Apple 'Scary Fast' Event: What We Expect to See Tonight
Apple's prime time event starts tonight at 5 p.m. PT where it's expected to announce new M3 processors and updates to its iMac and MacBook Pro lines.
Matt ElliottSenior Editor
Matt Elliott is a senior editor at CNET with a focus on laptops and streaming services. Matt has more than 20 years of experience testing and reviewing laptops. He has worked for CNET in New York and San Francisco and now lives in New Hampshire. When he's not writing about laptops, Matt likes to play and watch sports. He loves to play tennis and hates the number of streaming services he has to subscribe to in order to watch the various sports he wants to watch.
You won't need to wait until Halloween to receive treats from Apple. The company is hosting a product launch event online tonight at 5 p.m. PT (8 p.m. ET). If you peep the Apple Events page, you'll see the Apple logo morphing into a version of the Finder icon that vaguely resembles a jack-o'-lantern. It not only fits into the Halloween theme for this time of year but also gives us a hint that it will be a Mac-related announcement.
And that would make sense, since Apple released new iPhones in September and then followed that up last week with a new Apple Pencil (but no new iPads). It's too early for another iPhone, and if Apple had new iPads to roll out, we would have seen them last week. That leaves Macs as the chief suspects for Monday's event.
Watch this: Trick or Treat? Apple's 'Scary Fast' Mac Event Makes Us Jumpy
M3 iMac on the way?
According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, Apple is prepping a new 24-inch iMac based on a new M3 processor. The current iMac is nearly two-and-a-half years old, so it's well overdue for a refresh. Apple released the M1 iMac in May 2021, and it has yet to update it with the M2 chip that can be found in the company's MacBook, Mac Mini, Mac Studio and Mac Pro lines.
The rumors point to a spec update and not a design overhaul, other than perhaps different color options. The current iMac is already available in a rainbow of colors: blue, green, pink, silver, yellow, orange and purple.
M3 MacBooks, too?
Gurman also points out that stock is low for MacBook Pros, which could be a hint that new models are coming soon. The 13-inch MacBook Pro is the oldest MacBook in Apple's lineup. It was released in June 2022 with Apple's M2 chip. It could get the M3 treatment alongside the iMac on Monday. If the 13-inch MacBook Pro receives an update, it could mean the end of the much-derided Touch Bar that's not as useful as simply having a row of physical Function keys above the keyboard. The 13-inch Pro is the last MacBook equipped with the Touch Bar.
Apple is famously tight-lipped ahead of its product announcements, so we won't know what it has in store until Monday's event. My best guess? We see a new M3 iMac. And if Apple rolls out the M3 chip to the 13-inch MacBook Pro, then we will also get a 13-inch M3 MacBook Air update. The least compelling MacBook Pro is the 13-inch model, and I don't see it headlining Apple's M3 MacBook announcement. The 13-inch MacBook Air is much more popular and is also primed for an update; it was last updated at WWDC in June 2022 with an M2 chip alongside the 13-inch Pro.
Stock may be low for the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros, but they are newer than their smaller, 13-inch sibling. These models were released in January 2023 with Apple's M2 Pro and M2 Max chips. I'd wager it won't be until 2024 that we see them updated with M3 Pro and Max chips.
What about the 15-inch MacBook Air, you ask? It's not even six months old, far too new to receive an M3 update. Perhaps Apple will close or remove entirely the $200 price gap between it and the 13-inch model if the 13-inch model moves to the M3 and the 15-inch Air stays with the M2. Hopefully, that means the 15-inch Air gets a price cut and not the other way around, with the starting price of the 13-inch Air going up. Completing the MacBook Air shuffle could be the M2 Air replacing the M1 Air as the entry-level MacBook Air model at $999.
Again, Apple's "Scary Fast" event starts at 5 p.m. PT (8 p.m. ET, 1 a.m. BST, 11 a.m. AEDT) tonight and can be streamed live on Apple's website and Apple TV.