Apple Tests High-End Mac Desktops Ahead of WWDC: Report
Apple is reportedly conducting tests on two new high-end Macs and their respective processors in preparation for its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) slated for next week. That’s according to insiders speaking to Bloomberg’s reliable Mark Gurman.
Internally codenamed as Mac 14,13 and Mac 14,14, the new models will be powered by the M2 Max chip, introduced in January, and a yet-to-be-announced M2 Ultra chip. The latter is expected to supersede the M1 Ultra model currently featured in the Mac Studio, which launched back in March 2022.
These coming machines represent a strategic push to revamp the Mac line and lure consumers during a period of stagnation in the computer industry. High-performance desktop models are crucial to maintaining Apple’s allure amongst professional users, such as video editors and graphic designers, particularly in the lead-up to WWDC, an annual event attracting developers dependent on such high-powered machines for app development.
The first Mac under test reportedly features an M2 Max processor equipped with eight high-performance cores and four efficiency cores, along with 30 graphics cores – identical specifications to those found in the MacBook Pro with the M2 Max. This machine is also touted to include 96 gigabytes of memory and operates on the recently released macOS 13.4.
The second desktop in testing reportedly contains the unannounced M2 Ultra chip. This powerhouse, comprising 24 processing cores, offers twice the performance of the M2 Max model. Alongside its 16 high-performance and eight efficiency cores, it also carries 60 graphics cores and is being tested with 64, 128, and a whopping 192 gigabytes of memory.
Further details divulged by sources indicate that the M2 Ultra chip will also offer a version with up to 76 graphics cores, doubling the 38-core limit in the current M2 Max chip.
The M2 Ultra chip was originally created for a future variant of the high-end Mac Pro desktop. This machine currently operates on Intel chips, making it the last holdout in Apple’s three-year plan to incorporate its Apple Silicon into Macs.
Despite Apple’s vagueness about the release date of a new Mac Pro, insiders reveal that the future Mac Pro equipped with Apple’s in-house chips has been labelled Mac 14,8 internally. This suggests that the latest desktops under testing are different machines, possibly new versions of the Mac Studio, presently available in M1 Max and M1 Ultra configurations.
As per Gurman in April, two new Mac Studio updates are in development. Additionally, Apple is purportedly working on a 15-inch MacBook Air, future iterations of the 13-inch MacBook Air and 15-inch model with a 3-nanometer M3 processor, a budget-friendly 13-inch MacBook Pro, and an iMac with the next-generation chip.
WWDC is expected to feature the debut of Apple’s much-anticipated mixed-reality headset and updates to the software running on iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac. Multiple new Mac models are also set to be part of the presentation.
In an apparent hint that new models are due soon, Apple is reportedly planning to expand its Mac trade-in program starting next Monday in the U.S. The company will begin accepting the M2 13-inch MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and the current Mac Studio, typically a signal of imminent new releases, says Gurman.