A new report from a respected Apple insider suggests the company plans to release a range of new Macs and MacBooks in 2023, including a Mac Pro, iMac… and two MacBook Airs.
While rumors of a new iMac and Mac Pro make a lot of sense given that these are two products that haven’t been updated in a while, the suggestion that one was released so soon after the MacBook Air (M2, 2022) is more disturbing.
Let’s start with the good news (assuming this report is correct). Mark Gurman, writes for Boomberg (opens in new tab), claims a 24-inch iMac 2023 is in advanced stages of development. With the same design (including the popular color schemes) as the previous iMac (24-inch, 2021), this new version is apparently getting a hardware update, upgrading the M1 chip from the 2021 model to the M2 – or even an unreleased M3 chip.
According to Gurman, there will also be other internal changes, particularly to the layout of components. While not speculating, this could be to help improve airflow to keep the new hardware cool.
Like I said, that all makes sense. With the last iMac coming out two years ago and the M1 replaced by the M2, now feels like the right time to update the iMac – especially as Gurman suggests we won’t see the new iMac hit shelves until the second half . from this year.
Finally, a Mac Pro could be on the way
Gurman also says that Apple will finally release a new Mac Pro in 2023, and that it will be the first of Apple’s super-powerful desktop workstation PCs powered by Apple’s own chips, after parting ways with Intel.
Again, this makes sense, as the Mac Pro is one of the few Mac products (besides the 27-inch iMac and iMac Pro) not yet on a new release, powered by Apple silicon. With the last Mac Pro released in 2019, it’s a product that really feels like it could use an update.
The rumors suggest that it will also have an incredibly powerful M2 Ultra chip, with 24 CPU cores, 76 GPU cores and support for up to 192 GB of memory.
We haven’t heard of an M2 Ultra chip, but if Apple uses the same design as the M1 Ultra (which debuted in 2022 with the Mac Studio), it will likely be two M2 Max chips linked together via an ultra-fast connection . essentially make one big, incredibly powerful chip.
I can certainly see this happening and a new Mac Pro would be an ideal product for a chip of this caliber. So far, Gurman’s rumors about Apple’s 2023 Mac plans sound promising. However, there is also news that I am less happy with…
An annual MacBook Air? no thanks
According to Gurman, Apple also plans to release not one, but two MacBook Airs in 2023. This news is more puzzling, as the latest model, the MacBook Air (M2, 2022), is less than a year old and came with a major redesign and new M2 chips.
According to Gurman, Apple will release a new 15-inch MacBook Air this year. While I’m not too convinced that a larger screen MacBook Air will be something many people are asking for (part of the MacBook Air’s appeal is how thin and light it is, and a larger screen can affect portability ), a model with a larger screen would at least set it apart from last year’s model.
However, Gurman suggests that a new 13-inch MacBook Air will also be released in 2023, likely with an M3 chip. This is what I’m starting to worry about, since such a move would mean a move to an annual upgrade cycle for Apple’s M chips. The M1 came out in 2020 and the M2 debuted in 2022, which felt like a reasonable gap. However, in my experience, the M2 chip didn’t bring a generational leap that would make people who owned an M1-powered Mac like the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) feel the need to upgrade, and they probably will. even more so if Apple moves to annual upgrades.
I can understand why Apple is attracted to this. The MacBook Air has been a huge success, and the company has been releasing new, updated iPhones every year for years. While some people might agree with the idea of their iPhone becoming obsolete after 12 months, a similar scheme might not sit well with MacBook owners.
There will almost certainly be people who bought the MacBook Air (M2, 2022) who will feel a little left out if Apple releases an updated M3 MacBook Air so soon after, especially if Apple launches it with a barrage of claims about how much better the M3 is compared to the M2.
This annual cadence could also affect Apple’s other Macs – as Gurman suggests, if the M3 launches at WWDC 2023 (a year after the M2 launches), the M3 Pro and M3 Max would appear in new MacBooks in 2024 Pros.
That could irk even more people, as people invest in top-tier MacBook Pros thinking they’ll stay on the leading edge for a while. Of course, the release of M3-powered versions won’t make their M2 purchases obsolete, but it probably won’t go over very well either.
So if Apple thinks that because it can release annual updates to its iPhones, it can do the same with MacBooks, I wouldn’t be so sure. I certainly won’t be upgrading every year, nor will I enjoy the feeling that my expensive new MacBook is outdated after less than a year.