TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo “strongly believes” that the upcoming MacBook Air redesign will feature an M1 chip, instead of the widely expected “M2” upgrade. Kuo made the comment to 9to5Mac following a tweet where he predicted an “all-new” design for the laptop with more color options and no Mini LED display.
The redesigned MacBook Air had previously been reported to have an M2 chip by Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. Apple can of course decide its own nomenclature for its chips based on marketing reasons, but if the M1 naming scheme follows the A-series chips in iPhones and iPads, the next number up would denote an upgrade in the CPU design. The M1 chips, including the M1 Pro, Max, and the just-announced Ultra, all use various configurations of CPU cores based on what’s found in the iPhone 12’s A14 chip.
An M2, then, would likely use cores derived from the A15 or the presumed A16 in this year’s upcoming iPhones. As for the new MacBook Air, if it did stick with the M1 chip and branding, it could theoretically still offer a performance upgrade by way of including more cores. 7-core- and 8-core-GPU variants of the M1 already exist, and Gurman has reported that Apple is testing an unnamed chip with 8 CPU cores and 10 GPU cores. That could either be the M2 or an upgraded M1.
Kuo expects the new MacBook Air will begin mass production in late Q2 or Q3 this year.