After months of rumors, Apple has finally announced an event where it will reveal a bunch of new products for waiting fans on October 30. The uncharacteristically late event will start at 5 p.m. PT and will be streamed online for all to see. Dubbed “Scary Fast,” it’s thought the show will focus primarily on the company’s Mac computers — but what exactly are we going to see?
We know Macs will be under the spotlight at Apple’s show for one simple reason: the teaser animation Apple used to announce the event sees the company’s logo morph into the icon for the Finder, an app found only on the Mac. That’s a pretty strong clue if we’ve ever seen one.
We’ve scoured the rumor mill for all the latest leaks and tidbits concerning the show. If you want to know what’s likely on the way, read on.
13-inch MacBook Pro with M3 chip
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While Apple’s M2 chip wasn’t a huge upgrade over the M1, things will almost certainly be different with the M3. It’s going to be made with a 3-nanometer process (just like the A17 Pro chip inside the iPhone 15 Pro), which is expected to greatly improve its performance and efficiency.
With that in mind, it makes sense to assume that a show named “Scary Fast” will debut this next-generation Mac chip. But which devices will it find its way into?
At the moment, the 13-inch MacBook Pro seems likely. Apple usually launches new chips in consumer Macs first, then pro models afterward. Apple last updated the 13-inch MacBook Pro in June 2022, and before that in late 2020, so this 18-month upgrade cycle would fit in nicely with an October 2023 release.
What about the MacBook Air? That’s a little more complicated. While the 13-inch model got the M2 chip in June 2022, the 15-inch MacBook Air is much younger — in fact, it was only launched in summer 2023. That almost certainly puts it out of the running for the October event, and it’s an idea that Mark Gurman backs upsaying the M3 MacBook Air development is behind that of the MacBook Pro and that we likely won’t see it until 2024.
16-inch and 14-inch MacBook Pro
It’s also possible that the 16-inch and 14-inch MacBook Pro laptops get M3 Pro and M3 Max chips at Apple’s event. That would definitely warrant the “Scary Fast” theme given their expected power.
However, there are reasons to doubt this, as these high-end MacBook Pros were last updated in January 2023. Bringing out two versions of the same laptop just 10 months apart would be highly unusual — and probably not too popular among Mac users either.
It also would be unprecedented for Apple to launch multiple chips at the same time. In this case, Apple would be simultaneously announcing the M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max.
Still, we can’t entirely rule it out, as this is a Mac event that’s set to debut blazing-fast new devices. As well as that, Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman has noted that stock of these laptops has almost dried upwith long wait times if you want to order. That’s often a sign that Apple is clearing inventory in anticipation of new models.
In fact, Gurman says he has “little doubt” these laptops will be announced at Apple’s show, while Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that M3 MacBook Pros will be the focus of the event. So don’t be surprised if these laptops make an appearance on October 30.
If these MacBook Pros do get announced, we expect it to only be a chip refresh with few other changes.
iMac and iMac Pro
There have been strong rumors for months that Apple will update its 24-inch iMac at the October event, an idea that is bolstered by the fact that Apple hasn’t touched this device since early 2021. Simply put, it’s long overdue for an upgrade.
But how exactly will it be tuned up? That’s where the consensus ends. Mark Gurman thinks the iMac will skip the M2 chip and will instead go straight from the M1 to the M3, making it one of Apple’s first computers to bear this next-generation chip.
However, renowned Apple pundit John Gruber has other ideas. He has pointed out that the Vision Pro headset will come with an M2 chip and isn’t due out until 2024, so if Apple launches Macs with the M3, the Vision Pro will instantly appear outdated. That’s not a good look for such a massive flagship product.
As well as that, Apple supposedly ordered all of chip maker TSMC’s 3nm chips exclusively for its A17 Pro, which leaves little left over for the M3 Macs until TSMC can restock. That could make a 2023 launch of any M3-bearing Mac a little unlikely.
Still, the M2 chip would hardly justify the “Scary Fast” tagline. But Gruber has another idea — we could see the return of the iMac Pro. This might be outfitted with M2 Pro and M2 Max chips, which would be appropriate for the event’s name. This iMac Pro would, in theory, also be a larger and more premium design. I would assume it wouldn’t offer the same vibrant colors as the 24-inch iMac, either.
On the other hand, focusing on M2 iMacs like this would seriously limit what Apple can release since the MacBook line has already received chips from the M2 generation. As Gruber concedes, maybe the event will be about M3 after all, which could potentially mean iMacs and MacBooks — or even an M3 Pro and M3 Max iMac Pro.
And Mark Gurman makes the good point that Apple would be doing itself a “massive disservice” by not launching M3 chips. “I would be extremely shocked if Apple is hosting a formal event with a video, invitation and hype ahead of time for nothing more than an iMac refresh with existing chips,” he argues. So don’t dismiss the idea of an M3 iMac or iMac Pro just yet.
That leaves a few Macs left over in Apple’s line-up: the Mac mini, the Mac Studio, and the Mac Pro. The latter two were updated at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June 2023, so we can rule them out. But what about the Mac mini?
Like the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros, the Mac mini got new chips in January 2023. That suggests it’s probably too early for another switch-up. Mark Gurman has said Apple is testing an M3 Mac mini with a 2024 release date in mind, and that feels like a sensible timeline.
So, expect to see MacBooks and perhaps iMacs at the Scary Fast event. If you’re interested in Apple’s other Macs, you’ll probably have to wait a little longer.