Apple unveils its fastest iMac and MacBook Pro models yet

Oct 30, 2023, 9:30 PM

People stand outside an Apple Store as Apple's new iPhone 15 officially goes on sale across China, ...

People stand outside an Apple Store as Apple's new iPhone 15 officially goes on sale across China, in Shanghai, China Sept. 22. (Aly Song, Reuters)

(Aly Song, Reuters)

(CNN) — Apple’s MacBook Pro lineup and colorful iMacs just got even faster.

At an event livestreamed on Monday night, the company introduced its next-generation family of custom-made processors – the M3, M3 Pro and M3 Pro Max – and along with it, a handful of new computers.

The event’s tagline — “scary fast” — was an apparent nod to the unveiling of the next-generation silicon chip series, as well as the Halloween holiday Tuesday. In the beginning of the pre-recorded presentation, CEO Tim Cook appeared wearing all black within a dimly lit spot inside Apple’s Cupertino, California-based headquarters, standing in front of an apparent smoke machine.

Although unveiling a new processor may not sound sexy, it will serve as the backbone to Apple’s latest products, enabling faster speeds and more capabilities than ever. For example, Apple said the M3 speeds are now up to 2.5x faster than on the M1 family of chips, and its core processing performance is up to 50% faster. The chips are built with 3 nanometer technology, which can support advanced graphics and artificial intelligence.

“It will bring a whole new level of graphics to the Mac,” an Apple executive said during the event. “They are the most advanced chips ever built for a personal computer.”

Details on the new device

During the presentation, Apple showed how an analysis could be conducted on an M3 device for complex tasks such as DNA/RNA sequencing, which can help detect early-stage cancers or help prevent pandemics, from anywhere in the world.

The new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro laptops will sport the M3 Pro and M3 Pro Max chips. Although the models look the same as their predecessors, they will come in a new “space black” color, replacing space gray. The MacBook Pro option with the M3 Pro Max processor comes with up to 8 TB of storage, 128 GB of memory and is about 11 times faster than the fastest Intel-based MacBook Pro line, according to Apple.

The models also promise 22 hours of battery life and a display that’s 25% brighter than its previous version. The 14-inch MacBook starts at $1,599; the 16-inch laptop will start at $2,499.

Meanwhile, Apple is also adding M3 chips to its 24-inch iMac line. The model still features the same 4.5K retina display as before and is available in up to seven colors but the company says is now 2 times faster than the first-generation M1 iMac. The new M3-powered iMac starts at $1,299 and starts shipping next week.

Over the past several years, the progression of Apple Silicon — the company’s custom-made silicon chip — has emerged as a significant storyline for Apple, culminating in the transition away from Intel chips. It’s also turned heads with the chips’ impressive performance in terms of processing, thermal efficiency and battery life.

The new products come at a time when it’s gaining substantial ground in the traditional PC and laptop market. At the same time, Mac sales have been down this year amid weaker demand, excess inventory and a worsening macroeconomic climate.

Last month, Apple unveiled its iPhone 15 devices with a slimmer design, a more-advanced main camera system, a customizable Action button, and USB-C charging.

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Apple unveils its fastest iMac and MacBook Pro models yet