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By now it’s a given that Apple will be holding a major product event in the next few weeks — likely as soon as March 8 — and now it looks like it may have a few more surprises for us.
For the past few weeks, the consensus has been that next month’s Apple event would be all about the third-generation iPhone SE and a new iPad Air 5, but now additional evidence is piling up to suggest that we could see as many as three new Macs make an appearance as well.
We first heard hints of this last week, when a new supply chain report revealed that Apple’s factories had been working overtime through the Lunar New Year to crank out new MacBooks at full speed.
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While we weren’t entirely sure what to make of that — supply chain reports don’t always see the bigger picture — new regulatory filings have appeared to back up the idea that new Macs are coming sooner rather than later.
As much as Apple would like to preserve its veil of secrecy, it can’t avoid the need to follow the laws in different countries, and this includes the requirements of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) to file registrations for its upcoming products several weeks before they go on sale.
While there’s no limit to how far ahead of time Apple can make these filings, as a rule, it’s generally only done so within weeks of new product announcements. Hence, the appearance of new products in the EEC files almost always means that they’re right around the corner — likely at the company’s very next event.
The Mysterious New Macs
In this case, Apple has listed three new Macs with model numbers of A2615, A2686, and A2681. They’re all listed as running macOS Monterey, which isn’t exactly a big surprise, but there are no other meaningful details.
This means that it’s anybody’s guess as to exactly what these could be, but of course, we all know what we’re expecting Apple to come up with soon.
Based on last week’s report, a new entry-level M2 MacBook Pro is the front-runner, but that should only account for one of the three model numbers, as all the different memory and storage configurations share the same base model number.
That leaves two more unaccounted for, but if Apple follows the trend, that could be the M2 MacBook Air and a new Mac mini — either an M2 entry-level model or a higher-end model featuring an M1 Pro/Max configuration.
After all, this was the trio of computers that heralded the arrival of Apple Silicon in late 2020, so it makes sense that they’d be the first to get the newer M2 chip.
The only thing that brings that into question, however, is that Apple still has a Mac mini running an Intel configuration — the model that we’ve been expecting to get a redesign with an M1 Pro/Max. Then there’s the larger 27-inch iMac, which is also still running a 10th-gen Intel chip.
Most reports have suggested that the 27-inch iMac will go all the way to an iMac Pro, packing in an M1 Pro/Max chip — or even better. We may never know if that was supposed to be in the cards for a spring event, but recent reports have suggested the new iMac Pro isn’t going to make the cut, and will instead come along later in the year.
There is a silver lining in that news, however, with new rumours that the delay may not be as bad as some feared. Following the news of the EEC filings, someone asked display analyst Ross Young if he had any insight into what Macs those may be. While Young didn’t comment on the specifics, he did add that his sources tell him that the mini-LED iMac Pro could come in June.
With June still over three months away, it’s unlikely that one of these three new model numbers represents the iMac Pro, however, as Apple rarely files new products that far ahead of time.
Although Bloomberg’sMark Gurman has hinted that the new MacBook Air wasn’t coming until the fall, it’s even more unlikely Apple would have filed those in the EEC database already.
However, it’s also unlikely that Apple is going to announce only a new entry-level M2 MacBook Pro without doing so alongside the new redesigned MacBook Air, so it’s a safe bet that if one is coming, so is the other, which lines up with other solid reports we’ve heard.
It’s the Mac mini that’s the real outlier here, but that’s par for the course for that little Mac, which often takes a back burner to Apple’s other plans. This means that we really can’t rule out the possibility that Apple may choose to put an M2 chip into the Mac mini before it does anything else with the higher-end Intel version.
However, we also don’t know exactly what the M2 chip will be capable of. One of the main reasons that the higher-end Mac mini has remained on Intel is that the M1 chip can’t deliver the memory, SSD, and port capacity that users expected from the top-tier Mac mini.
If the M2 chip gets past those limits — and we really have no reason to believe it won’t — then perhaps the entire Mac mini lineup can simply move straight into M2 territory, or maybe Apple will leave the M1 Mac mini on the market as a budget model and supersede the Intel Mac mini with a newer and more powerful M2 version.
[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]