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It looks like Apple isn’t entirely done with 2023 yet, with a new report suggesting that an October event is indeed in the cards.
After last week’s quiet debut of a new USB-C Apple Pencil — which came amidst sketchy reports that we’d see new iPads — we’d almost given up on anything exciting coming from Apple this month, especially since reliable sources seemed to be ruling out any new iPads or Macs until early 2024 at the soonest.
However, while iPads still aren’t likely to be on the table, there have been some recent murmurings about new Macs making an appearance. Several folks noted last week that the wait times for custom 24-inch iMac configurations were increasing, which led some to believe that this could herald the introduction of a new iMac. Still, it was tricky to infer too much from that, as standard iMac configurations were still shipping on schedule, and it’s far from the first time that configure-to-order models have been pushed back; in fact, the same thing happened last fall.
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Nevertheless, it looks like Apple may indeed have something up its sleeve, with Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman sharing over the weekend that Apple is planning to launch at least one new Mac at the end of this month.
In his Power On newsletter, Gurman notes that he’s been “told that Apple is planning a Mac-centered product launch around the end of this month,” and while he has no specific info on what we’ll see, he believes it’s likely to be the 24-inch iMac that he spoke of in March — a prediction that he doubled down on in the summer with an October timeframe.
It makes sense, as the 24-inch iMac is well overdue for a refresh. It got a significant redesign in early 2021 as the first Apple silicon-powered desktop but has been largely neglected since then. In mid-2022, Gurman noted that the iMac would likely skip the M2 chip and go straight to an M3, so we haven’t really been expecting an update before now, but there have been reports the M3 should be ready by this point — there are even indications Apple is already testing the more powerful M3 Max.
According to Gurman, Apple actually was working on the much rumored larger-screened “iMac Pro” but ended up putting it on the back burner due to “cost concerns.”
This was never the plan. Apple had aimed to release a larger, pro-focused iMac soon after the 24-inch iMac launched. Under the original road map, you would have seen the M1 24-inch iMac, then an M2-based iMac Pro and, finally, a 24-inch iMac refresh.Mark Gurman
Although some believed that Apple had replaced the iMac Pro with the Mac Studio and Studio Display, it seems that was just the result of Apple adjusting expectations when its vision for the next-generation iMac Pro didn’t pan out. However, more recent reports suggest it’s still coming, but likely not before the end of 2024.
What Could Be Coming Next Week?
Gurman has reliable information that a new Mac is coming and predicts that an event will likely be held on Oct 30 or Oct 31 to stay in advance of Apple’s quarterly earnings call that’s being held on November 2 — a rare time that it’s been pushed into the first week in November.
However, Gurman doesn’t have any specific insight into exactly what Apple will announce, at least not beyond some well-educated guesses.
A New 24-inch iMac?
It’s definitely a fact that stock levels for the iMac and MacBook Pro appear to be dwindling at Apple’s retail stores. This isn’t true of all configurations; many standard off-the-shelf ones are shipping within 2-3 days at the most, but those are inventory models already in Apple’s warehouses. Customize a 24-inch iMac in any way — even swap the keyboard or mouse out or ask for Final Cut Pro to be preinstalled — and ship dates will slide into mid-November at the soonest.
The same holds true for the 13-inch MacBook Pro, which was updated in June 2022 with an M2 chip. However, even several standard configurations of the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro have already slid into late November. Granted, these models are more expensive to produce, more often customized, and likely in lower demand, all of which means Apple may keep fewer standard configurations in stock, but it’s still unusual to see them sliding back this far.
A New M3 Max MacBook Pro?
In August, we saw evidence that Apple was already testing an M3 Max MacBook Pro, which points to the possibility that we could see a refresh of those higher-end models.
It would be unusual since Apple already refreshed those with the M2 Pro and M2 Max chips in January, but it’s also not out of the question. Gurman reported recently that Apple has “made headway on new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros,” but it would be odd for an M3 Pro/Max chip to arrive before the baseline M3 shows up.
Gurman still doesn’t expect that we’ll see new M3 MacBook Air models until sometime in 2024, and it would make sense for Apple to hold those back for a bit longer, especially since it’s just released a 15-inch M2-powered MacBook Air. It’s too soon to refresh that with an M3 chip, and following it up with smaller, M3-powered versions would be odd. It seems more likely Apple will just wait until it’s ready to equip the entire MacBook Air series with M3 silicon.
However, less has been heard on any front about Apple’s 13-inch MacBook Pro — the Touch Bar-equipped model that sits in an odd spot between the Air and Pro lineups. Since the advent of Apple silicon three years ago, Apple has updated that in lockstep with the MacBook Air, but there’s no rule that it has to keep doing so.
In other words, it’s certainly possible it could release an entirely new MacBook Pro lineup — 13-inch, 14-inch, and 16-inch models — as its way of debuting the whole new M3 chip family in one fell swoop. The 13-inch MacBook Pro would get the baseline M3 chip, while the 14-inch and 16-inch models would get the upgraded M3 Pro and M3 Max chips.
Either way, we’re just making some of the same educated guesses that Gurman is, as nobody but Apple knows for sure. It’s also unclear if next week will be a full media event similar to September’s Wonderlust or if Apple plans to hold a smaller briefing for select members of the press or even just make the announcement of the new models via a press release. If this is going to be a more significant event, we’ll likely find out in the next couple of days, as Apple typically sends out invites about a week in advance.
[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.]