Apple is testing computers with a yet-to-be-announced M3 chip according to a new report. The upcoming processor could debut in a new Mac as soon as October.
In the May 14th issue of his Power On newsletter, Gurman reported that Apple was “already ramping up testing of M3 chips.” This news came just a few weeks before Apple unveiled the M2 Ultra chip, its most powerful chip ever, at Apple’s annual WWDC event.
In May, one version of the M3 chip undergoing testing reportedly featured a dozen CPU cores, 18 graphics cores, and 36 GB of memory. The data was shared with Gurman by an App Store developer; the alleged M3 chip was in testing within a MacBook Pro.
Speculating that the tested chip is perhaps a base version of a potential M3 Pro chip, it includes two more CPU cores and graphics cores than the M2 Pro, plus an additional 4GB of memory. The M2 Pro was a similar iterative improvement to the M1 Pro, adding two CPU and GPU cores while maintaining 32GB of RAM.
Apple is expected to use 3-nanometer manufacturing for the M3 chips to fit that many cores on a single chip. “That approach allows for higher-density chips, meaning a designer can fit more cores into an already small processor,” Gurman wrote in May.
In his latest newsletter, Gurman says he learned of a Mac running a base M3 chip. The Mac in testing includes eight CPU cores, 10 graphics cores, and 24GB of system memory. Gurman believes the Mac in question, which runs macOS Sonoma 14.1, is “probably” a next-generation Mac mini desktop computer.
If these reports are accurate, the entry-level M3 chip sports the same core counts as the standard-issue M2.
Based on third-party developer logs shared with Gurman, he believes that in addition to the M3-powered Mac mini refresh, Apple is developing M3 versions of the MacBook Air, including the new 15-inch version, the 13-inch MacBook Pro, and an iMac.
As for the M3 Pro and M3 Max chips, Gurman thinks Apple is working on 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models. “I estimate that a high-end M3 Max could reach 14 CPU cores and over 40 graphics cores,” adds Gurman.
“The struggling Mac business could use a boost, but it will take time for these new machines to show up in Apple’s results. During the latest earnings call, the company said it anticipates that Mac revenue will decline by a double-digit percentage in the fourth quarter. Apple won’t be launching any new Macs until the first quarter of fiscal 2024 (which begins at the start of October), so existing Macs will have to drive sales for a while,” Gurman concludes.
Image credits: Apple