Ahead of an expected launch in October of this year, Apple is rolling out a new test version of its M3 chip Macs.
According to reports from Mark Gurman at Bloomberg, a device identified as Mac 15,12, containing four efficiency cores and four high-performance cores, recently started testing. Since that lines up precisely with the current Mac Mini, it’s likely the M3 chip is being tested in a new version of the compact computer.
With all four generations of its M2 chip finally released, Apple is apparently turning attention to the M3.
The base M3 will actually be pretty similar to the base M2 in configuration, but the higher versions are bringing more of a boost. The M3 Pro will have a 12-core CPU and 18-core GPU compared to the 10-core CPU and 16-core GPU of the M2 Pro, while the M3 Max will carry a 14-core CPU and 40 graphics cores compared to the 10-core CPU and 38-core GPU of the M2 Max.
Aside from the core upgrades though, the M3 chip will be made by a new 3nm fabrication process, which reduces the distance between transistors, improving performance and efficiency. Apple’s previous chips for the Mac and iPhone have all been made with a 5nm process.
This marks the sixth device Apple has tested with the M3 chip, according to third-party developer logs. Other tests included a 13-inch MacBook Air, a 15-inch MacBook Air, a 13-inch MacBook Pro, an M3 iMac, and a 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro with the Pro and Max versions of the chip.
The first Macs powered by the new M3 chip are expected for October of this year, with a 13-inch Macbook and 24-inch iMac among products with the upgrade. There’s been no announcement of a new Mac Mini release, but it’s likely we’ll see those in the spring of 2024 rather than the fall.