Apple made the decision about three years ago to abandon Intel processors and develop its own chip. We are now several steps further and have arrived at the M3 Apple Silicon. Of course, this one is not out yet, but what do we know so far about this new computer chip?
If you currently buy a new Mac (whether it’s a Mac Mini or a MacBook), it’s guaranteed to have an M2 chip in it. Those chips are crazy fast thanks in part to 100 GB/s speeds from your SSD and up to 24 GB of working memory. But when can we expect the M3 version? Will we get a surprise during WWDC?
Apple manages to surpass Intel with the M3
The clever thing about Apple is that it manages to get the most out of even “older” silicon. The M2 is far from obsolete thanks to the Pro and Max versions, and then there’s the Ultra coming up.
But what can we expect from the Cupertino tech giant next? It’s hard to estimate when Apple will release the M3, but there’s a chance they’ll give a hint at this year’s WWDC.
Still, don’t expect to find it already in the yet-to-be-announced 15″ MacBook Air. It is more likely to see the light of day in a Mac later this year. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo does not expect production of the M3 to start until the middle of this year.
In addition, Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman has indicated that the first Mac with an M3 chip will likely be the 24-inch iMac. Right now, the current iMac still has an M1, so an upgrade does seem obvious, so there is a chance that Apple will skip the M2 entirely.
Who is Mark Gurman?
Mark Gurman is a technology journalist working at Bloomberg. He has been writing about Apple for more than a decade, previously worked for 9to5Mac and is among the most reliable sources. He is known anno 2023 mainly for his own newsletter: Power On.
Upgrading is impossible
If you (like a PC owner) want to upgrade to an M3 in your current system, you’re out of luck. Unfortunately, it’s Apple proprietary that you actually have to buy completely new hardware. Quite inconvenient, but for a good reason: Apple believes it is important that their Macs work extremely well with their silicon.
So it’s hard to put a price tag on the new M3. Should you do switch to, say, a 13-inch MacBook Air, chances are it will cost around $1,199.
Additionally, chances are that these will be the first Mac chips produced using TSMC’s 3nm manufacturing process. Yet there are reports that Apple may be skipping that process entirely and instead using the newer N3E process Time will tell.
If that’s true, we can probably count on even better power management and, as a result, longer battery life. And it’s not as if Apple’s current portable lineup falls short in that regard. In that regard, the launch of the M3 will be all the more exciting.
The iMac with the M1 chip. (Image: Apple Inc)
How much faster will Apple’s M3 chip be?
In addition, it is difficult to estimate how much faster the M3 will be compared to the current M2. However, some expect the high-end M3 chips to have up to forty CPU cores.
By comparison, the current chip with the highest specifications is the M2 Max with twelve CPU cores. So the M3 would be a huge step forward. So for now, it remains simply guessing in which Mac the chip will first appear and whether we will possibly get Pro, Max and Ultra versions in the longer term.
In other words, if you want to upgrade, it’s best to wait and see what happens this year, because there is light on the horizon.