Apple strikes back – a trio of M3 chips, new MacBook Pros, and iMac could be coming later today

MacBook Pro 14-inch (2023) in a studio with screen showing website
(Image credit: Future)

Apple is on the verge of unveiling some new Macs and quite the surprise in terms of multiple M3 chips, if a fresh rumor is right.

According to regular leaker Mark Gurman, Apple will be revealing three new M3 processors and revamped MacBook Pros along with a refreshed iMac at its ‘Scary Fast’ event (as shared in his newsletter for Bloomberg).

Gurman provides specs for those new M3 SoCs, which are the M3, M3 Pro and M3 Max (as expected).

Sprinkle seasoning liberally with all this, but we’re told the plain M3 will keep the same 8-core loadout as the M2 chip (with four performance and four efficiency cores, known as 4+4), and 10-cores for graphics, again sticking with the M2’s configuration.

It’ll be faster due to architectural improvements, of course, and will ‘support improved memory configurations’ Gurman notes.

The M3 Pro has purportedly had multiple spins tested, the one Gurman highlights having 12 cores (6+6) and 18 cores for graphics – but we’re informed higher-end variants could top out at 14 cores plus 20 graphics cores.

What about the M3 Max? This may extend as far as 16 cores (12 performance, four efficiency) and 40 graphics cores (as previously rumored by Gurman), though a less powerful spin may drop that to 32-core graphics.

We will supposedly be getting high-end MacBook Pro refreshes built around those M3 SoCs, as well as an iMac revamp for the first time in a long time (well over two years). No further details are imparted on those models, but it’s widely expected that the iMac will be a 24-inch model at this point.

We are told that the new Macs themselves are not going to make much in the way of changes on the design front, and the innovations will be mostly on the inside, primarily those new M3 processors, of course. We can expect to sit through a whole lot of slides touting the performance and efficiency of those chips, naturally.

Analysis: The need for more than speed to succeed?

The M3 was hinted at with the ‘Scary Fast’ tagline for the event, of course, but we weren’t expecting to see a full line-up of three M3 SoCs – normally, the beefier versions would come later.

This is still a rumor, so we don’t know anything for sure, but it’s promising plenty for Mac fans to get their teeth into later, with a potential trio of refreshed silicon, beefy new MacBook Pro models, and an iMac (those models being mainly what the grapevine has focused on in more recent rumors).

As we’ve discussed before, it does seem odd that Apple debuted revamped MacBook Pro models at the start of 2023, and in the same year, it’s purportedly refreshing them again.

Gurman points out that the reason for this is that those MacBook Pros were supposed to arrive late last year, not at the beginning of this one, so that has thrown Apple’s release schedule out somewhat. In short, this is a correction of that blip in the timeline.

It’s a fair point, as there were plenty of rumors around that MacBook Pro delay, but we must also consider a previously floated notion that Apple may be aiming to spark flagging Mac sales with something exciting. Enter stage left new and speedy M3 processors which need more than just an iMac to go in.

That said, M2 chips are already very impressive on the performance front, so there’s an argument that selling around speed upgrades, while doing basically nothing with design as this leak contends (and previous buzz, for that matter), may not be the ideal path forward to court would-be buyers.

To argue a counterpoint there, though, speed always dazzles, and we don’t know how good the M3 might be in terms of a step up – potentially very dazzling? Gurman tells us that the M3 will usher in ‘vastly improved speeds’ as well as better efficiency too (for longer battery life), so it could be beefier than we imagine.

Apple may well feel that it needs to get faster CPUs out there to stay ahead of the pack, too. Remember that Intel has Meteor Lake coming in promising some major steps forward with power efficiency (not to mention integrated graphics to rival a discrete laptop GPU for gaming). And Qualcomm‘s freshly revealed Snapdragon X Elite processor is doubtless more heat that Apple is feeling right now.

Finally, it’s worth recalling that any new MacBook Pro models may be thin on the ground to begin with, if another high-profile Apple leaker is right. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes M3 MacBook Pros weren’t supposed to be out until next year, and Apple has brought them forward (to spark sales, as mentioned before) – but as a result, production capacity might be limited, and therefore stock levels.

Thinking about it, that would make sense with Gurman asserting these will be high-end MacBook Pro models, as expensive machines wouldn’t be shifted in so much quantity as more entry-level laptops, obviously.

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Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).