Apple M3 Mac Chip Specs and Features Revealed, Says Report

In a bid to revive its Mac business, Apple is prepping for the launch of its next series of Macs, powered by the M3 chip, even as the debut of new M2 chip-based Macs remains a few weeks away, reports Mark Gurman from Bloomberg’s Power On Newsletter.

The iPhone maker is presently testing next-gen Macs fitted with M3 chips, a move that has previously offered early sneak peeks into the capabilities of the new chip.

The M3 comes at a crucial time as Apple seeks new strategies to attract customers back to its Mac lineup, which saw a 31% sales dip last quarter.

Gurman says the M3 chip will have 12 CPU cores, 18 graphics cores, and 36GB memory, according to data shared by an App Store developer with Power On. The main processor of the chip comprises six high-performance cores designed for the most demanding tasks and six efficiency cores to handle less power-intensive operations. This is based on at least one configuration of M3.

This particular test is being run on an upcoming high-end MacBook Pro featuring macOS 14.0, suggesting that this could be the base-level M3 Pro slated for release in 2024.

A comparison with the entry-level M1 Pro and M2 Pro reveals a steady increase in core counts and memory:

  • M1 Pro (October 2021): 8 CPU cores (6 high-performance, 2 power-efficient), 14 graphics cores, 32GB memory.
  • M2 Pro (January 2023): 10 CPU cores (6 high-performance, 4 power-efficient), 16 graphics cores, 32GB memory.
  • M3 Pro (Currently in testing): 12 CPU cores (6 high-performance, 6 power-efficient), 18 graphics cores, 36GB memory.

The M3 Pro, if this is indeed it, sounds like a beast on paper.

Assuming the test chip is indeed the base-level M3 Pro, the rise in core counts from the M2 Pro mirrors the jump from M1 Pro to M2 Pro, with an increase of two power-efficient CPU cores and two graphics cores. Memory is also projected to get a 4GB boost in the top-end configuration.

Speculating about the M3 Max reveals a potential for 14 CPU cores and over 40 graphics cores, based on the gains observed from M1 Max to M2 Max. The M3 Ultra could potentially host 28 CPU cores and more than 80 graphics cores, up from a 64-core limit on the M1 Ultra.

Apple’s ability to cram such an impressive number of cores onto a chip can be attributed to the 3-nanometer manufacturing process it intends to adopt for the M3 line. This method allows for the creation of high-density chips, thus enabling the inclusion of more cores on a relatively small processor.

The first Macs featuring M3 chips are expected to hit the market late this year or early next year. While the first M2 chip-based 15-inch MacBook Air is set to arrive this summer, sources indicate to Gurman that Apple is already engaged in developing M3-based iMacs, high-end and low-end MacBook Pros, and MacBook Airs. Let’s bring it on.