Apple is testing a whole bunch of new Macs that are powered by its next-gen M2 chip – including a new MacBook Air and multiple MacBook Pro models, according to the laptop grapevine.
This report comes from one of the more reliable sources for Apple spillage, Mark Gurman, who points out in Bloomberg that tapping info in developer logs suggests no fewer than nine possible Macs using different variations of the incoming M2 chip are being tested.
Obviously, take this with a large pinch of your preferred condiment, although Gurman does clarify that as well as the logs in question, he has spoken to inside sources who have corroborated the info. But remember that there are no guarantees here, nor ever with any nuggets from the rumor mill.
Okay, so the main points of interest here are the new MacBooks, starting with the purported MacBook Air (2022), which has long been rumored as coming in an all-new design with the M2 chip. Gurman asserts that this laptop is codenamed J413 and will offer an 8-core M2 CPU (with a 10-core graphics solution).
There’s also an entry-level MacBook Pro with M2 in testing, which will use the same SoC as the Air. And again this refresh of the base 13-inch model has been floated multiple times via the rumor mill.
Further Apple laptops currently in the testing process purportedly include MacBook Pro 14-inch and 16-inch refreshed models with M2 Pro and M2 Max chips, both running with the same core spec. Supposedly the M2 Max is a 12-core SoC with 38-core graphics (notched up from 10 cores and 32 cores respectively in the current M1 Max). These notebooks will come with up to 64GB of system RAM, the report states.
As you might expect, the much-rumored Mac mini (2022) comes into play with this batch of testing too, and the next-gen model supposedly runs with the same spec as the MacBook Air and its M2 chip – but there’s a further Mac mini variant with the M2 Pro inside also in testing.
Interestingly, Apple has supposedly also tested Mac mini machines with an M1 Pro and M1 Max, but Gurman believes these designs won’t come to fruition, and may well be redundant now that the Mac Studio is on the scene.
Finally, Gurman asserts that there’s a Mac Pro which is built on the follow-up chip to the M1 Ultra currently seen in the Mac Studio.
Analysis: Best laid plans might still go awry
Apple prototypes and tests bushels of hardware, and not all of it is picked for store shelves. So there are no guarantees that we’ll see anything like all of the Macs talked about here. That said, Gurman does observe that testing is “far along” in some cases, so presumably some of this hardware is close to being finalized for launch.
The leaker believes that two Macs will come out around the middle of the year, and we’ve heard before from Gurman that we may see these unveiled at WWDC (we’re not so sure, as we’ve discussed previously, but hey, we certainly can’t rule it out).
The theory is that one of those models destined for a WWDC reveal is the redesigned MacBook Air, and in this latest rumor deluge, Gurman again mentions that this is one of the Macs that’ll arrive in 2022, along with the low-end MacBook Pro (13-inch) and Mac mini. We’re looking at 2023 for the others, then, or however many of them make the cut (also interesting to note here is that there’s no mention of any new iMac).
Clearly, we need to stay skeptical around these predictions – and any crystal ball gazing for that matter – and what’s more, there could be disruption to MacBook production that throws these potential timeframes into disarray, or at least might cause a delay. As we heard earlier this week, the current lockdowns in China could have a considerable impact on MacBook manufacturing in particular.