Apple’s 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models are powerful laptops with a long battery life. But the next generation could get even better processing speed and battery life, thanks to M2 Pro chips that could be the first in Apple’s lineup built with the 3nm process.
According to the Commercial Times in Taiwan, the company that makes Apple’s chips, TSMC, will start making 3nm chips for Apple by the end of this year. (Previously, the Commercial Times reported that production would begin in late September.) Apple’s first 3nm chip may be the M2 Pro (and presumably the M2 Max), followed later in 2023 by the A17. Ultimately, the M3 and subsequent Apple chips will use the 3nm process.
In July, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported that Apple will update its 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro laptops with an M2 Pro and M2 Max, both with a 12-core CPU. The GPU cores could jump to 18 and 20 cores in the M2 Pro and 30 and 38 cores in the M2 Max. Gurman also reported that these laptops could become available this fall, but the Commercial Times report makes it more likely that they will ship in the early part of 2023.
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has reported that Apple is working on a 15-inch laptop that would use an M2, with an option for an M2 Pro. This laptop, which Mark Gurman has reported as a MacBook Air, may not be available until the second half of 2023.
Gurman has also reported that Apple is working on an M2 Pro Mac mini to replace the $1,099 Intel-based Mac mini that the company still sells. The current M1 Mac mini could be upgraded to the M2 chip, which was introduced with the MacBook Air and the 13-inch MacBook Pro.
The 3nm process shrinks the die from the current 5nm used in the M2, M1 and other chips. That Shrink results in faster performance, so we could see a better-than-usual speed increase from the M1 Pro to the M2 Pro. Die-shrink also promotes better energy efficiency, which means longer battery life in laptops. If TMSC’s production schedule holds up, the M2 Pro could be the first 3nm processor used in a computer — Intel’s 3nm chips aren’t expected until the second half of 2023, with chips from AMD and others to follow.