Apple could soon kill off the Mac Pro, new report claims

It’s likely we are now only a few weeks away from seeing Apple’s first Macs loaded with M3 chips, but the entire lineup has apparently just been leaked for all to see. And there are a few big surprises among the rumored Macs.

We’ve gained these revelations thanks to journalist Mark Gurman, whose reports are usually impressively accurate when it comes to upcoming Apple products. Gurman’s latest report is allegedly based on chip configurations Apple is testing internally, so things could change in the future.

Apple's new Mac Pro sits on display in the showroom during Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC).
Brittany Hose-Small / AFP via Getty Images

The report spills the beans on every upcoming chip in the M3 family, their expected specifications, as well as which Macs they will find their way into. But it also contains a shocking revelation about one of Apple’s most powerful offerings.

According to Gurman, one device the new chips might not appear in is the Mac Pro. Gurman explains that the M3 Ultra could come to the Mac Studio and Mac Pro, “if Apple continues making those.” The comment is likely referring solely to the Mac Pro and not the Mac Studio, as Gurman did not make a similar remark when stating that the M3 Max will come to the Mac Studio.

It’s a fascinating claim, and implies that the Mac Studio could in effect be cannibalizing the Mac Pro among demanding pro users. Right now, both Macs come with the same chip options, while the transition to Apple silicon has stripped the Mac Pro of most of the modularity that made it such a unique option in Apple’s lineup. Now, its days could be numbered.

Every chip revealed

Apple's Tim Millet presents the Apple silicon A14 Bionic chip.
Apple

So, what can we expect from the next generation of Apple chips? Starting with the entry-level M3, Gurman says this will have eight CPU cores and 10 graphics cores. It will be found in the 13-inch MacBook Pro, 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Air, the Mac mini and the 24-inch iMac — something Gurman confirmed in July 2023. The next iPad Pro will also come equipped with this chip.

As for the M3 Pro, there will be two versions: one with 12 CPU cores and 18 GPU cores, and another with 14 CPU cores and 20 GPU cores. The Macs set to get these chips include the 16-inch and 14-inch MacBook Pro and the Mac mini.

We then start to move onto Apple’s more heavy-duty chips, starting with the M3 Max. This will have 16 CPU cores and either 32 or 40 GPU cores, depending on the model. The 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro laptops will get this chip, as well as the Mac Studio.

The final chip in the lineup is the M3 Ultra. There will be two configurations, both of which will have 32 CPU cores. The differences will lie in the GPU cores: one will come with 64 graphics cores, while the other will have 80 GPU cores. You can expect these in the Mac Studio and the Mac Pro, assuming Apple continues making it.

Launching soon

A woman sits at a desk with the M2 Mac Studio on it.
Apple

All of these new chips represent modest upticks in core counts compared to the M2 generation. Aside from the cores, though, Gurman says Apple is also testing new memory configurations, with 36GB and 48GB potentially in the cards.

Gurman believes we could see the first M3-clad Macs launch in October 2023, with the M3 Pro and M3 Max following in 2024. The M3 Ultra, meanwhile, might not land until the end of 2024 “at the earliest,” Gurman says.

That means we could have just over a year until we find out whether Apple will terminate the Mac Pro once and for all. Doing so could be a bitterly disappointing move for professional users who need the combination of power and flexibility that the Intel-based Mac Pro offered back in 2019. Only time will tell if that possibility becomes a reality.

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