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What Is An M2 Mac? Questions & Answers On The M2 Chip

If you’re wondering what exactly is the M2 chip in the latest Macs, here we’ve taken a closer look at the latest Apple Silicon chip in the new M2 MacBook Pro and M2 MacBook Air.

The latest M2 MacBook Air is available for ordering from July 8th 5 a.m PDT 2022 with the first arrivals expected to arrive with customers on July 15th 2022.

It’s not the first M2 Mac to be ready for order though as that was the M2 MacBook Pro which has been available for order since June 17th 2022.

If you’re not sure what the M2 Mac is or what all the fuss is about, here we’ve answered a few questions about the new Apple Silicon M2 chip Macs.

What Is An M2 Mac?

The M2 chip is an evolution of the revolutionary Apple Silicon M1 chip released back in 2020.

The M2 is the next development of Apple Silicon which is Apple’s own System on a Chip (SoC) that replaced Intel chips and is now used in al new Macs (and iPads) such as the M1 MacBook Pro and Mac Studio.

Apple Silicon unifies components such as the CPU, GPU, RAM, Neural Engine, Secure Enclave, SSD controller and Thunderbolt controller to engineer a far faster and more efficient Mac than the previous generation of Intel Macs.

From an engineering perspective, the M2 chip is built using enhanced, second-generation 5-nanometer technology and consists of 20 billion transistors which is 25% more than the M1 chip.

Apple claims this makes the basic M2 chip CPU is 18% faster than the basic M1 chip with a 35% faster GPU and 40% faster Neural Engine.

m2 macbook air

Do M2 Macs Have A Longer Battery Life?

The battery in the 13 inch M2 MacBook Pro lasts up to 20 hours and the battery in the M2 MacBook Air lasts up to 18 hours depending on usage and conditions.

This makes M2 MacBooks even more battery efficient than M1 MacBooks giving a few hours more battery life than the M1 MacBook models.

Will Intel Apps Still Run On M2 Macs?

As with M1 Macs, you can still use most Intel apps on M2 Macs thanks to Rosetta in macOS which translates Intel apps on the fly to work with Apple Silicon M1 and M2 Macs.

The performance isn’t quite as good in some cases, especially with specialist graphic intensive applications but for most apps Rosetta works pretty well.

Can You Run iOS Apps On M2 Macs?

One of the great things about Apple Silicon Macs such as the M1 and M2 Macs is that they can run iPad and iPhone apps too.

However, this is dependent on the developers allowing this feature in the Mac App Store and many choose not to due to performance or commercial issues.

Apple has also taken steps to block this so called “side-loading” of apps onto Macs in more recent updates to macOS. You can read more on running iOS apps on Mac here.

Can You Run Windows On M2 Macs?

You can run Windows on M1 and M2 Macs but currently, only the Windows ARM version works on them, not the standard x86 version that most people use and are familiar with.

Windows ARM is very similar in looks and the way it operates but the problem is not all applications and games are compatible with it.

Note that you can’t install Windows on M2 Macs with Boot Camp as Boot Camp does not exist for Apple Silicon Macs.

You can find more on how to run Windows on M2 Macs here.

Can You Connect External Monitors To M2 Macs?

Like the original MacBooks with the basic M1 Chip, the M2 MacBook Air and M2 MacBook Pro can only officially support one external monitor.

This was a major frustration for Mac users that bought the original M1 Macs and unfortunately it seems it’s the same limitation on the M2 chip.

This limitation does not exist on the M1 Pro, Max and Ultra chips however and Apple will eventually release an M2 Pro, Max and probably an Ultra chip that will support more than one external display.

There are also still some ways to connect multiple monitors to M2 Macs if this is a major problem for you.

Can You Use eGPUs With M2 Macs?

Like the M1 chip, the M2 chip is incompatible with eGPUs so you can’t use an eGPU with an M2 Mac.

Will There Be M2 Pro, M2 Max and M2 Ultra Macs?

Apple is working on an M2 Pro and M2 Max chip.

The M2 Max will have a 12-core CPU compared to 10-core in the ‌M1 Max‌ and a 38-core GPU compared to a 32-core GPU in the M1 Max.

There is no word on an M2 Ultra chip yet like the M1 Ultra available in the Mac Studio but it’s reasonable to assume that one will be released and could have 64 or 96 cores.

How Much Is The M2 MacBook Air?

The M2 MacBook Air starts at $1,199 in the USA and £1,249 in the U.K which is the base model with 8‑Core CPU and 8‑Core GPU, 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD.

You can check out the full specs of the M2 MacBook Air here.

How Much Is The M2 MacBook Pro?

The 13-inch M2 MacBook Pro starts at $1,299 which is the cheapest MacBook Pro Apple has ever released.

This is significantly cheaper than the 14-inch MacBook Pro M1 which starts at $1,999 although of course, it’s a slightly smaller screen.

If you’re thinking of getting one with the intention of increasing the screen estate with an external monitor, remember that the M2 chip can only support one external display although there are workarounds.

m2 macbook pro

Model Apple M2 MacBook Pro 13” Apple M1 MacBook Pro/M1 Max
Memory 8GB / 16GB / 24GB 16GB / 32GB / 64GB (M1 Max only)
Storage 256GB / 512GB / 1TB / 2TB SSD 512GB / 1TB / 2TB / 4TB / 8TB SSD
Display 13.3-inch, 2560 x 1600 Retina display 14.2-inch, 3024 x 1964 Liquid Retina XDR display
Camera 720p FaceTime HD camera 1080p FaceTime HD camera
Speakers Stereo speakers with Spatial Audio support Six-speaker sound system with Spatial Audio support
Keyboard Magic Keyboard with Touch Bar Magic Keyboard with physical function keys
Ports Thunderbolt 4 USB-C (2), headphone jack Thunderbolt 4 USB-C (3), SDXC card slot, HDMI port, headphone jack, MagSafe charging port
Battery life (rated) Up to 20 hours Up to 17 hours
Size and weight 11.97 x 8.36 x 0.61 inches, 3 pounds 12.31 x 8.71 x 0.61 inches, 3.5 pounds

Will There Be An M3 Chip?

There is no official word from Apple on whether an M3 chip is in the pipeline but Bloomberg has reported that an M3 chip may be released in 2023.

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