It looks like some new Macs are on the way. Apple is holding an online-only launch event on October 30th, where it’s expected to introduce its next big chip updates and some Macs to go along with them. Apple is calling the pre-Halloween announcement the “Scary Fast” event, and its YouTube channel playfully invites viewers to “Treat yourself.”
Almost every Apple event invitation includes a themed Apple logo that hints at what to expect. This time, the company’s event website has an animated Apple logo that morphs into the Finder icon, all but confirming some new Macs are in the cards. Meanwhile, “scary fast” seems to hint at the possibility Apple will announce brand-new M3 processors, which could debut in some updated Macs — including a long-awaited iMac desktop refresh. Will it be faster than Qualcomm’s apparent M2-beating X Elite processors? We may not have to wait long to find out.
When does the Apple event start?
The “Scary Fast” Apple event is scheduled to take place on Monday, October 30th, 2023, at 8PM ET / 5PM PT. The livestream is, uncharacteristically of Apple, happening in the evening instead of the morning like most of the company’s other product announcements.
How to watch Apple’s “Scary Fast” Mac event
Apple provides livestream access via its homepage and YouTube channel; the YouTube stream is embedded above. You can also catch Apple event livestreams on Apple TV boxes inside the TV app under the Apple Event category.
Let’s break down the speculation about what Apple has in store for us.
The debut of the M3
Apple finished rolling out its M2 chips earlier this year, so now it’s time to move onto the M3 lineup. On Monday, we’re expecting to see the first set of those chips, which are likely to offer bigger performance gains than the M2 generation.
The new M3 chips are reportedly being built on TSMC’s 3nm process, the same process that was used in the A17 Pro chips in the new iPhone 15 Pro. The smaller process should make the M3 chips faster and more efficient than the 5nm process used on the M2 line. Apple has reportedly locked down TSMC’s entire production of 3nm chips for roughly the next year, giving the company’s hardware an edge over competitors’.
Apple’s M-series chips have been lauded for being powerful, cool, and efficient, but they are suddenly facing some real competition. Qualcomm this week said its new Snapdragon X Elite will be 50 percent faster than Apple’s M2. That means it’s a good moment for Apple to debut something even faster.
Whatever computers Apple announces, it’s the M3 that will be the star of the show.
A new M3-powered iMac
The iMac hasn’t been updated since the M1 model appeared with a brand-new design in April 2021. But rumors have popped up all year about updates to Apple’s all-in-one, including some discussion about a much larger form factor. We probably won’t see that larger 32-inch iMac until next year, but it sure sounds like we’re getting a new 24-incher.
The updated model is expected to feature a brand new chip, too: Apple’s M3 processor. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman also said Apple had been testing M3 chips with eight-core CPUs and 10-core GPUs, which matches previous base model M chips. TSMC has said the 3nm process could lead to up to a 15 percent speed boost with a 30 percent power savings.
The updated iMac is also reported to get some shuffled internals and a tweaked manufacturing process. But on the outside, the design is expected to be very similar or the same as before.
Faster M3 chips in faster MacBook Pros
Although they were updated earlier this year, Apple’s stock of 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro laptops with M2 Pro and Max chips has been dwindling. This could point to an M3 refresh for the two larger MacBook Pro models before the month is out.
Apple will announce M3 Pro and M3 Max versions of the 14- and 16-inch laptops at Monday’s event, according to both Bloomberg and an early October DigiTimes report suggesting that the new MacBook Pro models would arrive before year’s end with more efficient Mini LED displays. Apple had reportedly been testing new MacBook Pro models using M3 Pro and M3 Max chips with 16-core CPUs, 40-core GPUs, and 48GB of memory. Those core counts are up from the current models, which max out at a 12-core CPU and 38-core GPU for the 16-inch Pro laptop and have no 48GB memory option. (Instead, they’re available with 32GB, 64GB, or 96GB memory options.)
The launch, just 11 months after the last MacBook Pros, practically makes this a mid-cycle update. But I doubt anyone is really complaining — unless you just bought one of the M2 models.
Okay, what else is coming?
Some of the shakier rumors include a possible 13-inch MacBook Pro or new MacBook Air models. Apple uses the same chips in the Mac Mini, too. So far, nobody seems to be predicting an update, though it wouldn’t be a huge surprise.
Over in Apple accessories world, it would be weird if a new iMac didn’t also come with a new USB-C Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse, and Magic Trackpad, right? So there’s a real chance we’ll see those. (Is it too much to hope Apple will move the charging port on the mouse?)
Besides that, there haven’t been strong indications of anything else coming this year. There were rumors of updated iPads — but since Apple just announced a new Pencil on its own, those probably aren’t coming till next year. All the other big rumors, like a 32-inch iMac, OLED MacBook Pro, or a redesigned iPad Pro, are a year or more out. And the Vision Pro is still slated for early next year.