Apple M1 follow-up could help MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021) crush x86 competition

MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)
(Image credit: Future)

Apple’s transition to custom ARM silicon began this month with the launch of the new MacBook Air. While still in its first iteration, the Apple M1 is already setting records in terms of performance and battery life. New leaks suggest that its successor will be way more powerful and not too far.

Apple’s move to in-house system-on-chips was long coming, as it did not want to rely on Intel’s pace of innovation, along with a higher degree of control and optimization. Its iPhones and iPads have been doing this for years.

With a strong first impression with the M1 in two laptops, the MacBook Air and the 13-inch MacBook Pro, Apple is reported to take things further with its next custom platform - the M1X.

The information comes from LeaksApplePro on Twitter, an account with a decent track record for all things Apple. Citing an insider who used a prototype, the next chipset from Cupertino could be called the Apple M1X. It will supposedly debut on the next 16-inch MacBook Pro in 2021.

More interestingly, it is claimed to move to a 12-core configuration with eight high-performance cores and four for efficiency. The leak also mentions “if you think M1 is fast, you haven’t seen M1X”.

The MacBook Pro with 16-inch display is the top-of-the-line flagship laptop that Apple currently sells. Originally introduced in 2019, it is yet to get a successor and is due for a refresh. The move to a significantly powerful SoC might just be the upgrade Apple had been waiting for. It also makes sense to have its best chipset reserved for its best laptop.

The current Apple M1 is seen on the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro 13-inch. The performance difference between the two seems to be marginal, presumably due to the better thermal management brought by a cooling fan. With the MacBook Pro 16-inch having more physical space on the inside, Apple should be able to push it farther without throttling.

No other information was shared around the design or launch date. The source does claim that it will be unveiled as a press release, which could imply that there will be no major event for Apple’s next major laptop announcement. As always, take this preliminary information with a grain of salt as we have no other source to verify this information. Things should get clearer in the coming months though.

Aakash Jhaveri

Aakash is the engine that keeps TechRadar India running, using his experience and ideas to help consumers get to the right products via reviews, buying guides and explainers. Apart from phones, computers and cameras, he is obsessed with electric vehicles.