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More 2024 Apple Macs to get M3 power; 2nm Apple Silicon for 2025?

Apple MacBook Pros are already M3-powered
2 minute read
Apple MacBook Pros are already M3-powered

Apple is poised to release a slew of new Macs powered by M3 this year, plus it looks like the next-gen 2nm Apple Silicon chips will be in production by 2025.

Summer 2023 saw the debut of the M3, Apple’s third-generation Silicon SoCs (system on a chip), along with the first computers. By the fall, Apple had plenty of M3 Macs, including the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros (M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max) and the 24-inch iMac (M3). The others are powered by the M2 family, including standard, Pro, Max, and Ultra (Mac Pro and Mac Studio).

Apple will be releasing even more M3 Mac’s this year, per reports from Mark Gurman via MacRumors, with the new Mac Air models debuting in March 2024, but an M3 and M3Pro Mac mini may not appear until much later in 2024.

What about the high-end Mac Studio and Mac Pro? Both saw major releases in the summer of 2023 with the M2 Max and M2 Ultra options. Apple also debuted nearly identical setups (M2 Ultra) of the Mac Studio and Mac Pro, but without post-purchase upgrade options and major price differences ($4000 vs $7000  to start). 

Well, it looks like the Mac Studio will stay on a roughly 16-month upgrade cycle. Rumors point to the M3 Ultra SoC being announced at WWDC this summer along with the Mac Studio. It’s also a safe bet the M3 Ultra Mac Pro will also make its entrance, though I feel Apple should go for the rumored Extreme configuration (four Max chips fused together) to really set it apart from the Mac Studio.

While probably not yet possible, if Apple could release a Mac Pro that has removable and upgradable SoCs, it would make it a more powerful and long-term solution.

2nm Apple Silicon

The first of Apple’s silicon SoC (M1 and M2) featured a 5nm design. While powerful and energy efficient, the 3nm M3 is even more so. And now rumors point to the 2nm going into production in 2025, making them even faster and more efficient than the M3. 

Could these be the M4 chips? Probably not, as Apple seems to be on an annual chip release, barring any supply chain issues. The M4 should debut this summer or fall and feature the same 3nm design as the M3, so we’ll likely see a 2nm M5.

Even cooler, though, is a 1.4nm SoC coming in 2027. I could see that one being the M7 chip. Again, faster and more energy-efficient chips.

Apple Vision Pro 'last-gen'

As a sidebar, it's worth mentioning that according to Gurman on X (the platform formerly known as Twitter), Apple Vision Pro runs on an M2 chip equipped with ten GPU cores and eight CPU cores. This is the same version used in Apple's higher-end MacBook Air models.

That means that somewhat ironically, Apple’s next-generation device runs on what is now last-generation silicon given that we have 14-and 16-inch MacBook Pro models already on the market powered by M3 chips.

Regular upgrade cycle

What can we gather from all of this? Well, Apple wasn't kidding when it said it'll be able to upgrade its chips and Macs fairly regularly, yet speeds will stay competitive. I'm still using my 'base model' 13-inch MacBook Pro M1 and 'base model' Mac Studio M1 Max, and I haven't noticed any slowdowns in either Mac, despite advancements in Final Cut Pro, Photoshop, etc. 

All that means that if you're on a three to four-year upgrade cycle, there will always be a brand-new Mac powered by a cutting-edge Apple silicon chip. It will also be interesting to see if some of the other rumors circulating come true, such as the 30-inch high-end iMac. Now that would be a lovely, if no doubt extremely expensive, thing to see.

Tags: Technology