With the release of the Apple M1 chip in late 2020, new Apple products have been rolling out with the new in-house silicon, including the new iMac, MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and the new Mac Mini. The new ARM-based SoC has been a huge success for Apple, so we are all waiting to hear about the next generation of Apple Silicon, the Apple M1X chip.
There hasn’t been an official announcement from Apple about the next-generation silicon, so all we have at this point are rumors and speculation, but there are some things we can guess from past experience and what we know about where Apple wants to take their products in the near future, and also what we know based on the ARM architecture that Apple is using for their chips.
Apple made some pretty bold claims about its M1 chip that might not have fully panned out in the end, but it is still an undeniably powerful processor that has a lot of improvements over the Intel chips that Apple had been using previously.
With the Apple M1X chip, we’re hoping to see more of the performance gains that the original Apple M1 chip promised. Like the M1, the M1X chip will feature the big.LITTLE design of ARM chip, with a mix of efficiency cores and performance cores to better manage CPU utilization.
While eight cores are standard for most flagship processors, the ARM architecture allows for some flexibility here, and the SoC design paradigm adds in a GPU as well. The new M1X chip will almost certainly include Thunderbolt support, just like its predecessor, and may even take advantage of DDR5 and PCIe 4.0, meaning faster memory and SSD access speeds over the M1.
The 16-inch MacBook Pro will likely need a more powerful CPU than the M1, so we expect to see the M1X chip introduced with the newest MacBook Pro model later this year, so we won’t have long to wait to learn more about this next-gen chip. There are also rumors of a 14-inch MacBook Pro that could be powered by an M1X chip as well.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? Apple’s latest ARM-based silicon for new MacBooks, Macs, and iPad Pros
- When is it out? New Macs running on the M1X should be available later this year
Apple M1X release date
The Apple M1X won’t be available on its own, so its availability is tied to the release dates of the MacBooks, Macs, and iPad Pro models that run on the new chip. We expect the first of these to be the new 16-inch MacBook Pro, which is due for a refresh later this year.
We also expect to see the new M1X chip in 27-inch iMac Pro desktops, which might be available as early as late 2021, though it’s more likely we’ll see these in 2022. The new iPad Pro running on the M1 chip was just announced in April 2021, so we shouldn’t expect to see the new M1X chip in an iPad Pro model until the next generation iPad is released in 2022.