The MacBook Pro 14-inch 2023 and MacBook Pro 16-inch 2023 launched less than six months ago but we’re already hearing reports about their next iterations. According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, Apple will release upgraded versions of the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros running the M3 Pro and M3 Max chips in the first half of 2024.
Given how the MacBook Pros received a redesign in 2021, we don’t expect any radical changes with 2024’s models. However, the Apple M3 chip driving these laptops should make them more powerful and energy efficient than the already impressive M2 Pro and M2 Max MacBook Pros. To me, that’s enough to get excited about.
The next MacBook Pro laptops should be the best Apple notebooks yet. Below, I’ll explain why I’m looking forward to these notebooks and why the M3-driven MacBook Pro 14-inch might be the first Apple laptop I buy for myself.
Apple M3 performance
Apple’s M-series processors revolutionized the computing world thanks to their stellar performance and power efficiency. Even older laptops like the MacBook Air M1 can still run circles around some of the best Windows laptops. The M2 series performed better than the M1 in our benchmarks, though it wasn’t as massive a leap as when Apple switched from Intel chips to its own silicon. However, the rumored Apple M3 chip could deliver serious performance gains over M2.
The Apple M3 chip will reportedly use TSMC’s new 3nm process instead of the 5nm process used for the M1 and M2 chips. Gurman said an App Store developer log he obtained reveals details about the unannounced M3 chip. Apparently, the M3 Pro will feature a 12-core CPU, an 18-core GPU and support for up to 36GB of memory. For reference, the M2 Pro chip features a 10-core CPU, a 16-core GPU and 16GB of RAM. That’s a noticeable upgrade, with two extra CPU and GPU cores, along with double the memory.
If true, the increase in core counts over the M2 Pro would be identical to the jump from the M1 Pro to the M2 Pro. Gurman speculates that if the M3 Max received a similar gain as the M2 Max (compared to M1 Max), it would mean the next high-end MacBook Pro might pack 14 CPU cores and perhaps more than 40 GPU cores.
We haven’t heard anything regarding the potential battery life of M3-driven MacBooks but it’s reasonable to assume we’ll see astonishing results.
|MacBook Pro 16-inch M2 Max||18:56|
|MacBook Pro 14-inch M2 Pro||14:02|
|MacBook Pro 14-inch M2 Max||12:51|
|Dell XPS 15||10:05|
|MacBook Pro 14-inch M1 Pro||14:08|
|MacBook Pro 13-inch M2||18:20|
As you can see in the table above, Apple laptops with M-series chips have epic battery life. With the new MacBook Pro 16-inch we tested clocking in at nearly 19 hours of battery life, it makes me wonder what the 2024 MacBook Pros could offer. I don’t know about you, but the prospect of a laptop that lasts over 20 hours sounds borderline unbelievable. That said, I won’t rule out the possibility.
The MacBook Pro 14-inch 2024
I review the best MacBooks for a living but don’t own an Apple laptop of my own. I considered getting the MacBook Pro 14-inch 2023 but decided to hold off until Apple releases the M3 MacBook Pros.
The current Pros are fantastic machines, but if I’m getting a MacBook for myself, I want a MacBook Pro with an M3 chip at its heart. As I said, M1-driven MacBooks are still great for most people and should last for many more years. To that end, I can see an M3 MacBook Pro lasting me at least until the end of this decade.
As for which MacBook Pro I’d get, that’d be the 14-inch model. I suspect many of the reasons listed in my op-ed titled 4 reasons why I prefer the MacBook Pro 14-inch over the MacBook Pro 16-inch will still apply to 2024’s laptops.
A potential 15-inch MacBook Air with M3 sounds enticing and will likely be more affordable than a 14-inch MacBook Pro, but I want a laptop with an HDMI port and SD card reader — which the upcoming Pro laptops will presumably have. And if this laptop is to last me for years, I don’t mind spending more.
Gaming on Macs has always been a dicey proposition but the company is doing an admirable job of trying to change that perception. Resident Evil Village on a MacBook Pro runs like a dream and I’m eager to check out No Man’s Sky and Death Stranding running on Apple hardware. If Apple continues along this trajectory, the future of Mac gaming could be awesome.
Games optimized for Apple silicon work as well so far. To that end, I imagine titles made for M3 won’t disappoint. Granted, we still need more third-party game developers to optimize and bring their games to Apple’s platform. But I’m hopeful Mac gaming could at least hit its stride with the M3 Macs.
Apple hasn’t announced MacBook Pros or the M3 processor but it’s a safe bet we’ll get official word sometime in the near future. If recent reports pan out, Apple could unleash its best computers yet.
We’ll have to wait and see how things unfold, but if the M3 chip is as beefy as we expect, then I’m going to start putting money aside for when Apple announced its new MacBook Pro lineup. I can’t wait.