The M3 Ultra could debut this year – but is Apple leaving the Mac Pro out in the cold?

Mac Studio 2023
(Image credit: Apple)

The Mac Studio is one of the best Macs you can buy right now, cramming incredible performance into a surprisingly compact form factor. And according to TrendForce, it now looks like Apple is going to take it up a notch with a beefy new M3 Ultra chip, and that upgrade could happen in just a few months.

Specifically, we could see it make its debut at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June 2024. That roughly lines up with previous Ultra chips from Apple: the M1 Ultra appeared in March 2022, while the M2 Ultra was revealed at the WWDC show in June 2023.

The addition of the M3 Ultra is big news because of how impressive Apple’s M3 range of chips have been so far. The company launched the M3, M3 Pro and M3 Max in late 2023, and they all brought sizable gains thanks to the chips’ use of 3nm process tech. What that means in layman’s terms is these chips produce a ton of performance without cranking up the heat.

The M3 Ultra is set to take that to another level, as the Ultra line of chips is currently Apple’s most powerful option for Mac computers. Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman has previously reported that the M3 Ultra will have a massive 32 CPU cores and 80 GPU cores, making it the most powerful Mac chip available by far.

No Mac Pro update?

Tim Cook unveils Mac Pro in 2019

(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

The report from TrendForce references Chinese outlet ICsmart, which claims that the M3 Ultra “may debut in [a] revamped Mac Studio mid-year.” Interestingly, there is no mention of the Mac Pro in the claims from either TrendForce or ICsmart.

That could simply be an error. Or it could be that Apple is holding the M3 Ultra back from the Mac Pro, either temporarily or permanently. If the M3 Ultra really is going to come to the Mac Studio but not the Mac Pro in June, that would throw into question Apple’s commitment to the latter device and raise questions over whether the Mac Pro is being phased out.

We wouldn’t be entirely surprised if the Mac Pro skipped the M3 Ultra altogether. The Mac Pro is updated far less frequently than the Mac Studio: when Apple brought the M2 Ultra to the Mac Pro in 2023, it was the first chip update the computer had received since 2019. In fact, the Mac Pro was never outfitted with an M1-generation chip, so perhaps Apple has decided to only equip it with every other Apple silicon chip generation.

Chances are we’ll find out what Apple is up to at WWDC in June, and there might be further leaks and rumors before then. Then we’ll see if the Mac Pro really is going to be left out in the cold this year.

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Alex Blake
Freelance Contributor

Alex Blake has been fooling around with computers since the early 1990s, and since that time he's learned a thing or two about tech. No more than two things, though. That's all his brain can hold. As well as TechRadar, Alex writes for iMore, Digital Trends and Creative Bloq, among others. He was previously commissioning editor at MacFormat magazine. That means he mostly covers the world of Apple and its latest products, but also Windows, computer peripherals, mobile apps, and much more beyond. When not writing, you can find him hiking the English countryside and gaming on his PC.