A week after reporting that Apple is testing M3-powered Macs, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman is back with fresh new details on Apple’s M3 family of chips, including rumors about the M3 Pro, M3 Max, and M3 Ultra chips.
In his newest Power On newsletter, Gurman claims that using developer logs, he can “paint a fairly clear picture of the M3 Mac road map.”
To refresh existing information, the M3 is expected to have eight CPU cores, four performance and four efficiency cores, alongside 10 GPU cores. Gurman expects a handful of Macs to come with this chip, including the base MacBook Pro, 13-inch MacBook Air, 15-inch MacBook Air, Mac mini, and iMac. He adds that the next iPad Pro will also use the M3 chip.
The M3 Pro will come in at least two configurations, with the base version sporting a dozen CPU cores (six performance and six efficiency), and 18 GPU cores. A top configuration, something Apple has done with its M1 Pro and M2 Pro chips, will include 14 CPU cores (eight performance and six efficiency) and 20 GPU cores. Gurman believes that Apple’s higher-end 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pro models and a more powerful Mac mini will include the M3 Pro.
Next up is the M3 Max. The base configuration of this chip should include 16 CPU cores and 32 GPU cores. Gurman thinks the M3 Max will have just four efficiency cores. That remains the case with the highest-end M3 Max, which includes 16 CPU cores and 40 GPU cores. The powerful MacBook Pros and the Mac Studio will offer configurations with the M3 Max.
While Gurman has previously reported on each of these M3 chips, his information about the M3 Ultra is entirely new and helps Gurman speculate about the complete M3 roadmap.
The M3 Ultra will start with 32 CPU cores (24 performance and eight efficiency) and 64 GPU cores. The most powerful configuration of the M3 Ultra is expected to include the same 32 CPU cores but 80 GPU cores.
Compared to the M2 Ultra, the M3 Ultra will start with eight more CPU cores and four more GPU cores. The highest-end M2 Ultra available now includes a 24-core CPU and 76-core GPU. The M3 Ultra seems poised to offer a modest improvement in terms of core counts and should, in turn, support more unified memory than the 192GB that Apple currently offers.
Like the M2 Ultra, Gurman thinks the M3 Ultra will be available only on the Mac Studio and Pro models. Of note is that Gurman adds, “If Apple continues making those,” in reference to the Mac Pro.
It would be quite fascinating if, after such a long wait for the Mac Pro to join the ranks of Apple Silicon, Apple ditched it again after a single generation. That said, the Mac Studio is practically the same computer as the Mac Pro, albeit without the same degree of expansion.
Returning to the memory discussion, Gurman writes, “Another change coming in the M3 generation of Macs could be the amount of memory. The MacBook Pros in testing include 36 gigabytes and 48 gigabytes, suggesting some possible new options. Right now, MacBook Pros can be ordered with 16-, 32-, 64- and 96-gigabyte configurations.”
As Gurman has long said, he still believes that the M3 will debut this October with new notebooks and maybe a new Mac mini. The M3 Pro, Max, and Ultra chips are unlikely to arrive before 2024. He adds that the M3 Ultra may not come until the end of 2024 “at the earliest.”
After the initial excitement of Apple launching its first silicon in November 2020 and Apple subsequently redesigning many of its computers, Apple is settling into a fairly regular release schedule. With the introduction of the new Mac Pro at this year’s WWDC event, Apple has fully transitioned its entire Mac lineup to in-house silicon.
This past April, industry analysts such as Forbes reported that Apple’s Mac shipments had fallen more than 40% the previous quarter, the most significant drop of any major PC maker.
There are a few ways to consider this report. On the one hand, inflation has tightened the purse strings of many consumers. However, on the other hand, even Apple’s M1-series chips continue to perform exceptionally well, and consumers are not feeling the pressure to upgrade as often as they might have during Apple’s Intel era.
In any case, if Gurman’s latest reporting is accurate — and it frequently is — then customers looking to upgrade from earlier Apple silicon or join the Apple M family for the first time will have plenty of options starting this fall.
Image credits: Apple