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Apple tests mystery M3 chip — but there’s some bad news

Apple’s M2 chip is strongly expected to make an appearance in new Macs coming later this year, but a new rumor has claimed the iPhone maker is already working on the next generation of chips. It’s bad news if you’re looking forward to getting your hands on an updated iMac any time soon.

The news comes from Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman, who has a well-established track record for Apple leaks and product rumors. According to Gurman’s Power On newsletter, Apple has been testing the M3 chip in the iMac in addition to the nine other Macs that are being put through their paces with the upcoming M2 chip.

Man using a 24-inch M1 iMac.

It’s interesting to note that the iMac was absent from Gurman’s list of Macs that are being tested with the M2. That suggests the iMac will not get the M2, instead waiting until the M3 is ready before launching.

That idea is backed up by Gurman, who cautions that, “I imagine [the M3 iMac] won’t launch until the end of next year at the earliest.” If this iMac does indeed release in late 2023, that would mark a gap of two and a half years between updates. And bear in mind Gurman says that is the earliest date we could see the new computer.

It puts the iMac in a difficult spot. Previously, it was widely expected to be updated this year — Gurman himself argued it was a possibility as recently as two weeks ago. But if it will not get an M2 chip, and the M3 version will not appear for many months, the chances seem increasingly remote that it will be present at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June. After all, releasing a new iMac with the same chip as last year’s model at a glitzy developer-focused event would be hard for Apple to justify.

A significant upgrade

Two people use iMacs on a desk in an office.

Apple tends to wait much longer to update its iMac models than it does with the more popular MacBook Air and MacBook Pro lines. If you’ve been waiting for an updated iMac to launch at some point this year, you might have to be patient for a while longer.

Still, an iMac with an M3 chip would potentially make for a significant upgrade over the 24-inch iMac that was released in 2021. That’s because that model is powered by the Apple M1. With two generations’ worth of improvements, the M3 could represent a notable power boost for iMac users.

Gurman had some other, more positive iMac news, though. At the end of the Power On newsletter, Gurman stated his belief that, “I still think an iMac Pro is coming. It just won’t be anytime soon.” When Apple discontinued the 27-inch iMac, it was widely assumed the iMac Pro had died with it. With Gurman’s seal of approval, there might still be life in the flagship all-in-one computer.

We will get a better idea of Apple’s future plans at its WWDC show in June. Whether an iMac is unveiled alongside the other product updates is, for the time being, unclear.

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