I recently squawked about how the Mac has taken a back seat at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, and as a fan of the Mac, I wish Apple would do more Mac stuff. Apparently, my prayers have been answered! According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, “several new Macs” will be one of the “three major focus areas” at the WWDC keynote on June 5.
Several? What could those new Macs be? It’s not too hard to figure out, based on Apple’s release cycles. Mix that info with what’s been rumored, and we can come up with what Macs we could see at WWDC. Here’s a list, in order of likelihood.
15-inch MacBook Air
This new model has been rumored so much that if doesn’t happen, then either Apple performed a masterclass of deception or something drastic happened in development or production.
As for its specs, it’ll likely be a bigger version of the current 13-inch MacBook Air, with an M2 chip, 8GB/16GB/24GB of memory, a 256GB or 512GB SSD, and a LED display. It could be priced around $1,499, right between the 14-inch MacBook Pro and 13-inch Air.
Past reports have stated that Apple originally wanted this laptop to debut as part of a MacBook Air line refresh with the new M3 chip, but production of the chip has been delayed. Apple’s Mac sales have taken a hit recently, so the company is hoping this new Air will rejuvenate the market.
The current M1 Max/Ultra Mac Studio was released a year ago, which doesn’t make it that old. But Apple’s chips are fully into the M2 series, with the M2 Pro Mac mini launching this past January. Add in the recent Mark Gurman report that Apple will start taking the current Mac Studio in trade-ins, and it looks like the time for the M2 Mac/Ultra has come, so there’s a good chance we’ll see a Mac Studio upgrade.
The new Mac Studio will likely be little more than a chip refresh. Since this model is still relatively new to Apple’s lineup, Apple probably isn’t going to change anything about its base memory, SSD, ports, or design, though we could get higher storage or RAM options. As for its price, it could be the same as it is now, chances are it’ll start at $1,999, just as it does now.
This is the last Intel Mac standing, and should Apple introduce an M2 Ultra chip–the chip that would be at the heart of a Mac Pro–the timing for its reveal is right. An M-series Mac Pro has been delayed for unknown reasons, however, so there’s always a chance it doesn’t make an appearance.
The delay has gone on for so long that we wonder if Apple even needs to make a Mac Pro anymore. A new M2 Ultra Mac Studio could conceivably have as much processing power as a M2 Ultra Mac Pro, and Apple’s chips make upgrades to the memory, GPU, SSD, and other components practically impossible. So if Apple offers a Mac Pro, it has to do something totally different from the Mac Studio–and that’s an exciting proposition.
Pro Display XDR
Okay, this isn’t a Mac, but if Apple is going to release a new Mac Pro, it has to release a new Pro Display XDR, right? The current model is four years old so its display features could be modernized, and it doesn’t have other features such as a webcam or speakers. And it could use a ProMotion updgrade as well.
Making prognostications on the iMac is tricky. The current M1 iMac is more than two years old, so it’s due for an upgrade. Rumors of the iMac upgrade included an M3 chip, but since it’s not ready, Apple will likely turn to an M2 upgrade. That’s pretty straightforward.
It gets tricky when considering the reports of a larger iMac or iMac Pro. Making a higher-level iMac would fit Apple’s product pattern or having separate models for consumers and pros, so Apple could unveil an M2 Pro iMac with a 27-inch or larger display. However, rumblings about such an iMac have died down considerably, and it’s possible the 2021 rumors of a larger iMac were mistaken for the Studio Display.
13-inch MacBook Pro with M2 Pro
I haven’t fully convinced myself that this laptop will happen. But with a new 15-inch MacBook Air, the current M2 13-inch MacBook Pro becomes a misfit in Apple’s laptop lineup. The M3 chip, which is the typical upgrade path for this laptop, isn’t ready yet. Giving it an M2 Pro upgrade and raising the price could make it a better lineup fit as an affordable MacBook Pro option.
Or, Apple could decide to keep it on the path it is on now, which would mean it gets an M3 upgrade at a later date and no mention at WWDC. It’s a model that Apple seems to be intent on keeping for a while.
What we won’t see
The Mac mini and 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro got their M2 updates at the beginning of the year, so they obviously won’t get updated at WWDC. The 13-inch Air and Pro are probably safe too.
As for macOS 14, reports have said that the new Mac operating system will not have major updates that will dramatically change the way we use the Mac. Instead, it’ll have app feature updates and tweaks, and the interoperability between Macs, iPhones, iPad, and Apple Watches improves.