Apple working on Mac Mini with M3 chipset, but the launch may happen next year

By Abhik Sengupta: Apple is expected to launch new MacBooks and iMacs with the next-gen Apple silicone M3 chipset by the end of this year. It appears that Apple is also planning to refresh its relatively affordable Mac mini with the same chipset. However, all the new Macs may launch early next year as Apple anticipates a fall in Mac shipments in its first financial quarter, starting on October 1.

According to Apple analyst and Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, Apple has started testing the M3 chip on select devices directly from the campus. It also indicates that the M3 chipset is at the final stage of production. In his latest Power On newsletter, Gurman suggests that there could be a base M3 chipset and two high-end iterations, likely to be called M3 Pro and M3 Max – similar to the existing M2 iterations. The two top variants may feature on the next MacBook Pros. The base M3 may power the iMac, MacBook Air, and Mac mini.

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Gurman notes, “The Mac in testing includes eight CPU cores (made up of four efficiency cores and four performance cores), 10 graphics processor cores and 24 gigabytes of memory. This machine is running macOS Sonoma 14.1, the first point update to the upcoming new Mac software release. Given the M3 chip’s specifications in this particular Mac, I believe it probably represents a next-generation Mac mini.”

Gurman adds that the base M3 SoC may include eight CPU cores and 10 GPU cores, similar to the Apple M2 SoC. The Pro iteration may have up to 12 CPU cores and 18 graphics, while the M3 Max may feature up to 14 cores and over 40 graphics cores. He adds that Apple may not consider launching the new Mac PCs until the first quarter of fiscal 2024 (which begins at the start of October), so existing Macs will have to drive sales for a while.

That is because Apple’s Q3 2023 (until June) revenue stood at $81.8 billion, down 1 per cent year over year. The Mac sales were down from $7.2 billion to $6.8 billion YoY. With the global economic slowdown, Apple anticipates a continued decline in sales in the September quarter as well.

Meanwhile, Apple is preparing to launch new iPhones and Watches in September or October. The new iPhone 15 lineup will include four models – 6.1-inch iPhone 15, 6.7-inch iPhone 15 Max, 6.1-inch iPhone 15 Pro, and 6.7-inch iPhone 15 Pro Max – similar to last year’s iPhone 14 variants. All the new iPhones are expected to feature upgraded display tech. The regular iPhones may also come with an upgraded 48-megapixel camera sensor. Additionally, we may finally see the arrival of USB-C ports on iPhones for charging.

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