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Forget M2 Macs, Apple's already planning the next big upgrade with M3 chips

Overcast M1 Mac Macbook Pro
Overcast M1 Mac Macbook Pro (Image credit: Adam Oram / iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple is reportedly already working on new M3 chips for future Macs.
  • The new M2 Macs have yet to be announced, but new machines are expected this year.
  • Bloomberg's Mark Gurman expects M3-powered Macs to come late next year at the earliest.

Apple is yet to give us a glimpse of its next big chip refresh in the form of the M2 family, but the company is reportedly already hard at work on what will replace it. If that report is accurate, Apple is already working towards getting the M3 chips out the door.

While Apple is still expected to announce new Apple silicon in the form of a new M2 MacBook Air and more, a new report via Bloomberg's Mark Gurman suggests that Apple's M3 chips are being tested — but don't expect them just yet. Writing in his weekly Power On newsletter, Gurman says that the M3 chips won't be ready until the end of 2023 at the earliest.

I've heard that the M2 chips aren't the only ones in testing within Apple. And if you're waiting for a new iMac, I'm hearing an M3 version of that desktop is already in the works—though I imagine it won't launch until the end of next year at the earliest. Also, for those asking, I still think an iMac Pro is coming. It just won't be anytime soon.

For now though, all attention is on the M2 that will power the aforementioned MacBook Air as well as a new MacBook Pro and Mac mini. Beyond that, M2 Pro and M2 Max chips will power more advanced 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro notebooks while a dual M2 Ultra chip is thought to be in the cards for the hotly-anticipated Mac Pro refresh. Apple's most costly Mac is the only one still awaiting its Apple silicon renaissance.

With two M2 Ultra chips, there is little doubt that a new Mac Pro would instantly become the best Mac for anyone who needs all the power that they can get. Just expect to pay through the nose for it — not that it'll matter to businesses that likely bill these purchases out to clients anyway!

The prospect of Apple already working on the chips that will go into Macs next year and beyond shouldn't be all that surprising, of course. Apple's roadmap likely expands well into the future and I'd wager the M4 is something that's already crossed a few minds inside Apple Park, too.

Oliver Haslam
Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.