Why the Apple M2 Pro processor will be even better than expected [Updated]


Apple might get cutting-edge 3nm processors in 2022
Apple will reportedly be one of the first companies in the world able to offer processors made with a 3nm process.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

Multiple sources say the Apple’s upcoming M2 Pro chip will be made with an enhanced manufacturing process that wasn’t yet available for the recently released M2. That will make Apple’s next processor more efficient than the one in the new MacBook Air.

Even better, the M2 Pro could launch in updated MacBook Pro models before the end of 2022.

Apple Mac chips get back on track

Apple designs Mac processors but TSMC produces them. And the Taiwanese chipmaker has generally been able to shrink the components of Apple’s chips every year or two, allowing them to work faster while generating less heat. That didn’t happen with the M2 though, so the new chip was made with the same 5nm process as the M1 series from 2020.

But Taiwan’s Commercial Times reports that the M2 Pro will be made with a 3nm process. That will make the chip more energy-efficient. And the processor is expected to go into production before the end of 2022. A separate source said essentially the same in June.

And TSMC won’t stop with M2 Pro. “Application processors, as well as M2- and M3-series processors, will be imported into TSMC’s 3nm process,” reports the Commercial Times according to a machine translation. That apparently includes the M2 Max and M2 Ultra.

But nothing is guaranteed. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said August 22 via Twitter, “Given TSMC’s guidance that the 3nm will contribute revenue starting in 1H23, processors of 14″ and 16″ MacBook Pro models may still adopt the 5nm advanced node.”

Get ready for the M2 Pro MacBook Pro

There are a range of Apple Mac processors for a variety of devices, of course. The basic M2 went into the consumer-oriented 2022 MacBook Air. The M2 Pro and Max are for more powerful models.

2021’s M1 Pro and Max are scaled up versions of the original M1, with more CPU and GPU cores. They are the heart of the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro – top-tier macOS notebooks for professionals.

And they’re reportedly about to get better. Upgraded versions with the M2 Pro and Max are coming as early as autumn 2022. They will be nearly the same models first released in 2021 but with the newer processors.

And if the chips are made with TSMC’s 3nm process, they will be more energy efficient than if they’d been made with the original M2’s 5nm one.

Even better, the late-2022 MacBook Pros are just the start. Apple is supposedly testing a Mac Pro running the M2 Ultra. Plus, the A17 chip going into the 2023 iPhone 15 will reportedly be made with the 3nm process.

The article was updated August 22 with the comment from Ming-Chi Kuo from TF International Securities.


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