Apple could release AI-focused M4 chips for Macs this year: Report

Apple is preparing for a significant overhaul of its Mac lineup with the introduction of the M4 family of chips, as reported by Mark Gurman of Bloomberg. These chips are designed to emphasize artificial intelligence capabilities.

Introduction of First M4 Macs

The report suggests that Apple is close to producing the initial batch of M4 chips. There will be at least three main variants, and Apple intends to incorporate them into all Mac models.

The transition to M4 will commence later this year, with updates planned for various Mac models, all equipped with M4 chips including:

  • A new iMac
  • A lower-end 14-inch MacBook Pro
  • Higher-end 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models
  • A refreshed Mac mini

These updated computers are expected to hit the market starting late this year and continuing into early next year. Gurman cautioned, however, that these plans are subject to change.

Following this initial release, Apple plans to launch more M4 Macs throughout 2025. This includes updates to the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Air in the spring, the Mac Studio around the middle of the year, and the Mac Pro later in 2025.

M4 Chip Variants

According to Mark Gurman, the M4 family will comprise an entry-level variant and at least two higher-performance versions. These chips will emphasize AI processing capabilities and integration with the next macOS.

  • Entry-level chip (code-named Donan): Powers entry-level MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac mini.
  • Higher-end chip (code-named Brava): Featured in Mac Studio, higher-spec MacBook Pro models, and a higher-end Mac mini.

In addition, the highest-end desktop Mac, the Mac Pro, will receive the new Hidra chip. Apple is considering enhancing the Mac Pro next year to address customer concerns regarding the specifications of its in-house chips.

For the highest-end desktop Mac configurations, Apple is exploring support for up to half a terabyte of RAM, an increase from the current maximum of 192GB.

M3-powered Mac Studio

Regarding the M3-powered Mac Studio and Mac Pro, Apple has yet to release them. However, there’s a possibility of an M3 Mac Studio with a still-unreleased M3-era chip and a variation of the M4 Brava processor.

June Developer Conference

Apple’s focus this year is on adding new artificial intelligence features across its products and enhancing the Neural Engine with more cores for AI tasks. The company plans to showcase these features at the developer conference scheduled for June this year.