Some of the best 2024 Macs are still ahead of us


The Mac in 2024
2024 will bring lots of M3-based Mac desktops, and maybe an M4 MacBook.
Image: Apple/D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

After Apple’s thunderous launch of the M3, M3 Pro and M3 Max chips a few months ago, these chips likely will roll out as spec bumps in the MacStudio, Mac Pro and Mac mini later this year.

An M4 MacBook Pro remains a possibility for this fall. (I suspect M4 will be the first “must-have” Mac upgrade for anyone still on an M1-series chip.)

What to expect from Mac in 2024: M3 here, there and everywhere

Throughout the rest of 2024, Apple is expected to finish updating its Mac lineup to the new M3 chip that debuted in November in the MacBook Pro and iMac.

This year started with that processor going into both the 13-inch and 15-inch versions of the MacBook Air. But we’re still looking ahead to Apple bringing the M3 and M3 Pro to the Mac mini, with the high-end M3 Max chip and expected M3 Ultra chip headed for the Mac Studio desktop and Mac Pro tower. And there just might be an M4 MacBook Pro in the fall.

None of these machines are expected to be significantly redesigned or changed in price.

Table of contents:

  1. Mac mini M3 and M3 Pro
  2. Mac Studio M3 and Mac Pro M3
  3. MacBook Pro M4

Mac mini M3 and M3 Pro

Mac mini sitting on desk alongside LG display, LaCie hard drive, Model F keyboard and Magic Trackpad
The Mac mini is a popular choice for a modular setup.
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

The Mac mini with M3 and Mac mini with M3 Pro could debut at any time — even at WWDC24 in June. These new models likely would replace the existing M2 and M2 Pro models at the same prices, with the M3 and M3 Pro chips first seen on the MacBook Pro.

Today, there’s no way to get the power of the M3 chip in the cheaper desktop form factor. If you want Apple’s latest and greatest, you must pay a roughly $700 premium for an iMac or MacBook Pro.

The Mac mini is far from the most glamorous Mac in the lineup. However, its modular form factor makes it a top pick for independent creators, small businesses and server farms.

Mac Studio M3 and Mac Pro M3

Apple Mac Studio with M2 Max or M2 Ultra next to Apple Mac Pro with M2 Ultra.
Apple’s high-end desktop Macs are not a priority for the company. That much should hold steady through 2024.
Photo: Apple

According to Bloomberg, the Mac Studio and Mac Pro will not receive updates until late 2024 or early 2025. However, a more recent report from a different source pointed to an updated Mac Studio on Apple’s agenda for around the middle of this year.

Any delay likely would result from limited manufacturing capacity of the three-nanometer process, a cutting-edge technology used to make the M3 family of chips. As the Mac Studio and Mac Pro are the lowest-volume sellers, with the highest-spec and highest-complexity chips, they probably will be the last to ship — just like before.

The two high-end macOS desktops likely will receive the M3 Max chip and introduce a new M3 Ultra chip, with double the specs and performance. The M3 Ultra, then, should be configurable up to a 32-core CPU, 80-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine and 256GB of unified memory.

MacBook Pro M4

The top two new MacBook Pro models now come in a space black aluminum finish.
The M3 MacBook Pro will remain the latest and greatest for another year at least.
Photo: Apple

Will Apple debut updated MacBook Pros with M4 chips before the end of 2024? It’s highly unlikely Apple will begin rolling out M4 chips before the M3 generation is finished. If you’re waiting for a MacBook Pro with M4, you may have to wait until March or even June of next year.

Apple reportedly will manufacture its M4 chip using an “enhanced” three-nanometer process. That upgrade likely would bring a significant boost to performance per watt. Apple could tune this to either increase performance with the same battery life, maintain performance with a significant bump in battery life, or strike a balance somewhere in the middle.


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