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Apple in October announced an M3-powered 24-inch iMac, as well as new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models with M3 series chips. So when will the rest of Apple's Mac lineup be updated to the latest M3 processors, and will they be worth the wait?

When-Will-Apple-Launch-More-M3-Macs-Feature-Sans-13inch-MBP.jpg

Now that Apple's "Scary Fast" event has passed, attention naturally turns to the other Macs in the company's lineup and where they might fit into Apple's M3 roadmap. Here's what the latest rumors say.

M3 MacBook Air

Apple sells three versions of MacBook Air: A cheaper previous-generation 13-inch model with M1 chip, and 13-inch and 15-inch models equipped with the newer M2 chip. The question is, when will Apple discontinue the M1 MacBook Air and replace its top-of-the-line 13-inch and 15-inch machines with M3 equivalents?

M3-MacBook-Air-Feature.jpg


The existing 15-inch MacBook Air arrived earlier this year in June, which is not that long ago in terms of Mac update cycles. However, Apple released the M2 13-inch ‌MacBook Air back in June 2022. It is now the oldest Mac in Apple's current crop, having not been updated in over 480 days.

According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, Apple has 13-inch and 15-inch M3 MacBook Air models in development, and both are said to be scheduled for release sometime in the first half of 2024. Both models are said to have reached engineering verification testing (EVT), an early production testing phase on prototype devices. The M3 chip used in the Airs is expected to have similar CPU and GPU core counts as the M2 chip in the current models.

Given so much time has elapsed since the current 13-inch MacBook Air was launched, it might seem safe to assume this model will be the next beneficiary in line for Apple's M3 chip. However, Apple's roadmap for Apple silicon appears to be partly dictated by supplier production capacity, so we could see either one model launched first or both 13-inch and 15-inch models launched in tandem.

Gurman says the next-generation MacBook Airs are on schedule for launch between the spring and summer of next year at the earliest, which could also mirror the time frame of the current models' launches that took place at WWDC in June 2022 and 2023.

Mac Mini

Apple announced M2 and M2 Pro Mac mini models in January, just over 280 days ago, but Apple could be already testing an M3 Mac mini, according to Gurman.

M3-Mac-Mini-Feature.jpg


In August, signs of an unknown "15,12" Mac machine were found in developer code, with the Mac featuring an 8-core CPU (consisting of four efficiency cores and four performance cores), 10-core GPU, and 24GB RAM. Based on the similar specifications to the base M2 Mac mini (bar the existing model's 8GB RAM as standard), Gurman believes it represents a next-generation Mac mini.

Gurman previously said he was not expecting an M3 version of the Mac mini to launch until late 2024, but as it is already in testing, it could potentially be unveiled sooner.

Mac Studio, Mac Pro

Apple updated the ‌Mac Studio and Mac Pro with M2 series chips in June of this year. Mac Studio models come with either the M2 Max or M2 Ultra chip, while the Mac Pro has adopted the M2 Ultra.

M3-Mac-Pro-and-Studio-Feature.jpg


Both Macs are considered to be in the middle of their product cycles, and there are as yet no reliable rumors about when more powerful M3 versions of either machines will be launched. But if Apple is committed to an annual upgrade cycle, we could see them in June 2024.

13-inch MacBook Pro

Apple has discontinued the 13-inch M2 MacBook Pro – and along with it the Touch Bar – replacing it with a 14-inch model that's equipped with a next-generation M3 chip.

No-M3-MacBook-Pro-13-Inch-Feature.jpg


Apple says that the 14-inch M3 MacBook Pro is up to 60 percent faster than the 13-inch MacBook Pro with M1. The M3 14-inch MacBook Pro also comes with a number of other benefits that make it worth the upgrade for anyone with the original 13-inch machine. So do not expect to see an M3-powered 13-inch MacBook Pro anytime soon, if ever.

M3 Performance Gains to Expect

The M3 series of chips are built on TSMC's 3-nanometer process, bringing performance and efficiency improvements over Apple's previous M2 chips, which are based on the earlier-generation 5-nanometer process. Since its transition to Intel chips, Apple's strategy has been as follows.

In the M1 and M2 series of Apple silicon, each generation has a baseline version, then a "Pro" chip with more cores for its central processing unit and graphics. Next is an even more powerful "Max" version that doubles the number of graphics cores. Lastly, an "Ultra" model doubles the number of main processing cores and graphics cores found in the "Max." Things are slightly different with the M3 series, as explained below.

In terms of the actual real-world gains, this of course depends on the M3 processor version, coupled with the particular Mac model and other component factors like RAM and thermal dissipation. Nevertheless, all of Apple's M3 chips also boast GPU improvements not found in the M2 series, including Dynamic Caching, hardware-accelerated ray tracing, and hardware-accelerated mesh shading.

M3

Apple's base M3 chip will likely feature in future MacBook Air models, as well as an updated lower-end version of the Mac mini. At least in the MacBook Airs, the M3 chip is expected to have similar CPU and GPU core counts as the M2 chip in the current models, but that could be true for the Mac mini as well.

M3-Chip-Apple-Event-Slide.jpg

Based on early benchmarks, the M3 chip has... Click here to read rest of article

Article Link: These M3 Macs Are Still Coming, But Are They Worth the Wait?
 
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Grobaouche

macrumors member
Oct 7, 2022
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A little remark on the following sentence :
"Note that the new 16-inch MacBook Pro starts at $3,499 in the U.S. when configured with the M3 Max chip, while the Mac Studio with the M2 Ultra chip starts at $3,999, so you can effectively get the same performance for $500 less by buying the new 16-inch MacBook Pro, which also includes a display, keyboard, and trackpad."

It is not entirely true as the lightning fast leaked benchmark are for full fat M3 Max with the 16 cores CPU and the 40 cores GPU.
The "entry level" M3 max is 14 cores CPU and 30 cores GPU and is likely to be close but maybe not as fast as the M2 Ultra.
 

BrownyQ

macrumors 6502
Dec 13, 2021
341
1,262
USA
I appreciate the constant march forward of technological improvement, but the increases in performance feel so incremental already that I see no reason to upgrade from my M1 iMac or my M1 Pro MBP.

I wanted an excuse to, but it just isn't there.

Maybe another year or two down the line, if not more. Made such strong computers, Apple, that I can't be bothered to upgrade.
 

Grobaouche

macrumors member
Oct 7, 2022
86
56
The M1 situation reminds me of the iPhone 6 : The phone was so great and Apple sold so many of these that they struggled many years afterwards to sell as many iPhones.

Same is for the M1, it has been a giant leap, and it will need many years to see a such big leap forward.
 

eropko

macrumors 6502
Aug 6, 2023
265
459
The M1 situation reminds me of the iPhone 6 : The phone was so great and Apple sold so many of these that they struggled many years afterwards to sell as many iPhones.

Same is for the M1, it has been a giant leap, and it will need many years to see a such big leap forward.
Leap is there already, it's just M1 being sufficient for most people. I really only see/hear complaints about GPU and Blender performance from owners (the ones who need 3D). The rest will just use their great machines and maybe update to M6 to get their ooompf performance boost.
 

Steve121178

macrumors 603
Apr 13, 2010
6,452
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Bedfordshire, UK
I appreciate the constant march forward of technological improvement, but the increases in performance feel so incremental already that I see no reason to upgrade from my M1 iMac or my M1 Pro MBP.

I wanted an excuse to, but it just isn't there.

Maybe another year or two down the line, if not more. Made such strong computers, Apple, that I can't be bothered to upgrade.
Why do you need to upgrade after only a few years? Your M1 hardware should be good for at least 5 years before you need to look at your upgrade options. I'll be amazed if there was something significant your M1 Macs can't do right now that rendered them outdated.

Computers were never meant to be upgraded after just a few years, unless you like tipping money away all the time just to get an extra 10 or 15% here and there that will never be noticeable in the real world unless you are really doing something significantly GPU/CPU intensive. But that's what the Mac Pro/Studio is designed for so maybe buy one of those if its performance you need.
 

neilw

macrumors 6502
Aug 4, 2003
450
871
New Jersey
I wouldn't mind if they lowered the price of the M1 Air and made that their new really low-cost entry machine. I'm on an M1 iMac and it is still plenty for typical household use. I've got gear lust for the new M3 machines but really I have no computing need that would justify it. Will hold until M5 probably.
 

anakin44011

macrumors regular
Jan 6, 2004
221
820
M3 Pro Mac mini - unless you want ray tracing, just get the M2 Pro version, or wait for sale/deals
M3 Ultra Mac Studio - holy cow thats gonna be a beast. M3 Max rendered M2 Ultra useless.
On paper at least, the M3 Ultra will be equivalent to the rumored M2 Extreme (and actually faster if your workflow can use the hardware raytracing). If so, it explains why we never saw the M2 Extreme.

However, all of this still requires the software to take full advantage of the hardware. If you aren't pegging your existing hardware, then an upgrade isn't going to make much of a difference.

Sort of like buying a car with more horsepower and then driving in city traffic. Sure, you look cool (yes, I'm kidding), but all those horses under the hood remain asleep.
 

aaadktda

macrumors regular
Sep 14, 2019
139
356
Let’s see if people vote with their wallets this generation.
I will. Where I live the M3 MBP with 8GB/512GB is the same price that the M1 Pro MBP with 16GB/512GB was when it launched. The M1 Pro was a much better balanced system.
Now it's like having a Ferrari engine connected to an Pacer transmition and a glove box for a trunk. In order to get a decent system you have to spend a lot of money. All because of the Apple sales strategy.
 

Harry Haller

macrumors 6502a
Oct 31, 2023
572
1,264
Looking forward to the M3 Ultra Studio.
Have pretty much written off the Mac Pro with it’s Studio performance and $3K pci slots.
Shame Apple wasn’t able to swing the Extreme M variants.
Latest Threadripper and Xeons are so much faster and expandable systems.
Wouldn’t be surprised to see the Mac Pro gone in a couple of years.
Hope I’m wrong.
 

azentropy

macrumors 601
Jul 19, 2002
4,054
5,457
Surprise
Nope, not for the regular consumer. Not at the configurations and prices they are most likely coming with after seen what Apple did with the M3 iMacs and MBPs.
 
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5232152

Cancelled
May 21, 2014
559
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Why pay premium for an old processor? I might be good enough, but if you expect to keep your product for a long time (most Mac users expect that) why settle for less.
This move of not upgrading the entire range is dumb as hell to me.
 
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