For the first time, Apple scheduled its presentation for the evening, which turned out to be equally inconvenient for both European and European, and Asian fans of the company. Most likely, this decision was made in order to emphasize the atmosphere of the impending Halloween – the presentation itself was opened with the slogan “Scarily fast”, which is not typical for Apple.
However, the slogan “Frighteningly small” will also work: the company broadcast for only half an hour and presented only three new devices: MacBook Pro laptops with a diagonal of 14 and 16 inches, as well as 24-inch Apple iMac all-in-one PCs. The devices have changed very slightly in appearance, retaining the design features of their predecessors: neither the “bang” in the MacBook Pro displays nor the “chin” in the iMac have gone away. At the same time, the most important changes were concentrated “under the hood”.
The new computers will receive the third generation of proprietary processors – Apple M3, M3 Pro and M3 Max. Compared to the 2022 chips, their layout has not undergone significant changes. One way or another, it will be possible to accurately determine the ratio of quantitative improvements (improved performance by increasing operating frequencies and increasing the number of cores) to qualitative ones (refinement of the architecture and logic of its operation) only after full reviews and testing appear online – Apple provides rather modest performance data .
However, approximate calculations can be done now. The company itself claims an 80% increase in performance of the M3 Max compared to the M1 Max when performing multi-threaded calculations. However, the M3 Max has six more processor cores, which in pure form provides a 60 percent increase in performance. In addition, even during the transition to the M2 generation, the clock frequencies of all chips were increased by 200-400 MHz, which gave a performance increase of about 7-10% (according to AnandTech). Thus, even to a first approximation, it becomes clear that at least 67% of the declared increase in performance is made up of those very “quantitative improvements”.
It is possible that Apple is putting a good face on a bad game, without having a new processor architecture capable of providing a significant increase in pure performance, it is trying with all its might to maintain its leading position in the market and not lose the loyalty of its fans.
Few people remember the times when the Apple Cyclone (Apple A7) architecture appeared on the market, which turned out to be 40-60% faster than Swift, and the Apple Twister (Apple A9), which was 25-90% faster than Typhoon – now such figures seem prohibitive.
The situation is completely different with the graphics subsystem of the new chips: Apple did not limit itself to a banal increase in frequencies and an increase in the number of cores. The company says the Apple M3 Max’s 40-core GPU is approximately two and a half times faster than the M1 Max’s 32-core GPU – numbers that look impressive even compared to last year’s flagship M2 Max. Moreover, the new GPUs have acquired hardware support for ray tracing and mesh shaders, which will significantly improve the performance of computing tasks.
Thus, the entire Apple M3 series offers high performance, and expanded memory configurations (up to 128 GB in older MacBook Pro models with M3 Max chips) will satisfy the ambitions of even the most demanding users. A little to the side is the 24-inch iMac, the maximum configuration of which is modestly limited to 24 GB of RAM based on the Apple M3 chip. It is also noteworthy that Apple abandoned the MacBook Pro 13 line with the Touch Bar, not only eliminating the MacBook Air 13 competitor, but also moving all Pro laptops into the upper price segment.
Apple M3 has become a key front of work in the current generation of Apple laptops and all-in-one PCs. The remaining parameters of the new products have remained virtually unchanged compared to 2022: the MacBook Pro is equipped with the same mini-LED displays with slightly increased brightness (from 500 to 600 Nits) for SDR content, as well as support for ProMotion dynamic refresh rate technology (from 1 to 120 Hz), and the iMac has a standard 4.5K (4480×2520) IPS display.
The battery life of all new products also remains the same. The exception is the M3-based MacBook Pro 14, which lasts up to 22 hours on a single charge (an average of four hours more than the M3 Pro and M3 Max versions). However, it is likely that when performing simple computing tasks, the new platform will be slightly more energy efficient, primarily due to the 3 nm process technology.
The third generation MacBook Pro and the second generation iMac with Apple Silicon processors, despite the intrigue on the eve of the presentation, were neither “scary” nor attractive. On the contrary, they are made in the best traditions of the model range, offering consumers high performance in all price segments, flexibility in choosing memory, as well as support for advanced standards and functions (hardware ray tracing, hardware support for the AV1 codec, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3 and others ).
Apple demonstrates an extremely prudent strategy for introducing innovations in all product niches. Sometimes it may seem that the cost of a mistake for a company is higher than the potential profit from releasing a somewhat experimental product. Of course, such a strategy is by no means universal and allows competitors to achieve a certain superiority, at least in terms of the functionality of the solutions. Be that as it may, Apple’s October new products leave mixed impressions: everything about these devices turns out to be too familiar to arouse genuine interest.