Update: This prediction came 100% true. Apple took the wraps off a pair of Macs on January 17. Don’t miss Cult of Mac‘s full coverage:
- New MacBook Pro models come supercharged with M2 Pro and Max chips
- Apple launches powerful new Mac mini at a lower cost
- Apple’s new M2 Pro and M2 Max chips raise the performance bar … again
- How the new M2 Pro and Max MacBook Pros compare to M1 models
Rumors suggest Apple is preparing for a quiet release of new Mac computers as early as Tuesday. These will include updates to the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models in addition to the Mac mini. The updates reportedly will be minor, bringing the new M2 chips to the computers.
There won’t be an Apple event — the company will announce the new computers by press release, if the rumors prove correct.
A quiet Mac announcement
The new releases, according to 9to5Mac from sources corroborated by Ian Zelbo and Jon Prosser, will start with a press release on Apple’s Newsroom tomorrow. Media briefings reportedly will take place on Wednesday and Thursday. During these briefings, journalists typically receive review units. Apple would embargo the reviews until the following Monday, January 23.
Since the transition to Apple silicon, Apple has always held a media event whenever it has new chips to announce. This would be the first time, if true, that Apple has a “quiet” release of its own processors.
It’s what’s inside that counts … with the MacBook Pro
Updating the MacBook Pro with more power reportedly will be the extent of tomorrow’s updates. There aren’t any new features rumored. That’s not necessarily bad news — the laptops are very highly reviewed.
Update: According to a filing with Canadian regulators, the laptops will also receive Wi-Fi 6E for faster internet connectivity.
The mysterious Mac mini
Not much is known about the incoming Mac mini, though. The current model is one of the first devices with Apple silicon that the company unveiled more than two years ago. The current base model runs on the basic M1 chip. But Apple never upgraded the high-end Mac mini, which comes with an Intel i5 chip and a greater selection of ports — it’s still for sale today.
Speculation is that the base $699 model will receive the M2 chip. The model with an Intel chip will be replaced by the new M2 Pro chip for a higher price. It’s unlikely to receive the M2 Max — that chip is likely to remain exclusive to the Mac Studio.
There were once rumors of a totally new Mac mini design with a slimmer profile and a glass panel on top. It’s been radio silence for nearly two years since. Will Tuesday’s update bring a fresh look for the machine, or will it continue in the same aluminum unibody chassis it’s had since 2010?
Bigger updates to Apple silicon
The M2 Pro and M2 Max are rumored to go above and beyond the formula Apple used with M1. To recap, the M1 chip family borrowed a lot of the same pieces from one another. The M1 Pro and Max chips added more CPU, GPU, memory and machine learning cores to achieve higher performance.
Higher-end versions of the M2 family reportedly will deviate from the base M2 chip that Apple introduced last summer. While the M2 is built on a 5nm process, the Pro and Max versions may use a more advanced 3nm process. Smaller transistors mean Apple can pack more of them in the same space, leading to higher performance.
Since the M2 brings only a modest improvement over the M1, offering a greater leap to the more expensive chips would be more than welcome.
A long time coming
Last year, to the surprise of many, Apple did not release any of the computers that we hotly anticipated. It was actually the first time Apple didn’t have anything for Mac customers for the fall in more than 20 years.
Today’s information is apparently in conflict with last week’s report from DigiTimes that the computers were delayed again until later this year. You won’t have to wait long to find out whose information is correct.
Other machines in the pipeline for later in 2023 include the Mac Pro, a larger 15-inch MacBook Air and the iMac and iMac Pro.