Apple's late-October event swapped the morning Cupertino kick-off time for an afternoon slot, giving it a prime evening position on the East coast and an early morning arrival in the Far East. Here in the UK it tipped just into the early hours of Halloween.
Apple leaned into the Halloween theme, with spooky music, bats flying through Apple Park and labs worthy of Dr Frankenstein. Luckily Apple CEO Tim Cook had a bag full of treats for us Halloween watchers in the form of three new M3 series chips, a host of new MacBook Pro models and finally a new iMac.
The intro video showed professionals using Macs everywhere, from car design studios to genetic research, student dorm rooms to football locker rooms. All of which stressed that the hard work was easier on a Mac.
It was also a presentation that reinforced the benefit for Intel-based Mac users to finally migrate to a new Silicone model. I almost felt like they were talking to me, as I watched on my three-year-old Intel i5 MacBook Pro. But there was one announcement that might have finally convinced me to upgrade.
M3, M3 Pro and M3 Max
Unlike previous gradual releases, Apple delivered three new M3 chips in one go. The M3 models use 3-nanometer technology (like the iPhone 15 Pro's A17 Pro chip) and come in M3, M3 Pro and M3 Max forms.
The standard M3 is impressive enough, but the Pro and Max models offer some blistering performance that is up to twice as fast as M2 models and use considerably less power to deliver the same performance.
The new onboard GPUs use what Apple calls dynamic caching to deliver more efficient memory allocation and therefore increased performance. It also brings Mesh shading and Ray Tracing to the Mac for serious detail in games.
The M3 Max is where things step up a gear, with a 16-core CPU, a 40-core GPU and up to an incredible 128GB unified memory. That's a seriously pro-spec and it's going to be available in a laptop.
MacBook Pro models
The new MacBook Pro models come in both 14-inch and 16-inch versions. The standard M3 chip will only be featured in the 14-inch model, while the M3 Pro and M3 Max will be available in both sizes. The 13-inch is no more.
Aside from the new M3 chips it seems little has changed from the M2 models, with one very big exception. The M3 Pro and M3 Max MacBook Pros will be available in a new colour.
Rather than the Space Grey finish, these machines are available in a Space Black finish. This is a matte finish with an anodization seal to avoid finger prints and it has the instant must-have factor. It's certainly the nicest looking MacBook I've seen to date.
The new MacBook Pro models are available from 7th November, starting from £1699 / $1599 / AUD$2699 for the 14-inch M3 model, from £2099 / $1999 / AUD$3499 for the 14-inch M3 Pro model and from £3299 / $3199 / AUD$5599 for the 14-inch M3 Max model. The fully specced 16-inch M3 Max model with 128GB RAM and 8TB storage will cost you £7299 / $7199 / AUD$11699.
iMac 24in M3
Perhaps the bigger news of the night was the long-awaited update to the iMac. The 24-inch iMac will also get the M3 chip, making it a serious desktop option once again. The 2021 24-inch iMac had an M1 chip inside, so the move to M3 will be significant.
The new model, will be up to 4x faster than the M1 model and benefits from the same graphic acceleration features as the new MacBook Pros. It still features the same slim design in a choice of seven colours can be specced with up to 24GB of RAM and 2TB of SSD storage.
The new iMac will be available from 7 November priced from £1399 / $1299 / AUD$2199.
What's interesting is that we haven't seen any updates to the Mac Studio in this announcement. I'm guessing that will come next year, perhaps at the same time as a Mac Pro model, which could see an M3 Ultra chip too.
If you were waiting for the right time to buy a new MacBook Pro though, it's now. And personally, I'll be ordering in the Space Black.