Apple could announce its next generation Apple Silicon-powered Macs as early as this March. According to sources, the new Mac lineup will feature a 12-core Apple Silicon processor. If confirmed, this would be a significant step up from the current 8-core Apple M1 found in MacBook Pros and Mac Airs.
Benchmarks indicate that Apple’s ARM-powered custom silicon holds up well against the Intel competition, even when running x86 apps under Rosetta 2 translation.
However, the 8-core M1 loses out to high-end Ryzen mobile parts in multithreaded workloads since it pairs four performance cores with lower-power “efficiency” cores. A 12-core M2 variant could help make up for the multithreaded deficit, though it remains to be seen how it will hold up relative to Zen 3-based mobile parts.
The current Apple M1 is built on the 5nm process, and with so little time before the M2 announcement, it’s highly unlikely that Apple will make another jump in lithography. This means that, unless battery capacity is beefed up, the 12-core M2 could impact battery life.