M1X & M2 Macs — WTF Leak Bombs?!

Special gross-out, shout-out to Intel for sending out the worst… the worst… M1 clickbait in the form of completely dishonest talking points where they literally bait and switch comparisons over and over again, up to and including putting the ultra-low-power M1 up against a white box Intel configuration that I’m pretty sure isn’t even available to the public. Not only is that the baddest of the bad looks, but in light of the performance differences per watt, it’s just an utter credibility destroyer. And for someone like me, who still uses an Intel Mac, and who wants to see Intel not only survive but thrive again, because that’s what’s best and most competitive for the market, please very kindly stop. It’s embarrassing. Like mom or dad on the lawn in their underwear screaming at clouds embarrassing. Just fix your drama, fix your process, and ship better chips already. Signed, a grateful industry.

Now, look, we’ve gotten used to all the phone leaks. Ever since an iPhone walked into a bar back in 2010, our internet feeds have runneth over with with every stock market manipulation, industry insider report, biz pub spoiler alert, and Twitter thirst trap imaginable.

But, with Apple shipping their own custom silicon for the Mac, we’re now being inundated with all kinds of cheap… chip leaks as well.

Because, back with Intel, there weren’t any real surprises. Not positive ones at least. Intel would announce their roadmap well in advance, like three or four lakes ahead, just all the lakes, we’d find out the process shrink and performance weren’t anywhere nearly what any of us hoped — including Intel — and then we’d judge-Judy-tapping-our-watch-dot-gif wait impatiently for the Mac-specific versions of those chips to ship, the ones with the right embedded graphics options or whatever. Usually months and months later, usually the same day the Mac shipped. Rinse and repeat for years.

In a very real way, Apple’s Mac roadmap was bound to Intel’s chip roadmap. Or rather dragged by it. And now, in the age of M1, it isn’t. Not any more. Not at all.

But, we’re only at the very early stages for the Mac. We’re at the ultra low power tip of the proverbial silicon ice berg. The M1 is the first in a series that’ll include more massively multicore versions of the current 11th generation architecture and even more impressive versions with next generation, 12th generation and beyond architecture. Chips like M1X and M2, or whatever Apple ends up calling them.

And unlike Intel, Apple doesn’t provide roadmaps well in advance. They don’t provide them at all. Not beyond extrapolating the power draw on what’s effectively a Bezos graph.

And that leads to a ton of thirst… and a ton of thirst traps. To… trap it. To take advantage of it. To pull those views, subs, and follows. To literally steal attention and reward it… with bullshit.

That includes anonymous twitter accounts that never provide any accurate, original reporting. Like at all. And the various blogs and videos that repeat their fanfic because it not only gives them an excuse to thirst-jack the trap in the first place, but to post a follow-up correcting it whenever anyone with an ounce of sense or integrity points out just how wrong it is and how wrong it was from the start. AKA, the double thirst trap take back combo attack.

And right now, that includes a bevy of fake benchmarks around the M1X, which is expected to be in the new 14-inch and updated 16-inch MacBook Pro, and maybe a higher-end space grey Mac mini and entry-level iMac as well.

Also, straight up clout chasing link-bait on the potential performance of M2, which is expected to be in the next generation MacBook Air and other ultra-low power follow-ups to the debut models.

Now, benchmark leaks aren’t exactly a new or novel thing. Some popular benchmarks apps obliviously or intentionally fail to disclose that, every time you use them, they upload all the results to their own servers and post them all over their public websites. A practice that’s burned many a reviewer ahead of many an embargo. And one that lets people distribute fake benchmarks as real… basically for the lulz.

But, with M1X, there’s really not much in the way of mystery anyway. Apple has been doing X-as-in-Extra versions of their chipsets for almost a decade now, first for the iPad, most recently for the iPad Pro. Basically taken the chip that debuts in the iPhone, adding more performance cores, graphics cores, maybe memory, slapping an X at the end, and calling it a day.

So, it’s not hard to imagine an M1X will be an M1 with extra pCores, gCores, RAM, and Thunderbolt controllers. Maybe Apple will fiddle with the base frequency to goose single core performance, but maybe not even.

Because Apple has said that they’d happily exchange a little frequency, even industry leading performance, for better efficiency as in battery life every day and twice on keynote days. So it’s also likely as not to be the exact same M1 cores, just many, many more of them, for much more massively multicore performance. There could very well be some surprises, but they’ll be in the fine details, not the broad strokes.

Likewise, Apple has been updating their silicon architecture and IP every year, on the year, for more than a decade now. So, just like M1 in the MacBook Air and entry-level MacBook Pro and Mac mini — is based on the same 11th generation technology as the A14 in the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPad Air 4, the M2 in the next generation of Macs will almost certainly be based on the next, 12th generation technology that’s also coming in the A15 for the iPhone 13, or iPhone 12s, or whatever Apple ends up calling it. And it’ll have the same kinds of performance, efficiency, and beyond compute unit improvements that we’ve seen over the last few years as well — give or take the occasional leap.

Sure, that’s not as sexy as saying M1X benchmarks leaked or worse, calling it confirmed based on two fake leaks — or two re-blogs of the same leak. But here’s the thing — it’s true.

And even though we live in the decade of super high affinity and zero accountability, trust is still a commodity that’s incredibly hard to earn and just as incredibly easy to spend, and when people are burned by a click, they’re inevitable less likely to click again. So, spend your credibility — and your attention — wisely.