The M2 generation of Macs hasn’t yet finished rolling out, with a 15-inch M2 MacBook Air and potentially an M2 Ultra Mac Pro expected to debut at Apple’s upcoming WWDC event. But the company is already working hard to prepare the following generation of devices, with testing on the M3 processors well underway according to a new rumor.
In the latest installment of his Power On newsletter, Mark Gurman of Bloomberg claims that Apple is working on the next update to its Mac chip, citing data shared by an understandably anonymous App Store developer. The version of the M3 spotted in testing, believed to be an approximation of the baseline M3 Pro, has 12 CPU cores, split into six high-performance cores and six lower-power efficiency cores. That compares with 10 CPU cores (six high-power and four efficiency) in the M2 Pro and eight (four/four) in the M1 Pro. The report thus gains the boost in credibility that comes with being a logical progression from previous releases.
The purported M3 Pro also features 18 graphics cores (another logical progression from 16 in the M2 Pro and 14 in the M1 Pro) and 36GB of RAM (up from 32GB in both previous chips). Based on the various progressions, Gurman speculates that the M3 Max could feature 14 CPU cores and 40 graphics cores, while the M3 Ultra, thanks to the optimizations made possible by the 3nm manufacturing process, could “top out at 28 CPU cores and sport more than 80 graphics cores, up from a 64-core limit on the M1 Ultra.” These are going to be some seriously fast processors.
Gurman argues that the M3 could be a key plank in Apple’s strategy to win back customers to the Mac family, which experienced a 31 percent drop in revenue in the most recent financial results. The M3, he says, could help the company offer “fresh ways to entice customers back to the lineup.”
In other words, this is going to be a big year for the Mac. All eyes will be on WWDC next month for word on the remaining M2 machines, but Gurman thinks the first M3 Macs could at a push arrive by the end of 2023, or early in 2024. Apple, he has been told, is already working on M3-based versions of the iMac, the MacBook Pro, and the MacBook Air.