The new computer was launched at its ‘Scary Fast’ event. The only other launch from the event was an update to the iMac, which was first released in 2021, which receives a new processor but no other changes.
Both the new laptops and the updated iMac are powered by Apple’s new M3 chip. That is the third generation of the company’s own Apple Silicon chips since it began producing them in 2020.
Apple said that the M3 chip was around 15-30 per cent faster than the previous M2. But it preferred to compare its performance with the Intel chips that it used in its computers until 2019, in what appeared to be a gesture of humility about the changes in the new line-up.
Apple said that the base version of the M3 is 7.4 times faster for video editing than the MacBook Pro with Intel’s old Core i7 processor, for instance, and up to 60 per cent faster than its M1-powered predecessor. It gave very few comparisons between the new chips and the M2 family, which was only released in January.
As well as the performance improvements, Apple said that the new chips will allow for up to 22 hours of battery life and MacBook Pro models that will include up to 128GB of memory.
As well as the base version of the M3, which will go into the new 24-inch iMac and 14-inch MacBook Pro, Apple launched the more powerful M3 Pro and M3 Max. It is the first time that Apple has unveiled three chips at once – in previous generations, Apple launched the base version of the processor before higher-powered versions some months later.
For now, those higher-end chips will only be available in the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models launched today. Other computers such as the Mac Studio that use those professional-focused chips will stay on the M2 generation, and a rumoured revamp of the iMac Pro did not arrive.
In addition to the new chip, Apple announced a new “space black” colour for the MacBook Pro. It specifically pointed out that it used a particular kind of aluminium that would not pick up fingerprints.
The updated 14-inch MacBook Pro received a price cut from $1,999 to $1,599. All of the updated computers will go on sale next week, with the exception of the MacBook Pro with M3 Max, which will arrive later in November.
Those three announcements – a new family of chips, alongside a new iMac and two versions of the MacBook Pro to put them in – were the only announcements from the event. Apple also removed the 13-inch version of the MacBook Pro from its line-up, but did not announce it during the event.
Some rumours had suggested that Apple would make the move to USB-C for its Mac accessories such as keyboards and trackpads, after it dropped the old Lightning cable for its iPhone last month. But listings on the Apple website said it was still providing that Lightning cable for the new iMac, and Apple made no mention of new USB-C accessories.
Apple chief executive Tim Cook closed the event by suggesting there would be no more major announcements for the rest of the year. The Hallowe’en themed event included spooky music and pictures of a cloudy Apple campus, and lasted only 30 minutes, unusually short for an Apple event.
The livestreamed launched had been odd from the beginning. Apple held it at night time rather than its standard morning launch, as well as holding it much later in the year than usual, and announced it with relatively little preparation.
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies