses in performance. It’ll be interesting to see how the more powerful chips handle a laptop that’s passively cooled.
If you’ve ever caught yourself comparing MacBook Airs to competitor products like Chromebooks, you’ll be in for a surprise. These new models stand strong against many mid-range PCs, all within a profile that you can whip out comfortably on a plane.
Two M2 Mac minis (J473 and J474)
These Mac mini releases will come in two flavors—one with the same M2 processor as the M2 MacBook Air, and one with the M2 Pro. They’ll be the perfect mid-range options for those straddling the line between a consumer and professional set-up.
More Than One M2 MacBook Pro (J493, J414, and J416)
The new MacBook Pro series is probably what most filmmakers are looking forward to this summer—a base model MacBook Pro featuring the same M2 chip described above, two 14-inch MacBook Pros with the M2 Pro chip and the M2 Max, and two 16-inch MacBook Pros, also utilizing both the M2 Pro and M2 Max.
The M2 Max looks like it’s going to be a total game-changer for anybody in post-production. With 64 gigs of memory? You’ll be batch rendering troves of footage faster and more reliably than ever.
If you work frequently on the road, these new superstars will be must-haves for any Mac-based workflow.
The M2 Mac Pro (J180)
Finally, the Mac Pro with Apple Silicon will be the ultimate base of operations for Apple filmmakers who work from a studio, suite, or any type of office space in their homes. The new workstation will include a direct successor to the critically-acclaimed M1 Ultra used in the recently-released Mac Studio. How this will compare to the high-end Intel-based Mac Pros remains to be seen.
Those in need of every ounce of power will find everything they need here. A 24-core CPU and up to 64 GPU cores will help creatives overcome most, if not all, barriers to productivity.
Gurman also speculated that Apple could be releasing the Mac Pro with what he called the M2 Extreme—a 48-core CPU and up to 128 cores in its GPU. If that is truly the case, the speeds will be intense, to say the least.
2023, we’ll be waiting with bated breath. You already have our hearts.
What Does the New M2 Series Mean for Filmmakers?
It’s about to be one hell of a year for anybody working in post.
These new Apple computers are all expected to be released between the coming months and early 2023. Mostly, we’re hoping that Apple takes this opportunity to improve the way its wares can be used within our industry.
Of course, one of the most contentious aspects of a Mac-based workflow has got to be the use of Final Cut Pro over something like Adobe Premiere. It’s an Apple exclusive, and tons of editors think it just doesn’t get the love it deserves.
A more powerful processor can and should open the door to a more focused approach for Apple filmmakers. Many hope that these new hardware components will set the stage for a renewed interest in a Final Cut Pro workflow and a stronger relationship between Apple’s masterminds behind the scenes and the world of cinema.
FCPX used to be on par with Avid, but the years haven’t been kind to the Mac-only NLE. Hopefully, the new features, long-awaited improvements, and a smoother workflow overall may very well be in the cards if these pleas fall upon the right set of ears.
The Apple News We’ve Been Waiting to Hear
It’s been nearly two years since Apple released the original M1 computer chip. These new releases are certainly a sight for sore eyes. We’ll be glued to our computers come June to soak up all the salient details to come.
Most experts believe that the brand is hoping to perfect the entire M2 series before any of these new Macs and MacBooks become available to the public. We’ll have much more information after WWDC. The anticipation is real—consumers, prosumers, and master film editors and animators can all expect big things ahead.