Apple M3 chip hasn’t been officially announced yet, but sources say it might come out by the end of the year. The M3 chip could make future Apple computers much faster and more powerful. But since Apple hasn’t said anything yet, we should take what we’ve heard with a grain of salt.
So, here’s what we know about the Apple M3 chip so far.
Apple M3 chip: Possible date of Release
Mark Gurman of Bloomberg wrote in his Power On newsletter that Apple has begun testing third-party apps on Macs with M3 chips to make sure the software works with the company’s ecosystem. The experienced Apple reporter says that this process has given us early looks at new chips in the past, like with the rumoured 15-inch MacBook Air.
According to Urman’s sources, in late 2023 or early 2024, Apple will release the first Macs equipped with M3 processors.
Gurman and the leaker Revegnus have said in the past that Apple won’t make M3-powered MacBooks or iPads in 2023. The latter says that TSMC can’t make enough M3 chips for Apple’s tablets, laptops, and desktops of the next generation. The next generation of chips for iPads and Macs won’t come out until 2024.
So, whether it’s late 2023 or early 2024, Macs with M3 chips should be here soon.
Apple M3 chip | Speculations
The Apple M3 chip is said to use the 3nm process from TSMC. If this is true, Apple would be the first company to use this new process node. In practice, this would make the next MacBook Air and iPad Pro much more powerful than their predecessors, which use TSMC’s 5-nanometer technology.
Gurman’s sources say that Apple has tested an M3 Pro chip with 36GB of memory, 12 CPU cores, and 18 GPU cores. Up to 6 high-performance cores and six efficiency cores will make up the CPU. It seems that this chip was running in a future “high-end” MacBook Pro with the upcoming macOS 14 and will supposedly be the base version of the M3 Pro.
The M2 Pro chip has a CPU with ten cores, a GPU with 16 cores, and 16GB of RAM. If this is true, the jump from M1 Pro to M2 Pro would be the same as the jump from M2 Pro to M3 Pro. Gurman thinks that the next high-end MacBook Pro might have 14 CPU cores and maybe even more than 40 GPU cores if the M3 Max gets the same boost as the M2 Max did over the M1 Max.
Based on this theory, an M3 Ultra chip could have up to 28 CPU cores and over 80 GPU cores. This is more than the M1 Ultra chip, which could only have 64 cores.
What We Can Say
Apple is still using chips from the M2, M2 Pro, M2 Max, and M1 Ultra lines, so the M3 won’t come out for a few more months. Currently, our understanding is limited, but we do know that it’s being made, and rumours say that it will use TSMC’s soon-to-be-released 3-nanometer chip design.
The 3-Nanometer Technology
Currently, M-series chips utilize TSMC’s 5-nanometer technology, but the transition to 3-nanometers will yield significant improvements in Power and efficiency. TSMC is already working on the design of its 3-nanometer chip. Commercial production is scheduled to start in the fourth quarter of 2022.
The Information says that future Apple chips made with the 3nm process will have up to four dies, which means they could support up to 40 compute cores. The original M1 has a CPU with eight cores, while the M1 Pro and M1 Max both have CPUs with ten cores. This would be a big boost in performance.
Apple is making a number of M3 chips, including ones with the code names Ibiza, Lobos, and Palma.
So far, Apple’s lower-end MacBook Pro and MacBook Air machines have used standard “M1” and “M2” chips, while its higher-end MacBook Pro machines have used “M1 Pro” and “M1 Max” chips. The “M1 Ultra” is used in the Mac Studio, and both “Ultra” and “Extreme” chips are likely to be used in the Mac Pro.
If Apple keeps this chip naming scheme, lower-end M3 chips could be in Apple’s entry-level machines, while M3 Pro and M3 Max chips with up to 40 compute cores could be in Apple’s higher-end Macs. There are already rumours that Apple is testing an M3 iMac at their headquarters.
Outlook for the Apple M3 chip
The Apple M3 processor is still a hot topic, but it’s possible that Apple will at least announce its rumoured new processors at WWDC 2023. Even if we don’t hear anything about the M3 chip, we should see the long-rumoured 15-inch MacBook Air and other M2-powered MacBook updates for the first time.
Even though Macs like the MacBook Air M2, Mac mini M2, and MacBook Pro 16-inch 2023 are faster than their predecessors, it’s not as dramatic a shift as when Apple first began using its own silicon in the form of the M1 chip instead of Intel chips.
This is probably one reason why Apple’s Mac sales dropped by 31% last quarter. If Gurman’s latest report about the M3 chip is true, it could have a lot more computing power than the M2 chip. Maybe that will get people interested in Macs again.