What's Next for the Mac: M3 iMac, 15-Inch MacBook Air, Mac Pro, and More
Apple last week announced a slate of new Macs, including an updated Mac mini with M2 and M2 Pro processors and faster 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros with the all-new M2 Pro and M2 Max chips.
With just modest updates, the new Macs have left some wondering if there is anything else in store for the Mac in 2023 and what's planned for the years to come. Below, we've outlined the latest rumors on what Macs Apple continues to work on for launch this year and what the company plans for the future.
Apple last updated the MacBook Air with a new design and the M2 chip in June 2022. The updated MacBook Air features a 13.6-inch display, an overhauled design that does away with the previously iconic tapered chassis, and starts at $1,199.
For 2023, Apple is reportedly working on a larger 15-inch MacBook Air to join its Mac lineup. The new MacBook Air will feature the upcoming M3 chip, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. The 15-inch MacBook Air is expected to feature the same design as the current 13.6-inch model but with a larger display and longer battery life thanks to the efficiency of the M3 chip and the inclusion of a larger battery.
Further down the line, an updated MacBook Air with an OLED display is expected to debut as soon as 2024, according to reliable display analyst Ross Young.
The last time the iMac saw an update was in April 2021, when Apple debuted a redesigned 24-inch model with the efficiency and power of the M1 chip in an array of seven colors. The 24-inch iMac with M1 is the second most outdated Mac after the Mac Pro currently in Apple's lineup, making it long overdue for an upgrade.
Gurman has reaffirmed in his latest Power On newsletter that Apple plans to update the iMac family with the M3 chip later this year, likely around the October or November timeframe, given past precedent. Gurman describes the M2 family of chips as a "stopgap" for Apple silicon and suggests Apple is waiting for the more advanced M3 chip, based on the 3nm process technology, before updating its all-in-one desktop computer.
Rumors have circulated that Apple is allegedly working on a 27-inch "iMac Pro" to join its current lineup, but Apple's plans remain unclear. The M3 iMac update expected later this year could be a direct follow-up to the 24-inch model currently in the lineup or a larger, more professional iMac. Apple announced an iMac Pro at WWDC in 2017, but it failed to be the success the company was hoping for and was ultimately discontinued in March 2021.
The most outdated and only remaining Intel-based Mac in Apple's lineup is the Mac Pro. The Mac Pro is the highest-end and most "powerful" Mac available, but with the transition to Apple silicon, the Mac Pro has taken a back seat in performance thanks to chips like the M1 Ultra in the Mac Studio.
Apple said the transition to Apple silicon would take around two years, and Apple missed the two-year mark in the summer and fall of last year. Nevertheless, Apple is reportedly preparing to announce its Apple silicon Mac Pro sometime this year. The updated Mac Pro will reportedly have the same design as the current model announced in 2019, according to Gurman, but will benefit from the performance of the M2 Ultra chip.
MacBook Pro and Mac Mini
The MacBook Pro and Mac mini were just updated, so don't expect updates this year. For 2024, however, Apple will bring the M3 Pro and M3 Max chips to the MacBook Pro, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In 2025, Apple will update the MacBook Pro with an OLED panel and, for the first time ever in a Mac, a touchscreen display, according to Gurman.
Apple is reportedly working on bringing a touchscreen to the Mac, years after dismissing the idea as unnecessary and impractical. Apple CEO Steve Jobs disapproved of a touchscreen Mac, and hardware engineering chief John Ternus said in 2021 the Mac was "totally optimized for indirect input" and that the company was not planning to change that. For the Mac mini, rumors suggest an updated model in 2024 will feature the same design as the current Mac mini.
Apple announced the pro-oriented Mac Studio in March 2022 as the highest-end Mac desktop until the Apple silicon Mac Pro arrives. The Mac Studio can be configured with either M1 Max or M1 Ultra chips, offering users tremendous power. Apple can presumably be expected to announce an updated Mac Studio with M2 Max and M2 Ultra chips sometime this year, one year after it announced the current model. Having said that, we've heard no concrete rumors suggesting an update is planned, so we'll have to wait and see.