A rumored 32-core Apple M1 successor could outperform Intel's high-end processors

Macbook Air M1
Macbook Air M1 (Image credit: Daniel Bader / Windows Central)

Macbook Air M1

Source: Daniel Bader / iMore (Image credit: Source: Daniel Bader / iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple is said to have new Apple silicon in the works for Macs that could launch next year.
  • At least one new iMac, MacBook Pro, and Mac Pro are said to be in the offering.
  • The rumored new chips might outperform Intel's high-end processors.

Apple is working on new, high-performance M1 successors that will be used in at least one new iMac, a MacBook Pro, and a new Mac Pro. That's according to a new report by Bloomberg. The new processors from Apple will reportedly outperform high-end chips from Intel.

Citing people familiar with Apple's plans but unwilling to be named, Bloomberg's report says that entry-level and high-end iMacs are coming as well as upgraded versions of the MacBook Pro. A revised version of Apple's workstation-class Mac Pro is also expected. Bloomberg states:

Apple's M1 chip was unveiled in a new entry-level MacBook Pro laptop, a refreshed Mac mini desktop and across the MacBook Air range. The company's next series of chips, planned for release as early as the spring and later in the fall, are destined to be placed across upgraded versions of the MacBook Pro, both entry-level and high-end iMac desktops, and later a new Mac Pro workstation, the people said.

A 2021 launch is expected for all of these new machines, although some will have to wait until some time towards the end of the calendar year. It should be worth the wait though, with some machines set to ship with as many as 32 cores. Bloomerg outlines some reported plans:

For higher-end desktop computers, planned for later in 2021 and a new half-sized Mac Pro planned to launch by 2022, Apple is testing a chip design with as many as 32 high-performance cores.

It isn't just the CPU that will be getting a core boost, either. Bloomberg says that Apple engineers are working to improve the GPU performance of Apple silicon by going as far as 32 GPU cores, too. Per Bloomberg:

Apple engineers are also developing more ambitious graphics processors. Today's M1 processors are offered with a custom Apple graphics engine that comes in either 7- or 8-core variations. For its future high-end laptops and mid-range desktops, Apple is testing 16-core and 32-core graphics parts.

Seemingly just doubling and quadrupling numbers, the same report goes on to say that 2022 could even see 128-core chips coming out of Apple's chip teams.

Apple's M1 chips, found in the fanless MacBook Air among other entry-level devices, already give some very costly Macs a run for their money. In addition to pressuring Intel-based devices running macOS, Apple's new silicon places pressure on Windows 10 on ARM devices. Apple's offering appears to outperform Qualcomm's ARM-based PCs by a significant margin. Someone even managed to get Windows 10 on ARM onto an Apple M1 chip, which allegedly outperformed the operating system on the Surface Pro X.

If Apple's rumored chips outperform Intel's offerings in the high-end computing space, there's a chance that Apple-made processors would lead the chip race for phones, tablets, laptops, and desktops.

41 Comments
  • Poor Intel can't catch a break. With AMD eating their lunch on the high end and encroaching on laptops now, and AMD/Apple making plays from the bottom, they have their work cut out for them. Still, they have a market cap of north of $200 billion. The future will be fun to watch. Hopefully they can innovate and consumers end up the big winners from the competition.
  • I would add poor Windows and poor MSFT, the Windows's days in consumers' market are numbered
  • We will see in two or three years which is the market share of arm macs. I bet it won't be much different from the x86's macs now. The rest... you already know.
  • You coul be rigth, even in mobile market Apple's share is about 15/20% and Android has 80% of the market but Apple gets 90% of the profit. This could be the final outcome for notebook and desktop market, Apple gets all the profit since it destroys competition in high end market (the one where you find XPS, Spectre, Thinkpad and Surface)
  • I wish Apple fans would quit it with the propaganda. 1. Apple gets 90% of the smartphone profit? Explain how Samsung had 35% of it last quarter. And that is even if you accept how the analysts calculate this metric: I remember back when these folks somehow claimed that Apple was making 105% of the profit. 2. Apple does not "destroy the competition in the high end." HP, Dell and Lenovo all individually sell more Intel Core i5, i7 and i9 than Apple does. Look, Apple had 6% market share in 2019. (Only 1.5 million more Macs sold last year than CHROMEBOOKS. This year Chromebook sales will exceed Mac sales by a comfortable margin.) There are some quarters where it drops below 5%. HP, Dell and Lenovo sell more PCs to enterprises alone. Not only do far more enterprise laptops sell than Macs, but far more gaming laptops too. That you are even listing Surface on here proves that Apple people don't follow the market. The Surface division makes - what - $2 billion a quarter? Or is it up to $3 billion now? That is why Microsoft appears in the "other" section of the IDC, Gartner, Canalys etc. analysts - along with the likes of MSI, Razer and Samsung - and why they don't report sales figures.
  • Surface revenue was 1.5 billion last quarter while Mac was 9 billion. Surface prices start at quite a bit less than a Mac, if Apple released a $600 Macbook, it could devastate Windows. A $599 base MacBook with the M1 would be huge.
  • Yeah exactly. They're simply to expensive for most.
  • I have to disagree unless apple sell macs for £200 to £500 windows will still be the best seller.
  • Windows crushes Apple for the $1000+ USD segment too. I have no idea where the notion comes from that Windows-based graphic designers, software engineers, architects, CAD/CAM professionals, analysts, data scientists, system administrators etc. are puttering along with $500 Intel Core i3 web surfing netbooks.
  • And what exactly will consumers buy if they want a laptop and don't have a grand? Windows days are numbered ha ha. Come on think about it.
  • It is up to Apple, if they wanted to disrupt the market I think they could sell a Mac at $/€ 500/600 without any problem.
  • The same Intel Core i3 that is in a $999 MacBook Air or $799 Mac Mini are in Wintel devices that cost less than half as much. Meaning that Apple could have been selling $500 Macs already. Plus, haven't you forgotten? The Mac Mini not long ago started at $399 and then went up to $499. They didn't sell. Nobody bought them but Apple fans - not Windows switchers as intended - and they were undercutting the sales of Apple's more expensive devices. (The same thing that happens whenever Apple decides to issue an iPhone SE). So Apple jacked up the price to $799. The idea that if Apple competed on price that more Windows and Android people would switch over has always been a delusion. Far more $700+ Android devices than iPhones sell each year, and many times more $799+ and $999+ Windows desktops and laptops than Macs and MacBooks sell each year.
  • Desktops don't sell regardless. A $600 MacBook would be huge.
  • Good grief. Look at the number of Windows 10 Pro licenses that get sold each year. Do you honestly think that Windows 10 Pro gets used on Intel Core i3 machines? The number of $1000+ Wintel laptops crushes the macOS market share.
  • Despite MS efforts, that is still unlikely. I mean its pretty much already Windows computers are not often used for consumption anyways. That has been replaced by smartphones years ago. But what Microsoft needs more effort is for further ARM support and optimization. Also improve their emulation even better, since it seems like Apple already surpassed them in this regard. They have to work with Qualcomm or even ARM as a whole to have more optimal emulation stack for ARM and collaborate designing ARM for x86-64 emulation. It seems that Apple did the hardware-based emulation for their M1 SoCs, but as usual that is proprietary for M1 and Rosetta 2.
  • Let Intel die!
  • Disagree. They need to innovate. Competition is good for the market. Intel has been too slow to innovate as the market leader. But this was true during the Athlon days as well. An Intel death would be bad.
  • Nope they have to innovate. If they die, we consumers loose as it will just create less competition. AMD become this great lately due to trying to compete with Intel, and it paid off. While Intel surpassed due to being complacent. Also, realistically, it is pretty much impossible for Intel to die, at least not after few decades. Intel is still big in enterprise and high computing industry. Also they also make other stuff as well. They make chipsets for other equipment and devices. They are more diversified than you think.
  • Apple has less than 10% of the PC market. The M1 makes no difference to that.
  • It all comes down to Apple's interest in making a computer 'for the rest of us'. I believe they could triple that share with 13 inch MacBook Airs at $699. 15 inch MacBook Airs for $899. I'm still leaving room for them to have profits. It's just that since they make the chips they can afford the price drop. As long as Tim Cook is in charge that will never happen. By the way, I used Apple products exclusively for 29 years. I only switched to PC alongside Windows 10. I enjoy the PC world because I can fill my house with PCs whereas with Macs it was one for me and one for my wife. I hear the iSheep say 'I love my Mac!' like brainwashed drones -- and I like to say, "Of course you do... since you can only afford one computer.' We have 4 PCs that together cost just over $2000. These words are being typed on a Beelink GK55 Mini PC attached to my flatscreen living room PC. The teeny tiny Celeron chip runs at 2Ghz base speed and is PLENTY fast for the simple chores I offer it. It cost me $179 taxed and shipped from China. But the truth is Mac OS is superior product. But the price has to still come down to bring more into the fold. What I don't miss at all is iPhone. Completely over-rated over-priced junk. Marques Brownlee just did a blind camera comparison test on the web. Both Samsung and Apple cameras failed the test. The iPhone lost to OnePlus in the first round! The winning phone was an Android phone almost no one buys.
  • Agreed they could probably quite easily increase their market share with $699 laptops but this would introduce three problems: 1. They've spent the pat 30 years telling us to get a reliable PC you just have to spend a grand o it. It's BS but that's the snake oil they've been selling. 2. It would likely introduce a level of reliability issues Windows laptops face and Apple's brand would be tarnished. 3. Apple considers the $699 MacBook an iPad. Again it's BS but that's the snake oil they've been selling.
  • "2. It would likely introduce a level of reliability issues Windows laptops face and Apple's brand would be tarnished." One of the best kept secrets is that Apple stuff isn't reliable. Aren't they replacing a bunch of iPhone screens right now that partially fail? Didn't they have reliably unreliable keyboards on MacBooks for 3-4 years before they bothered to fix them? I've had mostly Asus equipment. No failures. The stuff is half the price of Mac (or even less).
  • ^^ This x1000. How can you have such a small market share and a filled Genius Bar schedule? For such a limited user base, I haven't seen so many issues. I have an old MBP that I retired a few years back, and I have friends that have MacBooks. They brag on them, but every one of them has turned them in for some type of repair or replacement.
  • Apple sells hundreds of millions of iPhones every year, that is likely why the Genius Bar is busy. I can almost guarantee it isn't full of people with MacBook hardware issues.
  • Have you used Asus tech support or warranty service? You better hope nothing fails. I shy away from their stuff now, although I do like their PC components.
  • "I believe they could triple that share with 13 inch MacBook Airs at $699. 15 inch MacBook Airs for $899." I believe that you are wrong. What a lot of Apple people do not seem to understand is that people actually like Windows (and Android). If they didn't, they wouldn't buy it. They would use something else. Proof of this: the Windows 8 debacle. People hated it. They refused to buy Windows 8 devices and sought out alternatives: tablets running iOS and Android, some migrated to Apple, some gave ChromeOS a shot, some even tried LINUX. But as soon as Windows 10 came out, Windows market share shot back up again. It doesn't matter how great Apple products are if people like the alternatives that they are already using and have no need to switch. Apple fans call this "Apple hating" but in reality it is: "this is easy to use, it runs all the software that I need so why bother with anything else?" More proof still: Apple tried this already. For years they had the entry level Mac Mini at $399 and then for $499. No one bought it but Apple fans who used them as HTPCs, to string them together in parallel/mount them on racks to make servers and other DiY stuff. OR they would start with a Mac Mini, put CRAZY upgrades in them (max out the memory and connect eGPUs) and basically have themselves a Mac Pro for tens of thousands cheaper. Apple put a stop to the latter in particular by increasing the starting price to $799 and making them far more difficult to upgrade yourself. So long as Windows continues to be a good product that people like using, they are going to be fine regardless of what Apple does. Windows MAY get some competition from ChromeOS due to kids who grow up using it at school wanting to continue with them when they enter the workforce. But even that is nowhere near an existential threat. It would merely reduce the Windows market share from 3Qs 80% - and this was the best quarter for Mac AND ChromeOS sales IN HISTORY to 65% - assuming both ChromeOS and M1 Macs gain traction and add market share - or something. Oh yeah, and even there, since all the companies who make Chromebooks also make Windows PCs - they have literally started shipping the same hardware with both Windows and ChromeOS running on it - that is even less of a reason for Windows, Intel and their OEMs to be "doomed." HP - for example - can go from making 30 million Wintel devices a year to 20 million Wintel devices and 10 million Chromebooks (right now mostly Intel also) and it would be fine for all parties involved.
  • I had to stop reading early because of this -- "I believe that you are wrong. What a lot of Apple people do not seem to understand is that people actually like Windows. If they didn't, they wouldn't buy it." I removed Android because it's a different topic. You say 'people' actually like Windows. Some do. Gamers being a large group. But you act like price has nothing to do with anything. That 'people' like Windows. They don't. They like the options Windows PCs offer them -- YES -- but they don't love Windows itself. I can't find the quote but Panos Panay of MS suggested that he doesn't want users "stuck" with Windows but "wanting/loving" Windows. Horse's mouth. Thanks to M1 Microsoft is left with little choice but to polish the OS. Not with a new icon here and a useless 'gimmick' feature there. Believe you me: if Mac OS was licensed to OEMs... Mac share would explode. Even on Intel/AMD.
  • Yeah, most people actually indifferent to Windows. Few only really genuinely like it and those people can justify using Windows. Most are just because it came with the PC and familiar with it. Since most people do things over the web browser, they can switch to another OS and as long it performs the way they want even with some different UI, they can adapt. Of course, there are some won't at all. I mean there are more people using Windows, but some still decided to switch to Mac, which has a different UX than Windows for instance no Start menu and window management behaves quite differently. But the different isn't drastic enough that users can adapt, even casual ones. Microsoft indeed even recognize it, at least Panos Panay that he wants users to want/love Windows. Because currently, Windows is simply an OS with the PC people buys. There are people do complain about the issues with Windows, or at least blame something wrong with their PC.
  • If the corporation gives you a Windows laptop it doesn't mean you love it. If the corporation doesn't want to bother with your lower productivity while learning Windows 8 it doesn't mean that you have a choice. Unfortunately that's the most frequent use case of Windows.
  • Apple can't compete graphically with their GPU unless they make dedicated GPU silicon. Integrating GPU silicon with CPU silicon like on an iPhone will only go so far in terms of performance. Even if they pull off having dedicated hardware, there is no way it will be user upgradable - it would compromise how thin it can be. Who wants a high performance, professional computer like that? I had my time with a Mac Pro, got abandoned like everyone else. Never again.
  • I don't know if this is even possible but I wonder if Apple intends to sell their silicon to ARM PCs? That the goal isn't just to bring more users into the Mac world but eliminate Intel as an option altogether?
  • I don’t think Apple will do that. Their focus is getting customers into their eco system. By handing out M1 to others, they would lose a huge incentive to switch over.
    But I wonder if they will start using M1 for their own servers. It would mean a massive energy saving and excellent distributed performance.
  • Nice to know. But until Apple offer something more versatile than a clamshell laptop I'll stick with my excellent Surface Pro X. Raw power isn't everything.
  • Honestly curious. I get the form factor druthers of the Surface over a clamshell, but what is the Surface Pro X doing for you that a Surface Pro wouldn't.
  • I love that it is fanless and therefore silent. This is something I really appreciate when I switch my work laptop on! Also fans clog up, which leads to additional throttling over time.
  • This will be interesting take how the industry will get influenced by this. Since Apple M1 is only for Macs anyways, it doesn't directly affect PC market (Windows specifically). But it should still cause some rift especially for people needing performance for their work and don't mine switching to different OS as long as their apps works with it. Mac Pro having successor to M1 SoC would be interesting take here. Since Mac Pro is also about modularity and upgradability, though not the same extent as the Windows desktop PC does. I wonder if they will ditch that modularity and standardized components, or with the next gen M SoC supports more 3rd party components.
    Because if Apple successor to M1 supports 3rd party components with Mac Pro. Hopefully that should push Qualcomm and ARM as a whole to do as well, making it a viable processor to be used for desktop PC with upgradable/replaceable components as well. Considering NVIDIA bought ARM holdings, maybe that could lead for ARM SoCs to support NVIDA GPUs, maybe hopefully AMR as well. At the moment, ARM devices are pretty much appliance device with all integrated and soldered components. We can't upgrade them or easily replace parts. I want to see the industry to change that. Apple going to use M series SoC for their Mac Pro can be a game changing in the industry for high-end computing. Making ARM SoCs more than just a mobile processor and be used for heavy productivity workloads. Their SoC already showed raw performance on benchmarks, even this early, but for Mac Pro that will just solidify its push. Indirectly this will help Microsoft as well to push ARM PCs. But the missing puzzle is how Qualcomm will compete with that. Microsoft also needs to work with ARM designs to further optimize their emulation down to the hardware level. It seems thats what Apple did with their M1 and Rosetta, which is why suprisingly their emulation works surpsingly great for gen 1. Not perfect but is already feels more polished.
  • To compete with Intel, Apple must release their CPUs not only on their laptops. Until then - all comparisons are not worth a damn.
  • You must think all Intel desktops are beasts, and hadn't noticed the M1 Mac Mini. Yes a Mac Mini is a desktop. It just doesn't take up much desktop space, or need to be under the desk. I'd put it up against the comparable i5 Intel NUC any day.
  • Okay so i read that the m1 chip is really good, where is the surface pro x going wrong?
  • Honestly, since Apple's familiar with making ARM chips with phones and tablets, it's no surprise they made a good chip this time around. Intel's Atom CPU is niche market and a small slice between server and tablet. Qualcomm is finally making powerful enough chips for Surface/Windows but it's only incremental upgrades YoY (SD855 vs 845 chips etc). I'd be curious to see a Samsung Exynos CPU or other chip too, to see how it performs. But Windows on ARM is also new too. Maybe it'll take a bit to optimize more.
  • First, they called it "Pro", even though no pro would touch it for heavy lifting. Also, they priced in the stratosphere. A $1500 machine is held to much higher standard than a $700 one. For $699, the Pro X would be awesome, at $1500 it was a joke.