Apple's first AI-focused M4 Macs are on the way just months after the M3 debuted, and they'll reportedly launch this year

The 2024 MacBook Air M3 on a wooden table in front of a bookshelf.
(Image credit: Gerald Lynch / Future)

Apple might have only debuted its M3 Macs a few months ago but that hasn't stopped the company from forging ahead with the next generation of its custom chips, and now it seems that it's readying a slew of upgraded models powered by M4 silicon.

Apple's M3 chips arrived in the form of the base M3, upgraded M3 Pro, and higher-end M3 Max in October of 2023. The trio of chips is offered in a range of Macs including the 2023 iMac, upgraded M3 MacBook Air, and more. A version of the M3 chip is also expected to power the upcoming OLED iPad Pro as well, but progress waits for no one, and a new report claims that Apple has already turned its attention to the M4 — and it's already nearing production.

According to that same report, Apple is already pushing ahead with plans to launch several new Macs with M4 chips later this year, with a key focus being an AI push that is set to begin with the unveiling of iOS 18 and macOS 15 at this year's WWDC event, already announced to kick off on June 10.

New chips for everyone

Writing for Bloomberg, Mark Gurman says that Apple's new chips will be AI-focused, suggesting that they could have AI-accelerated components designed to make the most of new software features that will be announced at WWDC.

As for the chips themselves, Gurman says that the M4 "will come in at least three main varieties, and Apple is looking to update every Mac model with it," citing sources who wished not to be identified because they were discussing Apple's plans without permission. Apple recently took legal action against one former employee after he was discovered to have leaked information about the Apple Vision Pro and Journal app prior to their unveiling.

Gurman says that Apple aims to announce "new iMacs, a low-end 14-inch MacBook Pro, high-end 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros, and Mac minis" with upgraded  M4 chips before the end of the year. Notably, the iMac and MacBook Pro lineups were only refreshed alongside that M3 announcement just a few months ago.

Moving into 2025, Apple's M4 launches are expected to continue with the arrival of updated 13- and 15-inch MacBook Air laptops by the spring. Beyond that, the Mac Studio is set to get an M4 update towards the middle of the year with the Mac Pro believed to be on course for a refresh towards the end of 2025.

Following a lackluster response to the first Apple silicon Mac Pro, announced in June 2023 and powered by the M2 Ultra, there are changes afoot for the M4 version. Gurman says that the workstation will feature a new high-end chip codenamed Hidra. "The Mac Pro remains the lower-selling model in the company’s computer lineup, but it has a vocal fan base," Gurman explains. "After some customers complained about the specifications of Apple’s in-house chips, the company is looking to beef up that machine next year."

As part of the Hidra upgrades it's thought that the Mac Studio and Mac Pro could see their maximum RAM configurations upgraded from the current 193GB to a whopping 512GB to allow more flexibility for those with pro-level workflow needs.

More from iMore

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.