After introducing the first machines powered by the M1 chip, Apple engineers would already be at the forefront to design much more powerful processors. These would be intended for high-end Macs.
At WWDC, Apple announced that its transition to ARM architecture from Intel would take place over two years. After the MacBook Air, the 13-inch Macbook Pro, and the Mac Mini, there remains the iMac, the iMac Pro, the Mac Pro, and the 16-inch MacBook Pro.
For this second phase, Apple would be testing several chip configurations, in any case the information reported by Bloomberg. Right now, Apple’s products are said to be only 10% of Intel’s revenue. However, Apple’s efforts could turn the PC market upside down. The chips currently under study would be significantly more efficient than the one presented last month. And yet, the first benchmarks of the Apple M1 SoC were very encouraging for Apple.
Apple M1 variants up to 32 CPU cores for the Mac Pro
After the iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch, the M1 chip takes an SoC design designed for mobile devices. It is thus composed of 8 cores, including 4 high performance cores and 4 others to manage energy consumption. But for the next generation of iMac and for the 16-inch MacBook Pro, Apple is reportedly designing chips with 16 high-performance cores accompanied by 4 dedicated cores for power consumption.
Bloomberg learns that Apple can potentially tamper with this design with 8 or 12 cores dedicated to compute processing. These new models would be introduced in the course of next year.
For its Mac Pro, Apple is said to be pushing the limits again and is internally testing a chip configuration made up of 32 cores. Currently, for comparison, on an Intel architecture, the iMac Pro can be configured with an Intel Xeon W with 18 cores. The more expensive Mac Pro offers 28 cores.
The future Mac Pro would be scheduled for 2022, it would also be twice as small. This would be the last configuration to pass under the Apple Silicon.
More powerful GPUs
Apple also intends to optimize the graphics. The objective is to do away with the GPUs currently provided by Nvidia and AMD within machines based on an x86 architecture.
This is again the number of cores that Apple intends to increase. While the current M1 chip has a GPU consisting of 7 or eight cores, engineers are reportedly evaluating GPUs with 16 or 32 cores.
But the firm sees far and would even provide graphics configurations with 64 or 128 cores, from the end of next year or early 2022.
It should be noted in passing that a variant of the M1 chip should make its appearance in an upcoming iPad Pro scheduled for 2021.