In the early morning of June 7, Apple WWDC2022 started on time. There is no long-awaited VR, and there is no latest progress in car manufacturing. The only highlights are the long-awaited M2 chip and the brand-new CarPlay.

On the one hand, Apple brought back CarPlay, which had always had a low sense of existence before, and built it into a “mobile center console” that is compatible with most cars. It seems to be an expedient measure for Apple on the smart car track.

On the other hand, the most interesting thing is the M2 chip, which uses 8-core CPU + 10-core GPU, integrates more than 20 billion transistors, 25% more than the M1 chip, 18% faster CPU speed, and 35% better GPU performance. .

Looking at the data alone, the performance of the M2 chip can be regarded as a surprise. Two computers equipped with the latest chips, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, have also appeared one after another. With the further improvement of the computing power of the M2 chip, Apple began to turn its attention to the game book business, which has been neglected all year round.

However, if we look at the increase in energy efficiency of the chip, the neural network learning capability of the M1 chip is 15 times that of the previous chip; the performance is 3.5 times that of the previous chip; in comparison, the growth of the M2 chip is a bit slow.

It seems that Apple has also fallen into the barriers of Moore’s Law invalidation. In this case, how does Apple face smart cars with higher computing power requirements?

Use 1/4 energy consumption to achieve 87% performance

After half a year’s delay, the M2 chip is still here.

As expected, the M2 chip still uses TSMC’s 5nm process technology, and the long-awaited 4nm chip has not been realized. However, the performance of the enhanced M2 has improved a lot.

Without the launch of cars and VR, Apple encountered the failure of Moore’s Law?

First of all, the M2 chip integrates more than 20 billion transistors, which is 25% more than the M1 chip; the CPU performance is 18% higher than that of the M1; on the memory controller, the M2 chip can provide a unified memory bandwidth of 100GB/s, which is higher than that of the M1 chip. 50% more.

In addition, due to the small memory of the previous M1, there are still occasional bottlenecks when running high-performance tasks. This time, the M2 chip is equipped with 24GB of unified memory, which can support processing larger and more complex workloads.


Figure: Apple M1/M2 chip comparison

On the chip path, Apple has always attached great importance to the “energy consumption ratio”, that is, to minimize power consumption while maximizing performance. This time, the M2 chip can be regarded as the ultimate in this.

According to the data disclosed by Apple at the conference, compared with the latest 10-core PC notebook chip, the CPU of the M2 chip can bring a 1.9 times performance improvement under the same power consumption.

Compared with the latest 12-core chips, the M2 chip can deliver 87 percent of the peak performance using only a quarter of the power consumed by PC chips. For comparison, the latest 12-core PC laptop chips require a significant increase in power consumption to improve performance.

These data show the unique advantages of the M2 chip in terms of energy consumption. The performance core is faster and has a larger cache; the energy efficiency core has been significantly enhanced and can bring greater performance improvements. They work together to easily perform CPU-intensive tasks with very little power consumption.

Based on such advantages, Apple computers using M2 chips can be made thinner, quieter, less prone to heat, and have longer battery life than computers with ordinary PC chips.

In addition, the M2 chip is also equipped with Apple’s new generation of graphics processors, with up to 10 cores, two more than the M1 chip.

The 10-core graphics processor integrates larger cache and higher memory bandwidth to improve graphics performance. Under the same power consumption level as the M1 chip, the graphics performance of the M2 chip can be improved by up to 25%. At the maximum power consumption level, the performance improvement can reach up to 35%.


As a comparison, under the same power consumption, the graphics processor of the M2 chip can reach 2.3 times the performance of the integrated graphics card in the PC notebook computer chip at the fastest, and the M2 chip only needs one-fifth of the power consumption to realize the performance of the PC. The peak performance of the chip.

At the same time, Apple also introduced the latest custom technology into the M2 chip, and equipped the M2 chip with the latest generation of security compartments and neural network engines. The neural network engine in the M2 chip can handle 15.8 trillion operations per second, 40 percent faster than the M1 chip.

And the M2 chip also makes up for some shortcomings of the M1. For example, the video output of the M1 only supports one 4K (60hz) display, and the Inter series can generally support at least two 4K (60hz) displays.

So this time, Apple equipped the M2 chip with a ProRes video processor for hardware-accelerated codec, which also allows the system equipped with the M2 chip to play multiple 4K and 8K videos.

It can be said that after a comprehensive upgrade, the M2 chip has further improved the excellent performance, functions and energy efficiency of the M1 chip. But is the M2 chip really a qualitative leap?

Because compared with the previous generation chip, the M1 neural network learning ability is 15 times that of the previous chip, and the performance is 3.5 times that of the previous chip; in terms of horizontal comparison, Intel’s Alder Lake and AMD Zen3+, a CPU has increased by more than 50%, A GPU doubles directly.

So in comparison, we will find that the performance improvement of Apple chips has also slowed down. The M2 chip does not have the imagined performance leap, but more of an increase in energy consumption, like an enhanced version of the M1.

Attack on the game book

“Although it is not amazing, it is undeniable that the increase in the performance of the M2 chip and the absolute energy consumption ratio still make everything a step further.”

Based on the M2 chip upgrade, Apple mainly released two new products, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. Thanks to the low energy consumption and high energy efficiency of the M2 chip, the performance of the two products has been significantly improved compared to the first-generation version equipped with the M1 chip. Taking the MacBook Air as an example, when using apps such as Photoshop, its speed is 20% higher than that of the first generation. Compared with other users who do not use Apple chips, this improvement has reached 5 times.

Without the launch of cars and VR, Apple encountered the failure of Moore’s Law?

Figure: MacBook Air 2022

In terms of price, the price of the 2022 MacBook Air 8-core CPU + 8-core GPU + 8GB memory + 256GB hard disk version starts at 9,499 yuan, and the 16GB memory version costs 10,999 yuan. The top version costs 19,399 yuan.

For comparison, the 8+256GB version of the M1 MacBook Air is priced at 7,999 yuan.

For Apple itself, the original intention of its research and development is to serve “productivity”, that is, the main office. It has been deeply cultivating the market for many years, and this has always been Apple’s strength. In contrast, the business in the game field has always been criticized by people. There are many sayings that “those who use Apple to beat computers are warriors” and “Apple is not a game notebook”.

The price is comparable to the game book, but the macOS system cannot carry the game. There is a reason behind this.

Before Apple started to develop its own chips, Intel’s integrated graphics cards were used for a long time. Due to limited performance, many 3A games with high hardware requirements could not be ported to macOS.

After the appearance of the M1 chip, its performance has directly caught up with that of PCs. Although it is more than enough to handle entry-level 3A games, software is still a major obstacle restricting the development of the game business. Due to the limitations of the macOS system itself, many games cannot be compatible with macOS, which also makes game developers trapped in the threshold of the system and give up the macOS market.

At the scene of this conference, macOS unexpectedly upgraded the game performance. The newly launched Matal 3 API and MetalFX oversampling technology can help game developers improve graphics performance and create immersive game visual effects.


Picture: ljuin, manager of Capcom’s advanced technical research department, is introducing the game

At the press conference, ljuin, as a representative of the game manufacturer, took the stage to introduce the game capabilities of MacOS 13, and announced that the game “Resident Evil: Village” will be launched on the Mac platform.

“With MetalFX sampling, we can render stunning high-resolution visuals across our entire product line, something previously only available on high-performance consoles and gaming PCs, but these new Macs handle it effortlessly. Any task we give them,” said Iljuin, manager of advanced technology research at Capcom.

The birth of the M2 chip has further improved the operating efficiency of the game. Taking graphics-intensive games like Baldur’s Gate III as an example, after carrying the M2 chip, the speed is also increased by nearly 40% compared with the previous 13-inch Pro.

It can be said that driven by self-developed chips, Apple has made no secret of its ambitions for the gaming notebook market. You know, the game market still contributes about 40% of Nvidia’s revenue.

In fact, the six quarters from the release of the M1 chip in November 2020 to the first quarter of 2022 are also the six quarters in which Mac has achieved the highest revenue. At the same time, Apple’s Mac business has also set records in many markets such as Europe, Asia Pacific, and Greater China.

In this regard, Apple CEO Cook mentioned: “Our outstanding performance is not limited to a certain region and market, almost all global markets have very good performance. An important reason for these performances is that the new Mac products use M1 processing. device.”

So, when the M1 is upgraded to the M2, can the Apple Mac replicate the previous miracle?

Failure of Moore’s Law

Rely on CarPlay to open the car track?

Defeated the old opponent and replaced the old partner, but Apple is encountering the bottleneck of the failure of Moore’s Law.

Now Apple’s products can span from office to games, essentially relying on the performance improvement of self-developed chips. However, from M1 to M2, it is not difficult to find that the number of transistors has only increased by 25%, and the performance has increased by 18%, which is far from the previous chip computing power that has increased several times.

Even if it is as noble as an apple, it cannot escape the spell of Moore’s Law. Today, Apple is still invincible in the mobile phone and PC markets, but in the future, as Apple moves towards cars, when the product’s demand for chip computing power increases exponentially, Apple is obviously likely to be trapped under the barriers of Moore’s Law.

At this year’s press conference, Apple brought back CarPlay, which had a low sense of existence before. Before, CarPlay was just a projection software that carried the entertainment and navigation functions of smart cars, and had nothing to do with car control.

Without the launch of cars and VR, Apple encountered the failure of Moore’s Law?

But at this press conference, Apple’s re-display of CarPlay has already been able to support car gauges, which can display various data such as speed, engine speed, oil temperature, and oil volume in the gauges, which are almost identical to the original car’s gauges. It also supports the control of hardware equipment such as air conditioners and seats in the car.

It can be said that CarPlay is a complete smart cockpit system, but it is still far away from the other MCU and automatic driving system of smart cars.

According to the data released by Apple at the press conference, 98% of cars in the United States can use CarPlay, and 79% of American consumers said that they would only buy cars that support CarPlay.

At first glance, this may seem like a great thing to do. Apple didn’t make cars, but it turned all cars into Apple cars. But in fact, this is also a helpless move made by Apple when its own hardware is insufficient.

In the era of smartphones, Apple’s software system is known for being closed, because of the strength of its hardware, all software has to participate in Apple’s ecology.

But now, when smart cars are becoming the next generation of smart hardware, but Apple has not yet participated in it, Apple has to embark on the road of open software.

Looking back and looking at Apple WWDC2022, except for the M2 chip, the highlights seem to be lackluster. No AR/VR, no real cars. Will Apple rely on software to open the door to the next era?

This can be tough.

Apple’s situation also represents the plight of the entire consumer electronics industry chain, and an era is changing. The difference between the new Apple and the old Nokia, the collapse of the building is often in an instant.