Apple Introduces the M2 SoC (and what it means to media creators)

Posted on by Larry

At WWDC 2022, Apple introduced their latest iteration of Apple silicon: the M2. Based on information released by Apple during the event, the M2 is, on average, 10-15% faster than the M1.

Note: That’s not a knock on the M2, its a statement about how significantly better the M1 was compared to Intel chips.

Since the M2 has not yet been released, any detailed comparison will need to wait until Apple’s newest computers hit the streets. However, based on what I’m reading:

So, is the M2 better? Yes. Is it drop-everything-and-buy-one today better? No.

Note: Here’s a PC Magazine review comparing the M2 with the existing family of M1 processors.

(Image courtesy: Apple Inc. Click to see larger image.)

It should surprise no one that Apple is working on new chips. That’s what Apple does. I fully expect that trend to continue long into the future. Chips will always get faster and more capable.

But I think we’ve reached a point where continued CPU chip advances won’t materially change the process of audio or video editing. Any hardware we buy today can easily edit up to 8K media and handle most multicam editing with ease.

We need to shift our emphasis from the speed and capability of the CPU to the speed and capacity of our storage. As frame sizes and frame rates increase and multicam becomes more ubiquitous, storage, not the CPU, becomes the gating factor.

I think that’s one of the reasons Apple isn’t demoing these new chips running Final Cut Pro or Premiere. These new chips may help us get our work done a bit faster, but not better. We are already delivering quality equal to what the best camera can shoot or the best microphone can record with today’s hardware.

Smile…. I’m reminded of the song from the Broadway musical “Oklahoma:” “We’ve gone about as far as we can go.” However, they were singing about 1906. I’m not suggesting that computers won’t get better. They will. Nor that software won’t get better. It will, too.

What I am suggesting, though, is that we already have all the power we need to tell compelling stories with breath-taking visuals. We don’t need to wait for the “next big thing” for us to do our work. Currently, the M1 Pro, Max and Ultra chips significantly outperform the M2. And, currently, the entire M1 family provides more than enough power for video editing. Provided your storage is fast enough.

If you are deciding which computer to buy, the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros, with M1 Pro or Max chips totally outperform both the MacBook Air or 13-inch MacBook Pro with the M2. And the Mac Studio remains in a class all by itself.

Which is a great feeling. Because now, the burden of story-telling falls on us and our imaginations, not on the limitations of our computer systems.

I’m looking forward to the future with M2 Pro, Max and Ultra. Then the M3 and M4. The future of technology continues to evolve in exciting ways.

But we don’t need to wait for the future to do great work today.


Here’s Apple’s press release announcing the M2:

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6 Responses to Apple Introduces the M2 SoC (and what it means to media creators)

  1. Dan Preston says:

    Right after the WWDC announcements, I came to the same conclusion: that the M2 is not yet of any great significance to media creators, and that the enhanced versions of the M1, especially those in the Mac Studio, are the tools of choice for media creators today. As a long-time Mac Pro owner (a venerable 2010 5,1 6-core, upgraded several times over the years), I was curious to see if an AS Mac Pro would be announced, or at least mentioned (nothing). So the next day, I picked up my previously-ordered Mac Studio (M1 Max, 32-core GPU, 64GB, 2TB), happy that it’ll fit my professional video production needs for at least the next few years.

    And not because it’ll create better videos for me, but that it’ll run the latest versions of the software I rely on (Adobe CC primarily), and not choke on the footage that I feed it.

    BTW, thanks Larry for your article from March on how to configure a Mac Studio for video editing. “Performance that doesn’t break the bank” setup with a couple of recommended enhancements seemed to make the most sense for me.

    • Larry says:


      Thanks for your comments. I agree with everything you wrote – including how you configured your system. Much though I love the M1 Ultra, the M1 Max is more than enough for all the editing I’ll need.


  2. Lee Friedman says:

    I have to agree. The M2 is a stepping stone but nothing newsworthy. I just got my Mac Studio and I realize when editing video, photos, or audio that even the most intensive workloads are not using all the available cores that I have. So, until the software can catch up and make use of those cores we all paid for, there is no point in looking at newer hardware. Compilers and software development tools must improve to aid programmers to make use of all those resource.

    As for storage. Yes, this is the big gap! 40 Mb/s Thunderbolt is fine but SATA attached via this connectivity is hardly worth it. NVME is of course much faster, but cost prohibitive for large storage arrays. In order to get higher sppeds requires complicated disk management systems with NVME caches and lots of spinning rust behind them. That’s a hardware technology that needs some serious attention.

  3. Kit Laughlin says:

    Larry, thank you for a sober, practical perspective, from one for whom technology is merely the tool used to tell a good story.

    I think an excellent analogy is the state of still and video camera sensors these days – for at least 10 years they have been good enough for any commercial work, and I’m speaking here as a recently ex-commercial photographer, and because they were good enough, the end result was all about the skills of the person behind the camera. And we all know of absolutely brilliant photographs taken with really substandard gear!

    Thanks again for this excellent article.

  4. Clayton Moore says:

    Really excellent write up.

    ARRI the standard in pristine image quality just released their first new sensor
    In 12 years and are finally in 4k. No reliance in ultra high res for world class story telling
    until now I guess.

    Camera’s aside Larry has always been right on the money as it pertains to the importance of storage period. The new Mac Studios may be the first true sweet spot on performance vs value in a long time. I call it the Apple Silicon water shed moment. They can do between 11-22 Trillion operations per second. Seems its up to software developers to take the maximum advantage of that ………………. Oh and yes fast storage ;-). ….and maybe starting to focus more on dealing with HDR and color and monitoring.

    Still, Story is king though!!!

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