Skipped Apple M3? M4 MacBook Pro has "just started formal development," and it could be a serious AI upgrade

M3 MacBook Pro review
(Image credit: Future)

If you like the look of the recently launched M3 MacBook Air range but think it’s not quite enough of an improvement for you, the M4 range might finally tempt you to upgrade.

In a recent Q&A blog from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, the prolific Apple insider was asked what his first Apple product was. Following his answer (his first Apple product was a blue iPod mini), he further noted he hasn’t yet upgraded from his M1 Max MacBook Pro but may finally make the jump with the M4 MacBook Pro, which has “just started formal development”. The Apple Silicon M4 chip is reported to have a focus on AI development, though it is also due to receive a bump in processing power.  

An AI upgrade

As reported last month, Apple is reportedly planning to “significantly increase the number of built-in AI computing cores” in the next generation of chips coming to iPhone, iPad, and Mac in the future. Specifically, Apple is expected to boost “the number and performance of the new generation M4 and A18 processors,” suggesting both AI and performance could be a major focus. 

Just a few weeks ago, a group of Apple shareholders were considering petitioning the company to reveal its AI plans. This petition, and reports into the ethics of Apple’s AI, was shot down by shareholders at large, but Tim Cook did promise breakthrough AI functionality

Though new Apple chips getting power upgrades are always good for customers, the focus on AI is a bit of a more recent development for Apple — the M3 MacBook Air press release talked a lot about the M3 chip’s AI advancements. That press release specifically mentions the combination of its Neural Engine and M3 chip saying: “M3 includes a faster and more efficient 16-core Neural Engine, along with accelerators in the CPU and GPU to boost on-device machine learning, making MacBook Air the world’s best consumer laptop for AI.” 

Though the recent M3 MacBook Air is a great improvement over previous machines and is one of the best MacBooks right now, Apple still hasn’t fully committed to AI implementation yet and we expect AI integration to change a lot over the next few generations. Hopefully, we’ll learn much more about Apple’s AI plans at WWDC 2024 in June, this year.

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James Bentley

James is a staff writer and general Jack of all trades at iMore. With news, features, reviews, and guides under his belt, he has always liked Apple for its unique branding and distinctive style. Originally buying a Macbook for music and video production, he has since gone on to join the Apple ecosystem with as many devices as he can fit on his person. 

With a degree in Law and Media and being a little too young to move onto the next step of his law career, James started writing from his bedroom about games, movies, tech, and anything else he could think of. Within months, this turned into a fully-fledged career as a freelance journalist. Before joining iMore, he was a staff writer at Gfinity and saw himself published at sites like TechRadar, NME, and Eurogamer. 

As his extensive portfolio implies, James was predominantly a games journalist before joining iMore and brings with him a unique perspective on Apple itself. When not working, he is trying to catch up with the movies and albums of the year, as well as finally finishing the Yakuza series. If you like Midwest emo music or pretentious indie games that will make you cry, he’ll talk your ear off.