After Apple's busy January, the rest of the quarter may be quiet

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 22
Apple's flurry of January launches may be the company's last major releases for some time, with a lack of inbound new products expected for the second quarter meaning there could be quite a few months to wait for something new to surface.

The M2 Mac mini
The M2 Mac mini


Apple's unexpected January launches covered a number of areas, including the revival of the HomePod, the introduction of the M2 Pro and M2 Max chips, an updated Mac mini, and new 14-inch MacBook Pro and 16-inch MacBook Pro units.

However, Apple's decision to launch so early in the year may dampen expectations for spring launches, which could mean no hardware introductions in March or the second quarter.

In 2022, Apple's spring launches included the 5G iPhone SE, the Mac Studio, and the Studio Display. According to Mark Gurman's "Power On" newsletter for Bloomberg, "there is no equivalent stream of new products coming in Q2 this year."

The early launches are apparently going to help make the Q1 results seem "a bit less painful" than they could've been. Wall Street is now apparently expecting Q1 revenue of $122.2 billion, which is a small decline and far from a "disaster," while Q2 is anticipated to be flat at $97.5 billion.

With Apple set to announce the critical holiday quarter earnings on February 2, it is likely that more opinion and reasoning behind the launches will be offered by CEO Tim Cook and CFO Luca Maestri as part of the usual analyst conference call.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    nubusnubus Posts: 128member
    Both iMac and Studio should have received M2 by now. Those are premium products. With MBP 13 and mini - the two low-end products on M2 (and the mini using M2 Pro) iMac and Studio are in need upgrades this quarter. What could be the reasons for Apple to let their premium desktop products stay on old tech?
    keithwwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 14
    red oakred oak Posts: 986member
    We’ll, there is the rumored announcement of the VR/AR headset in the Spring,  with detailed developer sessions at WWDC.  Perhaps they wanted to “clear the deck” to get ready for this 

    Also,  iMac and Studio updates are likely for the Spring.   To be done before they announce the Mac Pro at or around WWDC 

    Other candidates for Spring updates:  AirPod Max, XDR Display, MacBook Air 15”,   Classic Music App 
    muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobraFileMakerFellerfastasleep
  • Reply 3 of 14
    It's just stating the obvious that all they have left is an iMac refresh and an iPad Air refresh. Both are functioning now as ways to draw down their M1 inventory? Neither would be "new products" so press releases and a colorful, fun video would do. Note that May 21 will be the two year anniversary of the release of the M1 iMac.

    I think it's interesting they still have the M1 (7-core GPU) MacBook Air on sale, alongside the M2 Air. It wouldn't be surprising if the iMac went the same way, with the M1 (8-core GPU) iMac on sale beside the M2 iMac. If the M2 iMac were to have M2 Pro/Max as well, then it could step into that role (clearing M2 inventory) in the future, after M3 rolls out.

    If anything, all Gurman’s prediction really says is that the Mac Pro and Mac Studio refresh(es), while likely to be introduced in Q2 at WWDC, won't be available until later in the year. Same for new or refreshed displays, and of course the reality device. None of it will go on sale in Q2.
    edited January 22 doggonewatto_cobraFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 4 of 14
    I don’t think the rest of the quarter will be quiet. 

    If Apple had nothing, they’d likely push the HomePod into February to give the market more time to absorb the MACBOOKS AND MINIs. 
    y2anDAalsethwatto_cobraFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 5 of 14
    y2any2an Posts: 144member
    Seriously. These suggestions have no basis in reality. Launching upgrades involves significant work, it’s not something casually tossed out to tame the markets like a sales promo. The Jan upgrades are the tip of the iceberg, and we will see they were necessary to get out of the way to rationalise the product line for whatever comes next. 
    tenthousandthingswatto_cobraFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 6 of 14
    What if new M2 launches are basically done?  What if Gurman is right in that M3 is near ready to launch?  Maybe because of the delays via supply chain it's pushed Apple's roadmap to a weird place where M2 is launching later than Apple wanted but pushed it back into the M3 launch window?  What if they opt to hold launches untl Q3/Q4 and ship the Studio, Pro, iMac, and larger Macbooks on M3 leaving the Macbook Air, 13" MB Pro, and Mac Mini on M2 until early 2024?  Think about it like this...  the lineup is currently on 5nm, 5nm Gen 2.  If you move things to M3 it'll be on 3nm which will provide greater performance enhancements in terms of speed and energy efficiency.  All are on different lines and therefore that helps with supply chain and product volume (something that with COVID has been a challenge at times).  This can be a bet Apple hedges on until they're sure 3nm is solidified to move more of the lineup over to M3 (i.e. maybe they pay for more fab capacity in transitioning a fab, if possible, to additional 3nm parts -- or, as the Macbook Pro and MacBook Air and Mini transition to 3nm M3's...  it might shift more of the product to M4 by then on whatever node it's on), while keeping 5nm gen 2 as a possible entry-level pathway with M2's for the models leftover that are still shipping with M1 chipsin 2024.  Just something to think about since it's widespread speculation anyhow.  It makes reasonable sense if M3 is closer to ready to launch it sooner especially since it would allow the Studio to separate itself a bit more from the Mac Mini wth M2 Pro.  Right now there's questionable value for many for whether to buy a Mac mini with M2 Pro or a Studio with the M1 Max.  You can argue that you want to change that sooner than later...  but shifting directly to M3 by Q3 would create greater separation.  It might bring questions with the Mac Pro then...  but...  Mac Pro is likely an Ultra level machine that also relies on PCI expansion of some sort and possible SDK's for PCI-based expansion.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 14
    Gurmy is always vague and bet-hedging so he can claim hits to his predictions like the psychics at the fun-fair. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 14
    What if new M2 launches are basically done?  What if Gurman is right in that M3 is near ready to launch?  Maybe because of the delays via supply chain it's pushed Apple's roadmap to a weird place where M2 is launching later than Apple wanted but pushed it back into the M3 launch window?  What if they opt to hold launches untl Q3/Q4 and ship the Studio, Pro, iMac, and larger Macbooks on M3 leaving the Macbook Air, 13" MB Pro, and Mac Mini on M2 until early 2024?  Think about it like this...  the lineup is currently on 5nm, 5nm Gen 2.  If you move things to M3 it'll be on 3nm which will provide greater performance enhancements in terms of speed and energy efficiency.  All are on different lines and therefore that helps with supply chain and product volume (something that with COVID has been a challenge at times).  This can be a bet Apple hedges on until they're sure 3nm is solidified to move more of the lineup over to M3 (i.e. maybe they pay for more fab capacity in transitioning a fab, if possible, to additional 3nm parts -- or, as the Macbook Pro and MacBook Air and Mini transition to 3nm M3's...  it might shift more of the product to M4 by then on whatever node it's on), while keeping 5nm gen 2 as a possible entry-level pathway with M2's for the models leftover that are still shipping with M1 chipsin 2024.  Just something to think about since it's widespread speculation anyhow.  It makes reasonable sense if M3 is closer to ready to launch it sooner especially since it would allow the Studio to separate itself a bit more from the Mac Mini wth M2 Pro.  Right now there's questionable value for many for whether to buy a Mac mini with M2 Pro or a Studio with the M1 Max.  You can argue that you want to change that sooner than later...  but shifting directly to M3 by Q3 would create greater separation.  It might bring questions with the Mac Pro then...  but...  Mac Pro is likely an Ultra level machine that also relies on PCI expansion of some sort and possible SDK's for PCI-based expansion.
    Pretty much everything Gurman said in June 2022 (after the M2 MacBook Air launch) was accurate, some was delayed, but most of it has taken shape at this point. But two elements are missing, the first is the Mac Pro and M2 Ultra and "Extreme" (the scare quotes are Gurman's) -- given the existence of the M2 Max, the M2 Ultra is likely set, and so is the Mac Pro, but other rumors say the Extreme has been dropped. I think it's possible the M2 Extreme is just fine, but it's on a different TSMC node, probably N4 like the A16. 

    The other missing element, the M3 iMac and MacBook Air, wasn't expected by now. An October 2023 launch would just barely be inside the window of possibility for TSMC 3nm, and only if it is the first generation, N3. The weirdest thing about that was the M3 iMac. It was and still is a strange nugget of information. But I have to admit, it has held up so far. Very strange. My theory is in my comment above, that the iMac, like the MacBook Air, will be available with both older Apple Silicon (possibly only for Education) and current Apple Silicon. Supply chain issues threw this off, but going forward that's how it will be.

    NOTE: There's also an assumption that Apple is going to be out in front, on the cutting edge of TSMC 3nm, but you've got to wonder about that. Changing manufacturing process nodes is expensive and problematic. Apple has a lot of experience with it (I count nine TSMC node changes in the A series since 2014), but the 3nm shift is a big change and thus a big risk. There's a possibility that M3/A17 won't be 3nm at all, but rather N4P. [Not N4X, however, that seems to be money-is-no-object HPC-server territory.] Although I think if that were the case, Apple would have tamped down the M3=N3 speculation by now.
    edited January 22 watto_cobraFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 9 of 14
    JP234JP234 Posts: 758member
    I was waiting for the M1 Mac Mini to go on sale when the M2 came out. But at $599, I just ordered the M2 version. I'll add a 2 TB external drive for about $70 instead of paying Apple a ridiculous extra $540 for a 2TB internal SSD. Heck, I could get a Western Digital 20 TB desktop drive for $449 if I needed that much storage. And I really don't need SSD storage for docs, music, photos and movies. Already have a 3 TB level 5 RAID for Time Machine backups.
    muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobraFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 10 of 14
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,872moderator
    The other missing element, the M3 iMac and MacBook Air, wasn't expected by now. An October 2023 launch would just barely be inside the window of possibility for TSMC 3nm, and only if it is the first generation, N3. The weirdest thing about that was the M3 iMac. It was and still is a strange nugget of information. But I have to admit, it has held up so far. Very strange. My theory is in my comment above, that the iMac, like the MacBook Air, will be available with both older Apple Silicon (possibly only for Education) and current Apple Silicon. Supply chain issues threw this off, but going forward that's how it will be.

    NOTE: There's also an assumption that Apple is going to be out in front, on the cutting edge of TSMC 3nm, but you've got to wonder about that. Changing manufacturing process nodes is expensive and problematic. Apple has a lot of experience with it (I count nine TSMC node changes in the A series since 2014), but the 3nm shift is a big change and thus a big risk. There's a possibility that M3/A17 won't be 3nm at all, but rather N4P. [Not N4X, however, that seems to be money-is-no-object HPC-server territory.] Although I think if that were the case, Apple would have tamped down the M3=N3 speculation by now.
    TSMC mass production started at the beginning of the year and they have good yields. Cycle time is noted here as over 100 days:

    https://www.tomshardware.com/news/tsmc-first-n3-chips-in-q1-2023-n3e-node-incoming

    That's Q2 at the earliest. Anything Q2 or later would be fine, especially Macs as the unit volume is relatively low vs iPhone.

    If N3 is shipping mid-Q2 (May), they have until September for iPhone volume and Apple can do what they did with iPhone 14 and put the old one in the low end.

    I could see them doing the M3 Air in Q2 but there wouldn't be much harm in launching it in Q3 as it gives Apple time to complete the M2 lineup. Mac Studio, iMac and Mac Pro can be updated to M2 at the same time. WWDC is a good time to mention the end of the transition.

    Given that M3 is the basis for all the other chips, if they have new features like hardware raytracing and other technology like frame generation (creating frames between other frames to double framerate), that would be worth an event in Q3 (October).
    tenthousandthingsspongezillawatto_cobraFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 11 of 14
    nubus said:
    Both iMac and Studio should have received M2 by now. Those are premium products. With MBP 13 and mini - the two low-end products on M2 (and the mini using M2 Pro) iMac and Studio are in need upgrades this quarter. What could be the reasons for Apple to let their premium desktop products stay on old tech?
    To understand why Apple didn't "update" their premium desktops to the M2, you need to leave the Apple bubble a bit. All of the Apple fans - which includes pretty much everyone in the tech and mainstream media except sites committed to Windows - are raving over how improved the M2 is over the M1. Benchmarks
    M1 benchmarks. Single core: 1651 Multicore: 5181
    M2 benchmarks. Single core: 1951 Multicore: 9003
    M2 Pro benchmarks. Single core: 1952 Multicore 15013.
    Fantastic right? Actually, no. 

    To clarify:
    Mx = Intel Core i3 and AMD Ryzen 3 (Apple has an advantage here)
    Mx Pro = Intel Core i5 and AMD Ryzen 5 (a wash)
    Mx Max = Intel Core i7 and AMD Ryzen 7 (Apple loses their advantage)
    Mx Ultra = Intel Core i9 and AMD Ryzen 9 (Intel and AMD are clearly ahead)
    Mx Extreme = Intel Xeon W and AMD Threadripper (the Extreme doesn't exist yet so ...)

    I will grant you: the $599 Mac Mini is currently the best deal in computing. But despite TechRadar's "Apple now has no serious rivals in the computing space" claim ... the gap is a river, not an ocean or even a lake. An AMD Ryzen 5 6600H (6nm) benchmarks 1472 single core, 8054 multicore, offers RDNA2 graphics and you can get it in a mini-PC with 16 GB RAM for $589. And the AMD Ryzen 7040 series that AMD used to call out Apple over? It's 4nm Ryzen 5 7640HS with RDNA 3 graphics will be available in systems soon that will be in direct competition with the Mac Mini in a few months. (I won't list Intel here because Intel's Iris Xe graphics won't become competitive with Apple and AMD until Meteor Lake releases 4Q. More on that later.)

    The AMD Ryzen 5 7600X loses to the M2 Pro in multicore (15013 to 11000) but it beats it in multicore: 2200 to 1952. The Intel Core i5-13600K beats the M2 Pro in both: single core as high as 2270 and multicore as high as 17300 on Geekbench. And that is a 10nm chip. Any guesses as to how fast the 7nm Core i5-14600K that launches 4Q2023 will be? And yes, Core i5/Ryzen 5 systems still cost less than the $1300 for an M2 Pro Mac Mini even when they have midlevel discrete GPUs like the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060.

    This is why it is better that the last batch of 5nm chips go to Apple's "low end products": the AMD and Intel competition in 2023 is cheaper and better. You may not want the premium products to wait on the 3nm M3 so that they won't be outclassed, but you can bet that Apple does. And before anyone brings up the "Apple gets much better power per watt" yes I am aware that tons of tech media types choose to take seriously "light thin devices with 12 hour battery life that barely need their fans are more important than single core and multicore performance because we say so" when it comes to laptops. With desktops? Nobody cares. If Mac desktops and workstations don't do software engineering optimization, rendering, 3D modeling, CAD etc. faster than Core i7 and Threadripper machines, then that is what the competition is going to buy.
    edited January 22 FileMakerFellerfastasleep
  • Reply 12 of 14
    I have been using a 2011 Quad-Core i7 27" iMac, the last iMac with a DVD/CD Burner, that had been upgraded to a 2TB SSD and 32GB of RAM. I tried to wait for an Apple-Silicon 27" Replacement, but I have been stuck at El Capitan for years because of its age. It was still relatively Fast, but it can't be upgraded, and its better days were behind it. I like that you can upgrade your Monitor with a Mac Studio or Mac Mini, but I prefer the iMac with its Gorgeous Screen, Flexibility , and  Solid performance. I  recently bought a 27" 5K iMac with Nano-Textured Screen, 16GB  XT- Series Graphics Card, i9 Intel Processor, 8TB SSD,64GB of RAM, but I expect Apple to Flop on me now. With Apple Care +, for the next three years, I just hope I didn't make a mistake, but I wasn't waiting any longer.  Apple hangs us out to dry, sometimes. I am now fully up-to-date with my Software , I couldn't even go to some websites with Safari.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 14
    fred1fred1 Posts: 1,038member
    May = may not. That’s news?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 14
    keithwkeithw Posts: 104member
    Now that the M2 Max is available, I can't envision anybody buying a Studio right now.  Maybe the speculation that the Studio will be skipping the M2 generation and going directly to M3 may be accurate.   It will be interesting to see what they upgrade it to and when.  In the mean time, I'll just keep using my 2017 iMac Pro (updated with a high-end eGPU and external XDR monitor.)
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