Apple held a short presentation tonight to introduce its first M3 SoCs — built with the same three-nanometre process as its A17 Pro chip in the iPhone 15 Pro — and updated Macs which use those chips: a refreshed iMac and MacBook Pro line. Aside from the SoC, there appears to be little new in either line; the MacBook Pro’s display is a little brighter, and there is a new darker grey finish for M3 Pro and M3 Max models.
Perhaps the most curious part of these new Macs is that Apple is pitching them specifically to people who own Intel models — or, in the words of John Ternus, anyone “still” using a computer Apple stopped selling just two years ago. Of course, these are significant upgrades from comparable Intel models; whether you believe the 24-inch iMac is comparable to a 27-inch 5K model, on the other hand, is a matter of interpretation. I do not think it is, and Apple’s insistence that it is “the perfect size and resolution to replace both the 4K and the 5K” Intel iMacs is robbing me of any hope of a larger version to eventually replace my 5K model.
The rumour mill was a curious beast this time around. Just two weeks ago, Mark Gurman said there would be no new Macs this month, with the earliest M3 Macs coming out “between early and spring 2024”. In the next newsletter, however, Gurman reversed his predictions, claiming new iMacs and MacBook Pro models would be launched soon. Then, after Apple announced this presentation last week, Ming-Chi Kuo said new M3-based MacBook Pros would be its focus. Gurman said a lower-cost model of the MacBook Pro featuring the base M3 chip would not be launched until next year, and claimed the new iMac’s accessories would have USB-C ports instead of Lightning ports. Also, Ben Lovejoy of 9to5Mac found it “sketchy” that a supposed new MacBook Pro box leaked with a “crude” and “boring” desktop picture.
Kuo was, as it turns out, right. Gurman’s predictions were a mess; there is no way that Apple changed its mind about running this event in the past two weeks. Lovejoy flubbed it.
There was one special treat at the end of the presentation, when Apple noted the entire thing was shot on the iPhone 15 Pro Max — “all presenters, locations, and drone footage”. There was not a single moment when something felt off, or different, or questionable. Of course, just because something is shot with specific equipment, it does not mean what we are seeing in the final edit is entirely from that footage. But I have quietly wondered if Apple would start using its own cameras for these presentations. Now, we have our answer: it just did, and nobody was the wiser until the credits rolled.
Update: Apple has now published a behind-the-scenes look at shooting on iPhones.