At Apple’s ‘Scary Fast’ year-end event, the company took the wraps off a bunch of new processor hardware. Plus, the MacBook Pro and iMac lineup that will make use of them. Obviously, we don’t have local details for you yet but you can expect that the refreshed 14in and 16in MacBook Pros (plus one new entry-level model) and the upgraded 24in iMac to make landfall here soon.
Before they arrive, it’s worth taking a look at the various models including one that you’ll almost certainly not be able to buy here. The fully-loaded 16in M3 MacBook Pro uses the M3 Max processor, has 128GB of RAM crammed inside, and also hosts 8TB of SSD storage. In South African money, it’ll set buyers back R135,000 which, even for a MacBook, is a bit much. Let’s check out something more reasonable, shall we?
Apprentice MacBook Pro
Apple’s newest notebook is an entry-level Pro that replaces the last machine with the Touch Bar, the 13in MacBook Pro. ‘Entry-level’ is a relative term here — the model being replaced starts at R32,000 and the new M3 version is expected to retail for even more so you still need a bit of bank. The target market comprises “…students and business owners to aspiring musicians and video editors” so a little working capital is perhaps to be expected.
Apple promises a 60% speed boost over the M1 version but hasn’t said how much quicker it is over the outgoing 13in M2 Pro. It should be faster, we’re just not sure how much. Still, with Apple talking up its performance in Final Cut Pro, Xcode, and, er, Microsoft Excel, it should do well as an office machine. But we’re drawn to the upgraded 14in and 16in models using the M3 Pro and Max processors, for one simple reason.
It comes in black
The folks in Apple’s marketing department have chosen violence for the end of 2024. There’s an all-new Space Black colourway for the MacBook Pro but, as luck would have it, you can only have it if you opt for one of the bigger and better new processors on the block. The stock chipset just isn’t going to cut it. We kinda get it. Folks will pay more for the prettier thing but Apple’s also being kind of a dick right now.
There are other reasons to opt for the models with the M3 Pro and M3 Max chipsets. The performance increases are an obvious one but unified memory support of 36GB and up to 128GB (respectively) make these excellent choices for high-end work. Expect similarly high-end prices but if you want a slick black Mac, you’ll just have to unlimber that wallet and give Uncle Tim the money he’s owed.
Return of the iMac
The M3 chipset also presented Apple with the opportunity to upgrade the Apple iMac. Unfortunately, the upgrade is mostly in the processor department. That’s nothing to quibble over — the M3 chip at the new iMac’s heart makes it a compelling upgrade over older models but there’s nothing new in terms of visual design. A hoped-for second size (say, a 27in iMac) also failed to materialise.
There are minor other additions — WiFi 6E and a more environmentally friendly build process seem to be the major ones – but everything else new about this skimpy little desktop machine is conferred by the new silicon brain sitting inside its chassis.
Apple’s newest machines are all due to drop on 7 November in the US. We can expect a very brief delay here at home. If the pattern established by the iPhone 15’s launch holds true, this lot will hit South African shelves on 14 November.