Signs point to Apple Silicon M3 reveal at 'Scary Fast' event
Just a week ago, the top leakers were expecting M3 Macs in 2024, but have changed their tune and are now expecting an updated iMac and MacBook Pro with M3 during the "Scary Fast" Apple Event -- but some things don't add up.
24-inch iMac with M3 could be revealed
The rumor cycle has been in chaos in recent weeks. First, a bevy of leakers suggested iPads would arrive -- which didn't. Instead, we got the Apple Pencil with USB-C.
Seven days after saying M3 in 2024, Mark Gurman on October 22 entered the ring with an end-of-October Apple event prediction, which was announced on Tuesday. "Scary Fast" is the tagline for this event, and a Happy Mac icon is used for the artwork.
All signs point to some kind of Mac reveal, but which models and chipsets are still in some question. The general leaker commentary remained eerily silent since Gurman's October event proclamation on Sunday, and Kuo has since reversed course on a previous timeline he shared. And, on Tuesday, nine days after that M3 in 2024 prediction, Gurman now thinks that Monday is the day.
The case for M3 at Scary Fast
M3 could be revealed during Scary Fast event
M2 was revealed during WWDC in 2022, only three months after M1 Ultra arrived in Mac Studio. Since then, we've seen M2 Pro, M2 Max, and M2 Ultra -- all within about 12 months.
So, it stands to reason that M3 could arrive three months after M2 Ultra at a late October event. Mark Gurman suggests a 24-inch iMac update is possible, while Ming-Chi Kuo points to a 13-inch MacBook Pro refresh.
Since the 15-inch MacBook Air was only just updated with M2, it seems unlikely that either MacBook Air model will get an update so soon. Apple's other Macs use higher-end chipsets, and M3 Pro likely isn't ready for prime time.
Apple recently released the 15-inch MacBook Air with M2
That leaves just the Mac mini as a possible option for an M3 reveal. However, that model was upgraded with M2 and M2 Pro in January.
Apple also ordered all of TSMC's 3nm stock for A17 Pro, leaving little room for an M3 launch in 2023. Kuo's reasoning on this is that Apple would limit the initial stock of the updated MacBook Pro to about 500k units.
If this is true, this is a third of what's historically been available for previous MacBook Pro debuts. This doesn't feel like enough supply, given that those previous launches were constrained for about a month as well.
M3 Pro and M3 Max MacBook Pros too
Gurman's Sunday newsletter mentioned the 24-inch iMac and 13-inch MacBook Pro, using low inventory for customer orders as a sign of an imminent update. He also mentioned another set of Macs: Apple's high-end MacBook Pro models.
Apple's MacBook Pro lineup was updated in January
Gurman suggests that Apple will refresh the 14-inch MacBook Pro and 16-inch MacBook Pro with M3 Pro and M3 Max processors less than a year after their M2 updates. His previous reports suggest these laptops are in the final stages of testing and are ready to release at any time.
That means the event could have the M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max chipsets announced all at once, at 8 p.m. EST, in a pre-recorded video with no press in attendance. Apple has never released multiple M-series processors in such a fashion before.
Gurman reported in March that the 24-inch iMac with M3 was in DVT testing, then in August said the MacBook Pro models with M3 were being tested.
MacBook Pro could get an upgrade on Monday
According to Gurman, the M3 Max will start with a base configuration of 16 CPU cores, using 12 performance and four efficiency cores, and a 32-core GPU. On the high end, the M3 Max will have the same 16-core CPU but a 40-core GPU.
Let's not forget what we mentioned before -- Apple ordered all of TSMC's 3nm stock for iPhone's A17 Pro. It doesn't seem likely that Apple would have space to order for one additional chipset, let alone three.
If M3 isn't ready for prime time, then Apple's prep for a high-end MacBook Pro reveal could point to an M2 Ultra model. Apple has reserved the ultra chipsets for desktops so far, but the MacBook with an upgrade to it's USB-C could handle 200W of charging, which is more than enough for the powerful chipset.
Signs also point to an M2 iMac refresh
Apple set the Scary Fast event for 8 p.m. EST, which is a first for the company. Given the late timeframe, this has led to speculation about the event's significance.
An M2 iMac update is also likely
It seems unlikely that Apple would usher in the next-generation of Apple Silicon for Mac at a late event with no in-person press. Also, Apple Vision Pro uses the M2 processor, which some suggest would be undermined by a premature M3 launch.
Rumors suggest that Apple could update the 24-inch iMac to run an M2 processor. It was among the first products to run M1 and hasn't been updated since its initial launch in 2021.
Some leakers have gotten their hands on different colored braided USB-C cables in the run-up to the iPhone 15. Initial speculation suggested they were color-matched to the iPhone, but instead, they may be for New iMacs and paired accessories.
24-inch iMac models come with color-matched cables
Speaking of, Apple updated iPhone 15 to use USB-C. So, it's only a matter of time before new magic accessories that use the port are announced.
A short event with an iMac update, USB-C accessories, and perhaps Craig Federighi dressed as a vampire might be enough to warrant a video event versus a press release.
Mark Gurman says Apple wouldn't host a formal event with a video, invitation, and hype ahead of an iMac refresh for just an M2 chip upgrade. That argument has some merit, given that Apple used press releases to announce the updated MacBook Pros with M2 Pro and M2 Max in January.
However, the iMac is a consumer-focused product. Apple's push for hype around the iMac, plus an opportunity to promote iPhone 15 Pro gaming and Apple TV+, seems like a great time to have an event.
Time will tell
Monday, October 30, is only a few days away, so there's not much time left for additional leaks or speculation. While Apple has been known to throw long events for iPhone announcements and WWDC, short events for a handful of products have also occurred previously.
Apple's Scary Fast event will reveal all
The Scary Fast event could also be an opportunity for Apple to celebrate the launch of Resident Evil games on iPhone 15 Pro with hardware ray tracing. It wouldn't be surprising to see some Apple TV+ and Apple Arcade promotions at the event, too.
Rumors around product releases for this time of year have been nearly non-existent. So, expect minor updates like AirPods Max with USB-C or other accessory releases rather than life-altering new product lines.
Apple is holding the Scary Fast event at 8 p.m. EST on Monday, October 30.
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