Ahead of the all-important holiday shopping season, the new chips will refresh Apple’s Mac lineup, which saw sales fall 7% in the June quarter in the face of a global PC sales slowdown.
The new computers, including MacBook Pro and iMac models, go on sale next week, and have the same designs as last year’s models only with new chips. Apple’s iMac hadn’t been refreshed since April 2021, and its MacBook Pro models got a chip upgrade back in January. Apple also released a 15-inch MacBook Air laptop in June.
Apple said at its Halloween-themed launch event that the new chips are a significant upgrade, providing faster speeds, long battery life, and, on the high-end, the horsepower needed to develop artificial intelligence applications. Apple executives at the launch event on Monday emphasized that the machines are significantly faster and more efficient than Intel-based Macs, which started being phased out in 2020.
Apple also cut the price of its entry-level 14-inch MacBook Pro, from at least $1999 to $1599, although it gets a less powerful M3 chip, instead of the “Pro”-level chip on last year’s model.
Here’s what Apple announced on Monday:
- Apple announced three new chips, all under the broader M3 product banner. The current generation of chips is the M2.
- There is an entry-level M3, a 40% faster M3 Pro, and a 250% faster M3 Max chip for AI developers and 3D artists.
- Apple says all M3 chips can get up to 22 hours of battery life on a laptop.
- The M3 has a 8 core central processing unit and up to a 10 core graphics processing unit.
- The M3 Pro has a 12 core CPU and an 18 core GPU.
- The M3 Max has a 16 core CPU and as many as 40 cores on its GPU. Apple says it can be used for developing artificial intelligence software.
- Apple says that its current-generation GPUs are 1.8 times as fast as the GPUs on the M2 chips.
- Apple says its CPU cores on the M3 are 15% faster than M2 CPU performance cores for heavy workloads. The M3 processor is 60% faster than its M1 processor, Apple said.
- The new chips are built on a 3 nanometer process, which is currently the most advanced semiconductor manufacturing technology from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company.
- Machines with the M3 Max won’t ship until later in November.
- An updated 14-inch MacBook Pro. Apple added a new entry-level model that starts at $1599 with an M3 processor. Last year’s model started at $1999 but had a faster “Pro” level processor.
- The 14-inch MacBook Pro with M3 Pro starts at $1999, or can be upgraded to an M3 Max for more money.
- An updated 16-inch MacBook Pro. It’s the company’s biggest and most powerful laptop. It starts at $2499 with an M3 Pro or can be upgraded to an M3 Max for an additional cost.
- Apple’s MacBook Pros have an HDMI port and an SD card slot in addition to USB-C ports, versus Apple’s MacBook Air models which only have USB-C ports.
- Apple’s 13-inch MacBook Pro — with the touchscreen Touch Bar keyboard — didn’t get an update with new chips.
- The higher-end MacBook Pros with the Pro and Max chips also come in a new dark aluminum color Apple calls “Space Black.” Apple says that the aluminum used for the laptops is anodized in a way to reduce fingerprint smudges.
- An updated 24-inch iMac desktop computer, which starts at $1299. The previous model used an M1 chip and this one uses an M3 chip.
The “Space Black” MacBook Pro color.