M4 MacBooks tipped for late 2024 release

Apple's pro Macs are on the fast track for the next generation of Apple Silicon

Apple MacBook Pro M3 lifestyle image
(Image credit: Apple)

The M3 MacBook laptops have only just arrived and Apple is already preparing their replacements. Apple is reportedly planning to update its mobile Macs with M4 processors in late 2024, with a particular focus on boosting their AI performance.

The timing of the news is interesting and feels awfully like a strategic leak: just days ago the tech press was talking about the new generation of Microsoft laptops, which will feature the Snapdragon X Elite processors and which Microsoft believes will significantly outperform Macs such as the M3 MacBook Air.

The news comes via Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, who says that Apple is working on a "rapid transition to the new processors." His sources are "people with knowledge of the matter... who asked not to be identified because the plans haven't been announced." If true it's welcome news for would-be MacBook Pro buyers in particular, as they're likely to be the first Macs to ship with M4s.

What to expect from the M4 Macs

As we've seen with previous M-series processors, there will be multiple variants for different levels of performance. Gurman says that the new chip will come in "at least three varieties" – likely to be M4, M4 Pro and M4 Max – and Apple intends "to update every Mac model with it". 

The processor line includes "an entry-level version dubbed Donan, more powerful models named Brava and a top-end processor codenamed Hidra." The first of the three is for the cheapest MacBook Pro, the MacBook Air and the Mac mini; the Brava is earmarked for the pricier MacBook Pro models and the Hidra is for the Mac Pro – which may support up to half a terabyte of memory. 

AI will be the focus this year, which fits with the forthcoming WWDC developer event in June and what will reportedly be a significant AI focus in Apple's mobile operating systems too. 

According to Gurman the current plans – which may change – are to begin shipping M4 Macs in late 2024 and early 2025. That's a lot of M4 Macs: "there will be new iMacs, a low-end 14-inch MacBook Pro, high-end 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros, and Mac minis — all with M4 chips," he writes.

And that's just the beginning. The report says that Apple also intends to update the 13 and 15 inch MacBook Air "by the spring", with an M4-powered Mac Studio in the summer and a Mac Pro towards the end of the year.

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).