If the hype is true, Apple’s mixed reality headset could be the most powerful AR/VR device on the market, as well as one of the most complex pieces of hardware the company has ever created. A significant portion of that power could come from Apple’s new M2 chip, which was unveiled at WWDC 2022 and promises significant improvements over the tech giant’s previous generation of silicon. The chip will make its debut in the 2022 versions of Apple’s MacBook and MacBook Pro notebooks, which will be available in July.
Apple’s M2 chip has up to 24GB of LPDDR5, an eight-core CPU, a ten-core GPU, and memory bandwidth of 100GB/s. The chip’s 16-core neural engine can perform up to 15.8 trillion operations per second — and the chip in the M2 is said to be 18% more powerful than Apple’s M1 silicon while consuming the same amount of power. The difference is even more noticeable when compared to the Intel chips that Apple previously used in their devices, with performance increases of up to 30% in some cases. Apple claims that their new silicon’s powerful media engine can handle multiple 4K and 8K streams at the same time. This capability may make the M2 ideal for use with AR/VR headsets.
Initial benchmarks for the chip demonstrated that Apple’s claims that the M2 is a significant improvement over the previous generation of Apple Silicon were correct. While Geekbench clocked the M2 as approximately 12% faster than the M1 chip in terms of single-core performance, the multi-score test revealed a 20% improvement with the M2. The GPU chip also improved significantly.
Apple’s latest silicon may be used in their new headset.
According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, the chip’s use will not be limited to notebook computers. According to Gurman, “the latest internal incarnations of the device run the base M2 chip along with 16 gigabytes of RAM.” According to the author, Apple is already working on the chip’s successor, the M3, with the intention of using it in next year’s updated MacBooks. With Apple’s headset reveal scheduled for January, there’s a good chance that their new device will not include Apple’s “latest” silicon when it eventually launches.
That may not be the case. The M2 is already a very powerful chip, and if combined with 16 GB of RAM, as Gurman predicted, it will be by far the most powerful stand-alone headset on the market. This isn’t the first time someone has predicted that Apple will go all out with their first headset’s specs. Ming-Chi Kuo, a well-known Apple analyst, predicted in January that the headset would “require the same level of computing power as the MacBook Pro,” “offer much higher performance than that of the latest iPhones,” and “may feature not just one, but two processors: one 4nm chip and one 5nm chip.”