Apple unveils upgraded silicon and Macs

2 mins read

Apple has unveiled MacBooks that are now powered by its own M2 Pro and M2 Max chips.

In what was a surprise roll-out, the launch follows on from the company’s decision in 2020 to use semiconductors that have been designed in-house rather than relying on Intel technology.

The new Mac mini and new MacBook Pro models have been delayed for a number of months due to on-going supply-chain issues.

The launch took the market by surprise, according to Canalys analyst Runar Bjørhovde. "This is a great way of throwing things around and surprising consumers and competitors.”

According to Apple the M2 Pro has nearly 20% more transistors than the M1 Pro and double the amount in the M2, which it said would help programmes like Adobe Photoshop to run heavy workloads "faster than ever."

Apple, which gets its chips manufactured by TSMC, has now replaced Nvidia as one of the top ten semiconductor vendors by revenue, according to new figures supplied by Gartner.

"We estimate that the value of these (Apple) chips is equivalent to $17.6 billion in 2022. The growth coming from the increased cost of ever more complex chips," said Andrew Norwood, VP Analyst at Gartner.

“Apple’s decades-long journey to design its own chips has proven extremely valuable, with its own silicon now playing a role at the heart of its most successful products,” said Ben Wood, Chief Analyst and CMO at CCS Insight.

“The announcement of the M2 Pro and M2 Max underscore the importance of Apple’s deep investment in silicon and demonstrates how central this approach is to the company’s entire approach to computing.”

According to Wood, “The upgraded Mac mini also signals a change in product approach by Apple when it comes to top-of-the-range desktop products. Historically the iMac Pro was the company’s flagship all-in-one product. Apple now appears to be transitioning to a modular approach with customers encouraged to pair a Mac mini with Apple’s 27-inch Studio Display monitor if they want a similar experience. This provides a more flexible upgrade path for users in future, allowing them to swap out the Mac mini when they need a more powerful computer, rather than having to replace the entire system.”

Wood said that the growing penetration of the iPhone and other Apple products with consumers has seen the appetite for Mac grow “substantially,” with consumers who would have previously gravitated towards a Windows-powered PC now willing to consider a MacBook given their greater familiarity with Apple software and the synergies of having a range of products from the same ecosystem.

“This is undoubtedly a worrying development for PC makers, particularly when they are trading in an unfavourable macroeconomic environment,” he concluded.