While the “Peek Performance” event seemingly brought the culmination of the M1 lineup with the launch of the M1 Ultra and the last Intel Mac to transition to Apple silicon before the Mac Pro, a new rumor suggests Apple isn’t done with its inaugural Mac chip.
A report from a Twitter account claiming to be owned by Ming-Chi Kuo says Apple’s upcoming MacBook Air revision will stick with the M1 chip rather than jump to the M2 as has previously been reported. He also says the new machine will have an “all-new form factor design” with “more colors,” but won’t have a mini-LED display, all of which matches with current rumors.
Additionally, 9to5Mac reports that Kuo told them he “strongly believes” Apple will use an updated version of the M1 chip instead of putting M2 inside it. If he’s right, that means the MacBook Air would have an M1 processor until 2024 and the roadmap might be much longer than we thought. We have expected Apple to use an 18-month cadence for its Mac silicon, with the M2 arriving later this year and the M2 Pro/M2 Max coming in 2023.
Recycling an M1 chip would be a curious move, especially for a brand new laptop. The MacBook Air was one of the first Macs to transition to Apple silicon, and by the time the new model lands, it will have been at least 18 months between releases, more than enough time for a new chip. After all, the iPhone gets a new A-Series processor every year and it would be strange if the iPhone 14 used the existing A15 chip, even if Apple claimed it was faster.
Since Apple doesn’t divulge clock speeds, an upgraded M1 wouldn’t work either. It would be nearly impossible for Apple to convey how much faster one M1 chip is over another other than adding cores, which would make it a new chip. Apple’s A-Series chips routinely keep the same architecture but increase speeds by 20 percent or so between generations, which is what we expect from the M2.
Kuo’s rumor is the only one that suggests a continuation of the M1 line with the second round of Apple silicon Macs. We’ll have to see if others models join, but for now it makes little sense for Apple to continue using the M1 name.