At WWDC last month, Apple unveiled a batch of new Macs, including models based on the M2, M2 Max, and M2 Ultra processors. The second generation of Apple’s M-class chips first appeared in June 2022, so there were hopes that we might get a glimpse of the M3 at this year’s summer event. Those hopes were dashed.
Still, we may not have to wait much longer for the third generation, if Mark Gurman’s sources are correct. The widely read Bloomberg leaker-analyst has predicted in the latest edition of his Power On newsletter that this September’s iPhone and Apple Watch launches will be quickly followed by a second fall event focusing on the Mac.
“Now that Apple has gotten the 15-inch MacBook Air and new M2 Ultra-based Macs out the door,” Gurman writes, “the October launch could feature the first Macs with M3 chips. October is too early for new high-end MacBook Pros or desktops, so the first beneficiaries of the new chip should be the next iMac, 13-inch MacBook Air, and 13-inch MacBook Pro.”
While optimists had hoped to see the M3 at WWDC, most analysts had suggested it was unlikely to appear that soon, and Gurman’s new prediction for the launch is actually earlier than some expect. Based on projected chip production schedules, there’s reason to fear that the next new Mac won’t arrive until 2024; one Twitter user with a record of accurate leaks has specifically claimed that Apple won’t launch an M3 Mac or iPad this year. By comparison, Gurman’s prophecy is positively optimistic.
Apple has form for holding multiple fall events, reasoning presumably that announcing new Macs in the same presentation as a new iPhone and Apple Watch will result in it getting far less press coverage. In 2016, 2018, and 2021, there were events in both September and October, with at least one Mac unveiled in the latter month; and in 2020 Apple actually held three in consecutive months: September, October, and November. (That year, the November event was dedicated to the Mac.) The advent of virtual gatherings made such rapid-fire events more logistically manageable, but in recent years, while the presentation itself is pre-recorded, delegates have been invited to an in-person showing followed by hands-on demonstrations. The triple play is unlikely to be repeated unless another pandemic comes along.
The M3 chip is expected to bring significant performance gains. Based on an all-new 3nm process, it’s been reported that speed gains will be greater than the M2, which uses an enhanced 5nm process. It could also deliver longer batter life due to greater power efficiency.
Before October, of course, all eyes will turn to Apple’s September event, by some distance the most important date in the company’s calendar. The iPhone 15 handsets will be the flagship launch, capped by the top-end 15 Pro Max. But we also expect to see the Apple Watch Series 9 and, if rumors are correct, the second generation of Apple Watch Ultra. Add in the M3 chip, and it’s shaping up to be a huge fall.