When to expect every Mac to get the AI-based M4 processor

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited April 16

Apple will reportedly update its entire Mac line to the M4 processor, beginning in late 2024 and concluding with the Mac Pro in the second half of 2025.

Open laptop on wooden table displaying colorful graphic on screen, with a blurry background of a room.
The 14-inch MacBook Pro is to be the first to gain the M4 processor
Following reports

that Apple is planning an M4 processor with AI features for the Mac, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has revealed an expected release schedule for the whole range. Writing in his "Power On" newsletter, he says that the transition will, unsurprisingly, start with the MacBook Pro.



According to Gurman, the plan is for these Macs to be updated to M4 around the end of the year:



Then between the end of 2024 and some time early in 2025, the list grows to include:



Following those, Gurman says that from spring to the end of 2025, Apple will complete moving the whole lineup to M4 in this sequence:



The fact that Apple is planning an M4 processor is no great surprise, nor that there will be at least some focus on supporting AI. However, this roadmap is the first indication that for once, no Mac will be left out of the updates.

Since the Mac Pro was considerably behind the rest of the lineup in moving to Apple Silicon, it skipped the original M1 processor. Since then, Apple decided against producing an M2 version of the 24-inch iMac.

Consequently, this is the first time since the launch of Apple Silicon that every Mac in the range is to get the same, latest processor.

There are few details of what the AI features in the M4 processor could be. However, Bloomberg has previously said that an M4 Ultra -- codenamed Hidra -- would increase its Unified Memory capacity to support up to half a terabyte.

It's also likely that Apple will further develop its existing Neural Engine element, presumably by increasing the number of cores.

Rumor Score: Possible

Read on AppleInsider

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 36
    Half a terabyte is a lot of unified memory.  It might be worth checking this report against memory roadmaps from SK Hynix, Samsung, and Micron.  
    jas99williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 36
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 3,345member
    That roadmap implies no m3 Mac mini. I wonder if there will also be no m3 Mac Studio and if maybe the Mac Studio will get an m4 faster than we’d otherwise expect. And if all that turns out to be true, I wonder if the explanation might be that the first 3nm process from TSMC had yield issues, so maybe Apple wants to move to N3E ASAP
    Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 36
    NYC362NYC362 Posts: 85member
    blastdoor said:
    That roadmap implies no m3 Mac mini. I wonder if there will also be no m3 Mac Studio and if maybe the Mac Studio will get an m4 faster than we’d otherwise expect. And if all that turns out to be true, I wonder if the explanation might be that the first 3nm process from TSMC had yield issues, so maybe Apple wants to move to N3E ASAP
    I wonder if we might see an intro of an M4 Max and Ultra for the Mac Studio and Mac Pro at WWDC.   Introduce them on June 10th, available on June 21 or 28 (which is a bit longer than the normal announcement to availability span for Apple)... that's 10 or 11 weeks away.  Considering the relative small numbers of units needed compared to MacBook Pros, this could be a possibility.  
     
    Also, putting an M3 Max and Ultra chip into a Studio in June, really makes no sense as the processors (at least for the Max) as it would already be eight months old.  
    edited April 14 Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 36
    boboliciousbobolicious Posts: 1,150member
    What's in a name...?
    Could this Hidra AI rollout be a person / job eating monster...?
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lernaean_Hydra
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBcaLNpSyNA
    williamlondonAlex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 36
    NYC362 said:
    blastdoor said:
    That roadmap implies no m3 Mac mini. I wonder if there will also be no m3 Mac Studio and if maybe the Mac Studio will get an m4 faster than we’d otherwise expect. And if all that turns out to be true, I wonder if the explanation might be that the first 3nm process from TSMC had yield issues, so maybe Apple wants to move to N3E ASAP
    I wonder if we might see an intro of an M4 Max and Ultra for the Mac Studio and Mac Pro at WWDC.   Introduce them on June 10th, available on June 21 or 28 (which is a bit longer than the normal announcement to availability span for Apple)... that's 10 or 11 weeks away.  Considering the relative small numbers of units needed compared to MacBook Pros, this could be a possibility.  
     
    Also, putting an M3 Max and Ultra chip into a Studio in June, really makes no sense as the processors (at least for the Max) as it would already be eight months old.  
    LOL, this is never going to happen.  The M4 is not that far along and the basic vanilla M4 would be the first one out of the fab due to less complexity compared to the Pro/Max/Ultra. Fabs rarely if ever start with the more advanced chips and then work backwards. Moreover, if the M4’s are ready now one has to question how many “AI” enhancements it actually has.   

     I would imagine Apple will have the vanilla M4 pretty much ready to go to production but it will not have much in terms of significant AI enhanced features that will be added to the Pro/Max/Ultra models in which I can see each iteration being more AI capable.  This also allows Apple to continue working on further AI enhancement capabilities that will be part of the Ultra or Max. 
    edited April 14 watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 36
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 3,206member
    It would be helpful if Apple engineered user-upgradeable memory slots into the Mac Pro. This would eat into revenue? It would sell more units.
    pulseimageswilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 36
    nubusnubus Posts: 414member
    jagrahax said:
    Half a terabyte is a lot of unified memory.  It might be worth checking this report against memory roadmaps from SK Hynix, Samsung, and Micron.  
    JESD318 CAMM2 is where everyone else are heading. We're talking compact fast memory that can be upgraded as needed.
    Imagine if Apple decided to move away from "you can only replace and never upgrade".

    williamlondon
  • Reply 8 of 36
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 3,345member
    NYC362 said:
    blastdoor said:
    That roadmap implies no m3 Mac mini. I wonder if there will also be no m3 Mac Studio and if maybe the Mac Studio will get an m4 faster than we’d otherwise expect. And if all that turns out to be true, I wonder if the explanation might be that the first 3nm process from TSMC had yield issues, so maybe Apple wants to move to N3E ASAP
    I wonder if we might see an intro of an M4 Max and Ultra for the Mac Studio and Mac Pro at WWDC.   Introduce them on June 10th, available on June 21 or 28 (which is a bit longer than the normal announcement to availability span for Apple)... that's 10 or 11 weeks away.  Considering the relative small numbers of units needed compared to MacBook Pros, this could be a possibility.  
     
    Also, putting an M3 Max and Ultra chip into a Studio in June, really makes no sense as the processors (at least for the Max) as it would already be eight months old.  
    LOL, this is never going to happen.  The M4 is not that far along and the basic vanilla M4 would be the first one out of the fab due to less complexity compared to the Pro/Max/Ultra. Fabs rarely if ever start with the more advanced chips and then work backwards. Moreover, if the M4’s are ready now one has to question how many “AI” enhancements it actually has.   

     I would imagine Apple will have the vanilla M4 pretty much ready to go to production but it will not have much in terms of significant AI enhanced features that will be added to the Pro/Max/Ultra models in which I can see each iteration being more AI capable.  This also allows Apple to continue working on further AI enhancement capabilities that will be part of the Ultra or Max. 
    I agree it is unlikely to happen in June, but never say never. The max and ultra are very low volume relative to other chips in apples lineup so it’s not crazy to think they could come earlier in the cycle than was the case for m1 and m2. 

    Heck, m3 max was out at the same time as m3, so there is that precedent. 
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 36
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 3,596member
    For marketing reasons Apple could call it the "M4I" processor since 4 looks like A, depending on the font used.
  • Reply 10 of 36
    blastdoor said:
    NYC362 said:
    blastdoor said:
    That roadmap implies no m3 Mac mini. I wonder if there will also be no m3 Mac Studio and if maybe the Mac Studio will get an m4 faster than we’d otherwise expect. And if all that turns out to be true, I wonder if the explanation might be that the first 3nm process from TSMC had yield issues, so maybe Apple wants to move to N3E ASAP
    I wonder if we might see an intro of an M4 Max and Ultra for the Mac Studio and Mac Pro at WWDC.   Introduce them on June 10th, available on June 21 or 28 (which is a bit longer than the normal announcement to availability span for Apple)... that's 10 or 11 weeks away.  Considering the relative small numbers of units needed compared to MacBook Pros, this could be a possibility.  
     
    Also, putting an M3 Max and Ultra chip into a Studio in June, really makes no sense as the processors (at least for the Max) as it would already be eight months old.  
    LOL, this is never going to happen.  The M4 is not that far along and the basic vanilla M4 would be the first one out of the fab due to less complexity compared to the Pro/Max/Ultra. Fabs rarely if ever start with the more advanced chips and then work backwards. Moreover, if the M4’s are ready now one has to question how many “AI” enhancements it actually has.   

     I would imagine Apple will have the vanilla M4 pretty much ready to go to production but it will not have much in terms of significant AI enhanced features that will be added to the Pro/Max/Ultra models in which I can see each iteration being more AI capable.  This also allows Apple to continue working on further AI enhancement capabilities that will be part of the Ultra or Max. 
    I agree it is unlikely to happen in June, but never say never. The max and ultra are very low volume relative to other chips in apples lineup so it’s not crazy to think they could come earlier in the cycle than was the case for m1 and m2. 

    Heck, m3 max was out at the same time as m3, so there is that precedent. 
    If for some reason the M4 max was released so soon I doubt it would have compelling AI capabilities since it seems Apple has been a little late to the AI party.  
    williamlondon
  • Reply 11 of 36
    smsmsmsm Posts: 14member
    I'm I the only person who doesn't want AI on his devices? So for the interaction I have had with AI has been Artificial Stupid not intelligence. If Apple forces AI with the next operating systems I will not install it or purchase any device with it pre-installed. I already have all the intelligence I need. I use my brain.
    williamlondonwatto_cobrabaconstang
  • Reply 12 of 36
    smsm said:
    I'm I the only person who doesn't want AI on his devices? So for the interaction I have had with AI has been Artificial Stupid not intelligence. If Apple forces AI with the next operating systems I will not install it or purchase any device with it pre-installed. I already have all the intelligence I need. I use my brain.
    Don’t worry. Your tinfoil hat will protect you.
    williamlondonwatto_cobraroundaboutnow
  • Reply 13 of 36
    smsm said:
    I'm I the only person who doesn't want AI on his devices? So for the interaction I have had with AI has been Artificial Stupid not intelligence. If Apple forces AI with the next operating systems I will not install it or purchase any device with it pre-installed. I already have all the intelligence I need. I use my brain.
    I hate to break it to you but the AI ship  set sail awhile ago. Apple has been including AI in it devices for the better part of a decade.  


    Alex1Nwilliamlondonwatto_cobraroundaboutnow
  • Reply 14 of 36
    XedXed Posts: 2,622member
    smsm said:
    I'm I the only person who doesn't want AI on his devices? So for the interaction I have had with AI has been Artificial Stupid not intelligence. If Apple forces AI with the next operating systems I will not install it or purchase any device with it pre-installed. I already have all the intelligence I need. I use my brain.
    So you have predictive text in Messages disabled?
    williamlondonwatto_cobraroundaboutnow
  • Reply 15 of 36
    smsmsmsm Posts: 14member
    Xed said:
    smsm said:
    I'm I the only person who doesn't want AI on his devices? So for the interaction I have had with AI has been Artificial Stupid not intelligence. If Apple forces AI with the next operating systems I will not install it or purchase any device with it pre-installed. I already have all the intelligence I need. I use my brain.
    So you have predictive text in Messages disabled?

    So AI built in to the next operating systems will only work with an internet connection as they do now? What I don’t want is my own device creating this. I’m not aware that this is happening yet.

    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 36
    XedXed Posts: 2,622member
    smsm said:
    Xed said:
    smsm said:
    I'm I the only person who doesn't want AI on his devices? So for the interaction I have had with AI has been Artificial Stupid not intelligence. If Apple forces AI with the next operating systems I will not install it or purchase any device with it pre-installed. I already have all the intelligence I need. I use my brain.
    So you have predictive text in Messages disabled?
    So AI built in to the next operating systems will only work with an internet connection as they do now? What I don’t want is my own device creating this. I’m not aware that this is happening yet.
    Not sure why we're still going around this same mulberry bush, but Apple has incorporated on-device AI since at least 2017 right in their A11 chip and OS code.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_A11#Neural_Engine
    edited April 14 williamlondonAlex1Nwatto_cobraroundaboutnow
  • Reply 17 of 36
    smsm said:
    Xed said:
    smsm said:
    I'm I the only person who doesn't want AI on his devices? So for the interaction I have had with AI has been Artificial Stupid not intelligence. If Apple forces AI with the next operating systems I will not install it or purchase any device with it pre-installed. I already have all the intelligence I need. I use my brain.
    So you have predictive text in Messages disabled?

    So AI built in to the next operating systems will only work with an internet connection as they do now? What I don’t want is my own device creating this. I’m not aware that this is happening yet.

    I think the problem here is you don’t know what AI is. Ironic given that you were bragging about your own intelligence.
    edited April 14 williamlondonwatto_cobraroundaboutnow
  • Reply 18 of 36
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 2,348member
    So it wasn't Gurman who was promoting last week the rumour Apple would start the M4 line with the Ultra as a single die chip maybe as early as WWDC?  


    Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 36
    Amazing how this same one bit of rumor went from “improvements to the Neural Engine” and now with that exact same bit of RUMOR, it’s “AI-based processor M4”

    the idea of the 24 hour news cycle will be the end of the human race. 
    Alex1Nwatto_cobraprogrammerbaconstang
  • Reply 20 of 36
    XedXed Posts: 2,622member
    Amazing how this same one bit of rumor went from “improvements to the Neural Engine” and now with that exact same bit of RUMOR, it’s “AI-based processor M4”

    the idea of the 24 hour news cycle will be the end of the human race. 
    I think your second point may be correct, but I'm not seeing what your first sentence has to do with anything. Your quoted portions are basically saying the same thing.
    Alex1Nwatto_cobra
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