Apple execs on M2 chips, winning gamers and when to buy a Mac • TechCrunch


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Apple’s M series chips were incredibly well telegraphed when they arrived in late 2020. Apple had been designing its own silicon since the A4 appeared in the iPhone 4 just over a decade earlier. The appearance of Apple’s in-house efforts in the Mac was really just a question of when, not if.

When the M1 came, it landed with a resonating bang. In addition to being genuinely noticeably faster, the chips were seen as a big step forward for portable computing because of their shockingly improved “performance per watt” that allowed for full-speed processing while on battery power with increased usage times.

Over the past few months, Apple has launched the next iteration of the M line, including this year’s M2 MacBook Pro and Mac mini models — officially denoting this as an ongoing series rather than a one-off leap. With confirmed 20% improvements in CPU and 30% in GPU performance in under 2 years and a really aggressive entry price point, the M2 adds to Apple’s lead in portable chipsets.

I was able to spend a bit of time talking to Apple’s vice president of Platform Architecture and Hardware Technologies Tim Millet, as well as VP of Worldwide Product Marketing Bob Borchers, about the impact of the M chips so far, how they see the line developing over time and a bit about gaming too.

Resetting the baseline

“A lot of it comes down to the people and the talent on Tim’s team,” says Borchers, “but I think a lot of it also comes down to the way that we’ve approached designing Apple silicon from the very beginning.”

Millet has been building chips for 30 years and has been at Apple for nearly 17. He says that with M1, Apple saw an opportunity to “really hit it.”

“The opportunity we had with M1 the way I looked at it, it was about resetting the baseline.”

When their desktop computing and laptop computing pipeline was essentially controlled by the third-party merchants and silicon vendors, it didn’t really allow for Apple to push the bar closer to the limits of technology.

This need to own and “reset” the baseline of portable performance in computing coalesced around the time that Apple started working on the iPad Pro. They had been building chips…