We’re never satisfied, are we? Even when Apple starts the year with a surprise chip and Mac launch, we want to know where everything else is. What happened to the new Mac Pro? Have they forgotten about the iMac? Are we ever going to see these new Apple iGoggles Pro Max Ultra?
We’re relentless – understandably; Apple set its own high expectations for regularly wowing its whooping and hollering audience with ‘just one more thing’ a long time ago.
We shouldn’t be surprised to hear of a potential Apple Spring event. The rumours for this are intensifying by the day and are coming from the highest quarters of the rumour mill – although some are predicting another bunch of press releases rather than anything announced from the ‘stage’.
Regardless, if the rumours are true, I’m excited. And confused.
Let me explain.
March Apple event rumours
Mark Gurman informs us that Apple is “scheduled to launch about three new Macs between late spring and summer”. These are, he tells us, an updated 13-inch MacBook Air, the long-awaited and seemingly delayed Apple silicon-based Mac Pro, and the first-ever 15-inch MacBook Air.
However, it wouldn’t be an Apple spring event without a new iPhone colour, would it? This year will be no different, apparently, with yellow the rumoured colour to enter the iPhone 14 line-up.
Apple’s ability to make such a big thing out of a new smartphone colour continues to be incredibly endearing, baffling, and an absolute masterclass in marketing. I’m not the type of reviewer to ‘review’ the new colour, but I’m sure it’ll be very lovely and add that all-important boost to iPhone sales at this stage of the year.
The Macs are where it’s at, though. If this event does take place (in whatever form) it’s going to provide us all with yet another bunch of new computers to test, debate, argue about, and, potentially, buy. If the last 18 months are anything to go by, that’s been a common trait with new Mac releases.
What I’m most excited for
I didn’t know I needed a 15-inch MacBook Air until the rumours of its impending release began to surface.
If you’re wondering, I am indeed still using my base model M2 MacBook Air every single day to run this business and write these blog posts. I’m still disappointed with the way it let me down during an attempted video editing session in London last year, but when it comes to its strengths, nothing beats it.
It’s the thinnest, lightest, most capable laptop for everyday tasks I’ve ever owned. Ironically, it’s only beaten by the machine it replaced – the simply brilliant M1 MacBook Air.
I don’t need any more screen estate. I can’t think of a time I’ve looked at the 13-inch display on this M2 MacBook Air and thought, “damn it, I wish I could fit one more window on here”. But this is how Apple gets you, because now that I know there might be a bigger version on the way, I immediately want it.
Regular readers will know that I’m becoming increasingly intolerant of my weighty 16-inch MacBook Pro while travelling. The idea, therefore, of a much thinner, lighter laptop with roughly the same-sized display is very compelling. I’d just need to ensure I spec it beyond the base setup to enable some on-the-go video editing!
The chip conundrum
As always, the rumours for these supposed new Mac releases leave lots of questions unanswered. The biggest of them all relates to – you guessed it – which chips will be nestling inside those new devices.
At this stage of the Apple silicon lifecycle, you’d expect any new Mac release to include an M2 chip. It feels far too early for the M3, doesn’t it? The M2 was, after all, launched in July last year, and we’re still four months away from its first birthday.
However, the clue to Apple’s plans lies in Gurman’s suggestion that we’re also going to see a revised 13-inch MacBook Air this spring. Given that the chassis for Apple’s ultra-thin laptop received the biggest overhaul in years last July, it’s unlikely that we’ll see any design changes. That leaves one thing – the chip. And with the MacBook Air the first Mac to receive the M2 chip, there’s only one way the next iteration can go.
The likelihood is that we’ll see an M3 chip in the upcoming MacBook Air release. To keep purchasers of the recent MacBook Pro releases at bay, these new chips will most likely be of the ‘base model’ variety, with Pro and Max editions arriving later this year (or, possibly, in 2024).
This gets me even more excited. The M2 chip was clearly a stopgap for Apple and has received more than its fair share of criticism for questionable performance under load. If a brand-new chip designed on a 3-nanometer process really is winging its way to us soon, that might answer my prayers for a lightweight portable video editing machine.
This does leave another question unanswered, though.
Final thought: the Mac Pro conundrum
Ah, the elusive Apple silicon Mac Pro. Will they? Won’t they? What will it look like? Why has it been delayed? What does it mean for the Mac Studio? What chip will be inside?
It’s that last question which still baffles me. All the rumours have thus far pointed towards an M2 Ultra being the most obvious chip candidate for the new Mac Pro, but does that really make sense with the clamour for a 3-nanometer edition of Apple silicon?
I still have no need for a Mac Pro, but as tech reviewer and commentator, it fascinates me. In the era of Apple silicon, I can’t fathom who needs it, but I love the potential the Mac Pro has to generate some biblically silly numbers – and equally silly headlines. I’m also captivated by what is clearly a tricky release for Apple. If it really has been delayed for as long as we think, the new Mac Pro has clearly been the subject of a tumultuous development process.
So, if the rumours are true and we’re getting a couple of new MacBook Airs soon – bring it on. But what really fascinates me is what might arrive at the top end of the Mac lineup.
I have my popcorn (and notebook) ready.
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