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Apple October Event recap: M3 MacBook Pro, new M3 iMac and all the ‘scary fast’ news

Here's everything we learned at the Apple October 'Scary Fast' event

tim cook unveils new mac hardware
(Image: © Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

Apple's 'Scary Fast' event unleashed a slew of new M3-powered Macs upon us, including a new M3 iMac and M3 MacBook Pros that now come in a new color: Space Black.

While that was the biggest unexpected announcement in what was otherwise a very brief event full of new products we'd heard rumors about for weeks, the new M3 Macs are a big deal.

Here's a quick overview of everything that was announced during the big Apple event on All Hallow's Eve, as well as links to our full coverage of the new chips and Macs. Below that you'll find our liveblog full of even more details and fun pictures from the event.

And check back soon, as we'll be bringing you our hands-on reports of what it's like to use these new Macs and see the M3 family of chips in action!

Apple October event announcements

The new family of Apple M3 chips were announced with a lot of emphasis on how much faster they are than Apple's industry-shaking M1 chips, as well as how they match the performance of competing chips from Intel while draining far less power. 

The fact that they're more powerful than their predecessors is easy to believe since they're the first 3nm Mac chips, and they have what Apple calls a "next-generation" GPU with support for modern graphical tech like hardware-accelerated ray tracing and mesh shading. The new M3 chips also offer a new feature called Dynamic Caching, which dynamically allocates the exact amount of memory needed for specific tasks. According to Apple, this feature is an industry first and should improve your experience when gaming and doing other complex tasks by optimizing performance.

More powerful versions of the M3 power the new MacBook Pro with M3 Pro and M3 Max, which Apple claims is monstrously better than its predecessors at demanding tasks like cutting video and coding applications. The 14-inch Pro starts at $1,599, while its larger 16-inch sibling starts at $2,499. 

These new 14-inch and 16-inch Pros look likely to be far more powerful and more power-efficient than their predecessors thanks to the advancements of the M3 chip, but we'll have to get some into our testing lab to find out!

We also met the new iMac M3, reportedly up to 2x faster than its predecessor and clearly marketed by Apple at families, students and others looking to do less heavy-duty coding and more homework and light gaming. 

We loved the original Apple iMac (24-inch), so the fact that this new one looks much the same (right down to the thin 24-inch 4.5K display and six-speaker sound system) isn't a bad thing—and the upgrade to M3 may deliver a significant performance increase.

These new Macs become available starting Tuesday November 7, but you can pre-order them right now.

Also, we learned the 13-inch MacBook Pro is discontinued and effectively dead now that these new MacBooks have arrived. 

Written by
Alex Wawro
Written by
Alex Wawro

Hey there, I'm Alex Wawro and I'll be keeping you company through Apple's "Scary Fast" event. I help with computing coverage here at Tom's Guide and have reviewed a fair number of Macs myself, so I'll do my best to help bring you the most accurate, useful and up-to-date information about today's Macstravaganza!

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Read our M3 MacBook Pro hands-on impressions

MacBook Pro 16-inch (M3, 2023)

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

We're not stopping at the M3 iMac — Tony Polanco got a first look at the gorgeous new Space Black MacBook Pro. Seriously, I still can't get over how good it looks.

Read his first impressions here.

Hands-on impressions of the M3 iMac!

iMac 2023

(Image credit: Future)

Our own Kate Kozuch got an first look at the M3 iMac. On the outside, not much has changed, but the M3 chip gives it a serious turboboost!

Find out more in her hands-on impressions.

Is M3 Pro actually worth it over M2 Pro?

MacBook Pro 16-inch (M3, 2023)

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

I felt the heartbreak of watching my M2 Pro MacBook Pro get promptly outclassed by the M3 Pro system — more so given the fact that it's only been around 10 months since that last model came out.

But now that I've had a few hours to decompress and go over the stages of grief, I did some research and saw that the improvements are super minor in comparison to M2. In fact, there are a couple of downgrades to the M3 Pro chipset.

Here's a lot more detail about why it may not be worth the money to upgrade.

Spooky Apple

(Image credit: Apple)

And that's it for the Apple livestream! That was a nice quick 30-minute affair, a rarity from Apple that's much appreciated given how late it is for most of us.

But while the Apple event is over, our coverage is just beginning! We've got breakout stories about all the biggest announcements we heard about today, and you can stay tuned for our hands-on impressions with the new iMac and MacBook Pros powered by the new Apple M3 chips!

iMac M3

(Image credit: Apple)

We've got a full story on this new iMac, which once again comes in 7 colors (though you only get 4 on the base model) and sports a big 24-inch 4.5K touchscreen, a six-speaker sound system, a 1080p FaceTime camera and now a speedy M3 chip.

iMac M3

(Image credit: Apple)

The new iMac is powered by the M3 chip but is otherwise basically identical to its 2021 predecessor. It starts at the same price, too: $1,299.

iMac Gaming

(Image credit: Apple)

Now it's on to the final Mac we were expecting to see today, the new M3-powered iMac!

MacBook Pro M3 Pricing

(Image credit: Apple)

Now the pricing is announced, and the new 14-inch MacBook Pro with M3 Pro starts at $1,599 while the 16-inch Pro starts at $2,499.

Screen sharing on MacBook Space Black

(Image credit: Apple)

What do you think about the new Space Black color scheme for these new M3-powered MacBook Pros?

MacBook Space Black

(Image credit: Apple)

We're getting a promo reel of all the new features the M3 chips can power in the new MacBook Pros running macOS Sonoma, like Game Mode.

MacBook Space Black

(Image credit: Apple)

Oooh it comes in black! Sorry, "Space Black"!

Ooh, the new MacBook Pro comes in a new color! Cue magnificently expensive promo video!

MacBook Pro with M3 Max

(Image credit: Apple)

Now Apple is comparing how fast these new M3-powered MacBook Pros are compared to the old Intel-powered models, which should give you a sense of where Apple's concerns are right now.

Namely, the company is now several generations into the transition from Intel to Apple silicon, and it wants all the folks lagging behind to jump on the bandwagon so it can stop worrying about supporting them and their old-fashioned ways.

Macbook Pro M3 Pro

(Image credit: Apple)

We're being treated to a rapid series of video packages and infographics about how the new M3 chip family is going to make these new MacBooks Pros and iMacs better at tasks which require serious computing muscle, like coding and scientific research. Also, did I catch some flashes of people playing _games_ in that sizzle reel?

M3 Lifestyle

(Image credit: Apple)

Now we're off to chat with Apple execs about the new M3-powered MacBook Pros, starting with John Ternus, SVP of Hardware Engineering at Apple. Let's see what these chips can actually do.

M3 Family

(Image credit: Apple)

These new chips are the first Apple's built on TSMC's new 3-nanometer process, and while they're not as revolutionary as the original M1 family they look likely to deliver a bigger jump over their predecessors than the M2 family did.

M3 vs M1 GPU

(Image credit: Apple)

Srouji is now claiming the new M3's GPU is capable of delivering the same performance as an Intel 12th Gen laptop chip for one fifth the power draw. That's a complicated claim that we'll have to put to the test in our lab, but if what Apple's trying to promote here is true we may see M3 MacBooks achieve unprecedented heights of laptop battery life.

Mesh Shading on M3

(Image credit: Apple)

These new M3 chip GPUs are also capable of hardware-accelerated ray tracing and mesh shading, which is a big deal for gaming that may make these new Macs much more capable gaming machines.

There's a lot to get into with these new chips, but right now Srouji is digging into one of the biggest new talking points: Dynamic Caching.

According to Apple, Dynamic Caching is an "industry-first technology, transparent to developers, and the cornerstone of our new GPU architecture" which works by (in very simply terms) dynamically allocating resources to the GPU of the M3 chip as it requires it.