High-end MacBook Pros and Mac mini will have to wait for the M3 chip

M3 Macs are coming later this year, but some models will have to wait until 2024 for Apple's latest silicon

MacBook Pro 16 2021
(Image credit: Apple)

The M3 chip, the next generation of Apple Silicon, is expected to appear in new Macs later this year. But some models will have to wait longer: the high-end MacBook Pro and the Mac mini are both expected to stick with M2 processors this year, moving to the M3 in 2024.

That’s according to Bloomberg, whose Mark Gurman reports that the M3 Mac mini is “a sure thing” but not currently a priority for Apple. As a result it’s not likely to be among the first generation of M3 Macs that we’re expecting to see this October; the launch is “probably” going to be closer to the middle of 2024.

It’s a similar story with the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro, Apple’s best laptops. Those laptops don’t run the standard M series processors but the Ultra and Max variants, so as with the previous generation we’d expect their processor upgrades to happen after the mainstream M3 Macs go on sale. Those laptops were launched with M1-series processors in 2021 and were upgraded to the M2 Ultra and Max in early 2023, so they’re not due a spec bump for some time.

Which Macs are getting the M3 in 2023?

The most likely candidates for M3 processors in 2023 are the 13-inch MacBook Pro, the 13-inch MacBook Air and the 24-inch iMac. They were last updated in 2022, 2022 and 2021 respectively, so they’re all due a minor processor upgrade this year. The new processors are likely to be more powerful and more energy efficient than the current models, but as with iPhone and iPad processors the differences between each generation are relatively small.

Most of us don’t upgrade our computers every year or even every two years, though, and that means people coming to these Macs on a three-year cycle are in for a treat: the difference between a 2023 M3 Mac and a 2020 one is going to be significant, because 2020 was the first year of Apple silicon in Mac laptops – fun, but with hindsight a little limited, so for example the 2020 MacBook Pro could only drive one external display. The very first M1 Macs were still a little experimental, but Apple has long since hit its stride. The M3 Macs are going to be amazing.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com).