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New Apple M2 chip could come sooner than expected, says new rumor

Apple’s next laptops are a hot topic in rumor circles after the impressive performance of its latest MacBook Pro. Now, a new Chinese-language rumor from Commercial Times suggests that Apple’s next-generation M2 processors could come on a bit of a different schedule from what we’ve been expecting.

According to the publication, Apple could possibly end up launching its M2 processors in new Macs by the second half of 2022. Citing supply chain industry sources, it’s believed that the Apple M2 chip is currently code-named Staten, and a higher-end M2 Pro and M2 Max chip are code-named Rhodes.

Board concept of Apple M2.

Though the M2 chip is the one that’s rumored to come in the second half of the year, the more high-end M2 Pro and M2 Max could also be coming in 2023. Both chips could have an 18-month support cycle, which is similar to what Apple has done with the SoC in the iPad Pro.

Apple is also apparently targeting using the 4-nanometer fabrication process with these chips, for higher efficiency. That’d be a change from the current 5-nanometer technology onboard the M1 and the new M1 Pro and M1 Max chips released back in October.

Though Commercial Times doesn’t have the best track record with rumors, and Digital Trends can’t verify the original report, there are some additional doubts. This is because the release schedule goes against Apple’s own projected product cycle. In 2020, Apple previously committed to transitioning all Macs to its own custom silicon within two years.

The 2023 period falls outside of that time frame and leaves questions on what will happen to higher-end Intel Macs like the iMac and Mac Pro. These have yet to be updated to Apple’s own silicon chips but are expected to make the transition by the end of 2022, which goes against the timing in the Commercial Times report. As for more consumer-focused devices, Apple is expected to launch new MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models with M2 processors, potentially as soon as 2022. A previous report from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman supported this idea.

Apple is already fresh off the launch of  M1 Pro and M1 Max processors. These both came towards the end of this year, in October. Of course, with the pandemic still impacting the supply of critical components needed for processors, it’s truly unknown what might happen with the M2 processor. There’s always the chance Apple could simply not end up launching the chip at all, and rather refresh the design of Macs without a new chip.

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