The last few weeks have been somewhat chaotic in the Apple rumours community. Every day it seems, new conflicting information regarding a supposed March 8th event makes its way across the mainstream rumour sites and Twitter. The rumours all pointed to three new Macs arriving in March. But that no longer seems to be the case. Let’s try and make some sense of these rumours and confirm what we know.
The iMac Pro
One of the most anticipated new Macs, the iMac Pro will replace its now-discontinued predecessor and the ageing Intel 27 inch iMac. When Apple announced a fully redesigned iMac last year, it notably arrived in just one display size of 24 inches. It sports Apple’s first generation of Apple Silicon, the M1 chip and comes in a range of bold colours. But a larger model with more powerful processors did not make an appearance. Since then, Apple has unveiled two more powerful chips, the M1 Pro and the M1 Max that would be perfect for the iMac (and likely other Macs such as the Mac Mini).
The next iMac Pro may offer a dual M1 Max configuration. That will effectively double CPU and GPU performance over the widely praised MacBook Pro that was released at the end of 2021. The machine will also feature mini LED technology, much like the MacBook Pro and iMac Pro. This machine was initially rumoured to launch at the March event. But the latest information from display analyst Ross Young, suggests that this has been pushed back to June 2022.
Launch Prediction – June 2022
The MacBook Air
Another of Apple’s new Macs in need of a design overhaul is the MacBook Air. The current model does feature Apple Silicon but relies on the older design language with tapered edges. The tapered edge design has been supplanted by the boxier, rugged design of the new MacBook Pro. It makes sense that the Air would follow in the footsteps of its more powerful sibling. Given that the Air is a more consumer-orientated device, the design may also take inspiration from the colourful 24-inch iMac and include white bezels.
The Air will likely debut with a yet to be announced M2 chip. The current Air sports the M1 Chip so it doesn’t make much sense for Apple to launch an all design with a previous generation processor. There is a rumour that Apple may drop the name MacBook Air and simply refer to this machine as ‘MacBook’. It would serve to simplify the lineup and make it easier for consumers to differentiate it from the MacBook Pro. One detail that is less clear is the release date. Even Mark Gurman, the renowned Apple analyst at Bloomberg is unclear as to the release date of this product.
The best information available regarding the release date comes from Ming-Chi Kuo. In a rather old report dating back to December 2020, Kuo states that production of the new Air will likely be in the third quarter of 2022. That puts this machine firmly in the autumn release window. Apple typically releases new versions of macOS a month after new versions of iOS. And it’s likely that the new Air would ship with the new OS. Given that iOS releases are usually in September, we can assume that the Air would arrive with a new version of macOS in October.
Launch Prediction – October 2021
The Mac Mini
The last time Apple updated the Mac Mini was at the end of 2020 and was one of the first machines to feature Apple Silicon. The current version features the M1 chip but the design has not changed in a number of years. Lots of rumours point to an all-new design but what is less clear in this case, is the choice of CPU. Some reports suggest that the Mini will be available in a Pro configuration and feature an M1 Pro or perhaps even an M1 Max chip. But rumours of a ‘Mac Mini Pro’ have died down recently. More recent reports suggest that the Mini will feature the M2 chip. But it is still possible that we might see an M1 Pro configuration, albeit in the same design as the M2 model. The jury is still out on this one.
The machine’s design has yet to leak. Front Page Tech has created concepts based on information from their sources. But they don’t generally publish details of sources to protect the identity of the source. Front Page Tech has a mixed track record when it comes to accuracy.
The Mac Mini is the machine most likely to appear at the March event. Particularly if Apple chooses to use the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips. The chips are already in mass production and demand for the Mac Mini is typically much lower than other machines such as the MacBook range.
Launch Prediction – March 2022
The Mac Pro
Very few details are available surrounding the next generation of Mac Pro. The Mac Pro was most recently overhauled with an all-new design at WWDC 2019. And it arrived alongside the ProDisplay XDR. Given the efficiency of Apple Silicon and thermal performance, we could see Apple offer a new design once again for the Mac Pro in a more portable form factor. Once again most information regarding the design comes from Front Page Tech. The concept below depicts the new Mac Pro as looking similar to four Mac Mini’s stacked on top of one another.
In terms of processor options, the Mac Pro will almost certainly offer a wide variety of configurations. There are reports that the machine may come with a quad M1 Max configuration. But it wouldn’t be surprising if Apple has a more bespoke chip in the works for the Mac Pro. We could also see Apple update the Intel Mac Pro alongside the Apple Silicon version, sporting the latest generation of Intel chips. Customers of the Mac Pro typically have very specific workflows. Fear of workflows breaking can create more hesitancy in upgrading for this group of consumers. Apple has largely mitigated this with Rosetta 2 which translates Intel applications in real-time for Apple Silicon. But offering a new Intel Mac Pro would tide over the more hesitant Pro customer until the transition to Apple Silicon is further along.
Apple stated at WWDC 2020 that it would take 2 years to transition all Macs to Apple silicon. They were unclear if that would be two years from the announcement or 2 years from the date that the first Mac models made the transition. WWDC 2022 would be two years from the announcement and November 2022 would be two years since the first machines with Apple Silicon shipped. The Mac Pro will be announced this year. Perhaps even at WWDC in June. But the shipping date of the product might be later in the year alongside the next version of macOS.
Release Prediction – October 2022
The MacBook Pro, 13-Inch
As reported yesterday, one of Apple’s next Macs to be updated is the 13-inch MacBook pro. It is intended to be an entry-level machine. And to reflect that it will retain the same design as the current 13-Inch MacBook Pro and feature the M2 chip.
If Apple is keen to announce the next generation of Apple Silicon sooner rather than later, then it’s perfectly plausible that they could announce this machine at the March event. Particularly if Apple intends to debut the M2 in the Mac Mini at the same time. But if Apple is intending to offer the M1 Pro and M1 Max in the Mac Mini, then this machine is more likely to debut alongside a slew of new machines in the Autumn. Apple won’t want to take away the shine of the M2 chip with complaints of the ageing design of the 13-inch MacBook Pro.
Release Prediction – October 2022
Based on the information outlined in this article, below is the best estimate of each Macs release date:
- Mac Mini – March 2022
- iMac Pro – June 2022
- MacBook Pro 13-Inch – October 2022
- MacBook Air – October 2022
- Mac Pro – October 2022
Which Mac do you hope to see Apple release next? Are you holding out on your next Mac purchase? Sound off in the comments!
Featured image: Ales Nesteri via Unsplash