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Since Apple first announced the transition to Apple Silicon, we’ve seen different processors, from the M1 back in November 2020 to the M1 Pro and M1 Max a year later, and the M1 Ultra just a couple of days ago.
The evolution has been extraordinary. In less than a year and a half, the Cupertino-based company has gone from an 8-core CPU and 8-core GPU chip like the M1 to a 20-core CPU and 64-core GPU chip like the M1 Ultra. The company claims the latter is eight times faster than the M1. That’s impressive.
Apple plans to release the M2 chip in June. This processor will feature an 8-core CPU (four performance cores and four efficiency cores) and a 10-core GPU. We all know this, but what about the M3? Let me tell you.
After many conversations with multiple people related to this matter, I now have details about the M3 processor Apple is working on, as well as an initial Mac roadmap for 2023 and 2024.
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Apple’s M3 Chip
As far as I’m concerned, Apple engineers are working on two different prototypes of this processor.
- The first one has an 8-core CPU (six performance cores and two efficiency cores) and a 10-core GPU.
- The second prototype features a 10-core CPU (six performance cores and four efficiency cores) and a 10-core GPU.
My sources suggest Apple could offer these two processors to differentiate the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro. The latter could have “the M3 with 10 CPU cores” and the former “M3 with 8 CPU cores.”
Although it is too soon to know, I do believe this will be the case. There is also the chance Apple sticks to one of them, although that seems unlikely.
I’ve heard Apple and its partners plan to start the M3 production in Q2 of 2023, and it should be unveiled in Q4 2023. More on that later.
Also, Apple hasn’t yet started the development of the M3 Pro, M3 Max, or M3 Ultra chips.
After talking with a few sources about this, I have a pretty good idea of what Apple has in mind for the future of Mac.
I have to keep some things secret to protect my sources; I hope you understand this. I would never risk someone’s job for an article or a Twitter post, and I’m sure all my fellow leakers think the same way.
I want to start with a warning: Apple’s plans usually get delayed or even canceled, and given that I’m going to tell you what Apple is preparing for the Mac lineup in 2022, 2023, and 2024, there is a good chance these plans change. The good thing about this is that it’ll give you a general idea.
Let’s start with what’s left for 2022.
Apple plans to release the first two M2 Macs as soon as June during the Worldwide Developers Conference. The company is also considering a press release in May, although I doubt it will happen. I know one of the new devices will be a Mac mini, and the other one could be a 24-inch iMac or a 13-inch MacBook Pro. I’m hearing both of them will be ready by then, but it isn’t clear whether Apple will release both of them, just one or none. I haven’t been able to confirm this at the moment, but expect at least one of them alongside the M2 Mac mini.
It looks like Apple just decided to replace the M1 Pro Mac mini for an M2 Pro Mac mini. I think this decision has to do with the launch of the Mac Studio, and the only thing the company has to do is replace the processor, so it’s not a big deal. This redesigned M2 Pro Mac mini is scheduled to be ready to ship in August, so I assume Apple will unveil it at some point of Q3 or Q4 of 2022, most likely at a September or October event. This device will replace the Intel Mac mini Apple continues to sell in its official store.
This M2 Pro could feature a 12-core CPU and a 16-core GPU, although it is unclear at the moment of writing this. I know Apple is testing a prototype like that, but I know there are different prototypes that I don’t know the details about, so I don’t want to make any assumptions just yet.
Apple also has plans to release the Mac Pro with two (or even four) M1 Ultra processors alongside a 27-inch mini-LED display with ProMotion technology. I assume this display will substitute the Pro Display XDR. Although these devices won’t be ready to ship until Q3 of 2022, there is a chance Apple will announce them during the Worldwide Developers Conference in June. Since my sources are primarily focused on the supply chain, I can’t tell for sure if this will be the case or not just yet.
Display analyst Ross Young suggests Apple could unveil a new 27-inch monitor during the Worldwide Developers Conference in June, and he is very accurate, so I think we can count on that new “Pro” display.
The company also plans to release an M2 MacBook Air in late 2022. As I’ve told you, it’s technically ready to ship, so I don’t expect any delays. Some sources suggest Apple could unveil this device in a September or October event.
The M2 MacBook Air will have a new look with colors and white bezels. It’ll be thinner, and it will have a MagSafe connector, two USB-C connectors, and an audio jack. Previous reports suggested this device would come with a mini-LED display, but I’ve recently learned that Apple has decided not to include it to make this new MacBook Air cheaper and stick to a $999 starting price.
It makes sense. The mini-LED panel that the company considered for the MacBook Air was well over $200; it didn’t fit the budget.
Let’s focus on 2023 and 2024 now.
2023 and 2024
Apple has plans to release an iMac Pro in 2022, although it looks like the company could push it back to 2023. It looks like it will have a display very similar to the 27-inch mini-LED display with ProMotion technology that will be unveiled in 2022.
We’ve learned from our sources that this new iMac Pro will include the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, and it is unclear if the M1 Ultra will be available for this Mac or not. It could, but my sources don’t know about it yet.
The company also wants to refresh part of the Mac lineup. Apple plans new 14-inch and 16-inch laptops with new chips and a similar look to the current MacBook Pros. The notch is staying, and some sources suggest Apple could feature the M2 Pro and M2 Max processors inside. I hear the Cupertino-based company could release these laptops as soon as July of 2023, during that year’s Worldwide Developers Conference. However, Apple could push back the release to October.
There won’t be much more in the first half of 2023; I’m hearing Apple plans to release the rest in late 2023.
After discussing this matter with sources familiar with it, I expect Apple to release an M3 Mac mini, a 13.3-inch M3 MacBook Air, and a 13.3-inch M3 MacBook Pro between the Q3 and Q4 of that year.
Those releases will be closely followed by a 24-inch M3 iMac in early 2024 and an M3 Pro Mac mini. I haven’t got any information about the rest of the Mac lineup, but I’m sure there will be more new devices than those I mentioned.
I expect the M3 Mac mini to have the same form factor as the redesigned M2 Pro Mac mini that’s set to be launched in September or October of 2022. The 13.3-inch M3 MacBook Air will have the same body frame as the one we leaked one month ago.
I’m hearing the M3 MacBook Pro will have a 13.3-inch display and will be redesigned. Apple plans this device to have more ports and look similar to the M2 and M3 MacBook Air, although I’ve been told you shouldn’t expect it to be available in different colors. This is the typical Apple move. Offer the non-pro version in more colors and save the premium ones for the pro version.
I don’t have details about the 24-inch M3 iMac at the time of writing this, but I’ll let you know if I hear anything about it, especially when we get closer to launch.
I want you to remember this is just what Apple has scheduled internally, and we all know the company is famous for pushing back or straight up canceling unreleased devices. I will let you know if something like that happens, and I’m pretty sure it will.
The future of the Mac looks promising. For years Apple had to deal with slow processors from Intel that needed a lot of cooling, and this forced the Cupertino-based company to manufacture slow and noisy computers that got hot the moment they were turned on. Their battery life was mediocre, and they weren’t worth it for the price asked. But, now that Apple uses its own processors, things are different. Instead of slow and noisy computers, we have fast and quiet laptops with excellent battery life, and the battery life is out of this world.
I think the Cupertino-based company has achieved what they have been looking for since the Mac was first introduced, and I hope it sticks to this path. I expect great things, and I hope Apple delivers.
I hope you found this article helpful. Let me know in the comments what your thoughts are on the M3 chip and Apple’s Mac roadmap. As always, have a fantastic day!
[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.]