Apple reportedly testing new Macs and new M2 Ultra chip ahead of WWDC 2023

Mac Studio on a table, side on
(Image credit: Future)

Apple is no doubt gearing up for its big WWDC 2023 event, which kicks off next Monday (June 5) and runs through the week. If a new report from Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman is accurate, part of that prep involves testing some new Mac computers and at least one new slice of Apple silicon: The M2 Ultra chip.

While not confirmed by Apple itself, this report is from a reliable source and pretty credible because Apple's annual WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference) events are usually where the company unveils new versions of its major operating systems and computers.

At WWDC 2022 last year, for example, we were introduced not only to new versions of iOS, iPadOS and macOS but also to the new MacBook Air 2022. If Gurman's report proves true, WWDC 2023 next week will be even more exciting, as in addition to OS updates we're likely to meet at least two new Macs and at least one new chip.

Apple reportedly testing M2 Ultra in new Macs

According to Gurman, Apple is testing two different Macs running two different chips. One is reportedly running tests with an M2 Max chip that sports 8 high-performance cores, 4 efficiency cores and 30 graphics cores, as well as 96GB of RAM.

Those are basically the specs of a MacBook Pro 2023 kitted out with the penultimate M2 Max chip, but what's interesting is that you can't get a Pro with that chip and 96GB of RAM—Apple's store caps you at 64GB unless you upgrade to the 38-core M2 Max option.

The other, far more interesting Mac reportedly in testing right now is packing an M2 Ultra chip. That's purely according to Gurman, because while it makes sense for Apple to announce such a chip to follow the M1 Ultra it launched in 2022 with the Mac Studio (pictured above), it hasn't yet said a peep about any plans for an M2 Ultra.

Mac Studio on desk showing Total War: Warhammer II running

The Mac Studio debuted in 2022 as Apple's mightiest pint-sized PC yet, packing the power of an M1 Ultra chip into a tiny chassis. (Image credit: Future)

That said, it makes total sense for Apple to unveil a new M2 Ultra chip, and we've heard plenty of reports this year that a new Mac Studio could launch at WWDC 2023. A new Mac Pro is also reportedly on the way to replace the aging Intel-powered Pros Apple still sells, but it's unclear whether that's the testbed for the M2 Ultra chip reportedly being benchmarked right now.

Gurman suggests that while Apple is still working on a Mac Pro, the identifying info he received about these test Macs points to them likely being new versions of other Mac desktops, like the Mac Studio, rather than a new Mac Pro.

The truth will come out at WWDC 2023

We've heard a lot of reports of new Macs debuting at WWDC 2023, and Gurman's reported test machines packing M2 Max and M2 Ultra chips would fit right into what we've heard so far. 

While it's possible this reporting may be inaccurate, it makes a lot of sense for Apple to unveil new Mac Studios at WWDC 2023 packing M2 Max and M2 Ultra chips. We were first introduced to the M1 Ultra (which is, to put it too simply, a hyper-powerful slice of Apple silicon that's basically two M1 Max chips stuck together) in last year's Mac Studio, which Apple pitched as a Mac to bridge the divide between Mac Pro and Mac mini.

Plus, Apple unveiled the Mac Studio and its M1 Max chip around this last time last year, just weeks before WWDC 2022. So while the timing wouldn't quite match to see its successor unveiled at WWDC 2023 next week, it lines up so neatly that it's hard not to take Gurman's report as a preview of what's to come.

Of course, in addition to new Mac desktops and new Apple silicon we're also expecting to see at least one new MacBook. It's likely to be the MacBook Air 15-inch we've been hearing reports of for ages, but the only way to know for sure will be to watch WWDC 2023 along with us. Here's how to watch the WWDC 2023 keynote livestream—stay tuned for our up-to-the-minute coverage, including some reports live from WWDC 2023 in Cupertino next week.

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Alex Wawro
Senior Editor Computing

Alex Wawro is a lifelong tech and games enthusiast with more than a decade of experience covering both for outlets like Game Developer, Black Hat, and PC World magazine. A lifelong PC builder, he currently serves as a senior editor at Tom's Guide covering all things computing, from laptops and desktops to keyboards and mice.