It’s been a busy year for Apple. Not only did it get the world in a dither over its potentially game-changing Vision Pro headset before unleashing new iPhones onto the market a little over a month ago, but now it’s also got a slate of new Macs on the way. We think. We’ll only find out later today (technically tomorrow if you’re a biltong-eater) at Apple’s ‘Scary Fast’ event.
Until the 17:00 PT kick-off (02:00 on 31 October in South Africa), everything Apple is hearsay. Fortunately, most of that hearsay is coming from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, whose ‘Power On’ newsletter promises that Apple will finally reveal what it’s been doing to the Mac name for the past two years. If we were into betting, we’d guess that ‘Scary Fast’ tagline has to do with the M3 chips also expected to make their debut at the event.
Sure, we’re excited about the possibility of a couple of too-expensive Macs turning up, but it’s the M3 chips that might compel us to rise for the 02:00 start time. That’s still unlikely, but the fact we’re even considering it is telling enough. That’s partly because they’ll eventually get time to shine inside some of Apple’s cheaper Macs and iPad Pros.
If Gurman is right (and he usually is) we could be seeing more than one M3 chip land. Specifically, there will be the M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max, with Apple shining the spotlight on the chips’ switch to a more advanced 3nm production. They’re being bandied as a “considerable leap” from the M2, vastly improving speeds and efficiency that’ll make the MacBook’s life that much longer.
Expect Apple to get into the nitty-gritty of it all later, but we’ve got a general idea of what to expect from the big fruit company in that regard.
Fall where the chips may…
From the baby of the line-up, the standard M3 chip, expect to see the central processing unit donning eight cores. Four of those will handle high-performance tasks, while the other four will be reserved for background functions. Don’t expect anything less than ten cores for the chip’s graphical prowess. That all might sound mightily similar to the M2’s stats because, well, they are. M3 will likely make up for the repeated hardware with speedier individual cores and improved memory configurations.
One-upping the M3 is the M3 Pro which betters its smaller brother with more cores (twelve CPU and eighteen graphical) at the base level. Gurman reckons that “higher-end versions” could arrive touting fourteen CPU cores and twenty graphics cores, though.
And finally, we come to the M3 Max, the most sophisticated of the bunch. It’ll also cost the most, but that’s a band-aid Apple can rip off without any help from us. It might just be worth whatever figure Apple throws out there, with the possibility of sixteen CPU cores (twelve for performance and four for background tasks) and 40 graphics cores showing up.
Not much else
As for the iMacs and MacBooks these chips will be slotting into, don’t expect much. We’ll probably get to see a new iMac and some MacBook Pros that bring speedier internals with and nothing new in terms of design. Perhaps we’ll learn a new synonym for Pro, Max, or Ultra, but nothing tangible. Oh, and don’t forget the new USB-C Magic Keyboard, Mouse and Magic Trackpad.
Just don’t expect anything too showy at the event (embedded above). There’s probably going to be plenty of chatter about tech specs and core speeds that might not interest the layman. Maybe we will stay in bed for this one after all.