Apple may start releasing AI-centric, M4-powered Macs later this year

Every Mac model is set to get an M4 upgrade, according to Bloomberg.

Photo by Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

It's only been five months since Apple released the first M3-powered Macs, but we may not have to wait long to see laptops and desktops with M4 chipsets. According to Bloomberg, Macs with M4 processors could start arriving later this year (which isn't necessarily a massive surprise given the cadence of Apple silicon chips so far). While the M3 lineup didn't offer a massive upgrade from M2 chipsets, the M4 series could be a gamechanger since Apple is said to be placing far more onus on artificial intelligence this time around.

There will be at least three main versions of the M4, according to the report, and Apple is expected to update every model of the Mac with one of those chips. As things stand, Bloomberg says Apple will release iMacs, an entry-level 14-inch MacBook Pro, more powerful 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros and Mac minis with M4 chips by early 2025.

Versions of the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Air with M4 chips could arrive by the spring, with an M4 Mac Studio to follow around the middle of 2025 and a Mac Pro to come later in the year. However, the publication notes that plans may change.

The Mac mini upgrade will be quite a long time coming, as Apple hasn't upgraded that device since January 2023. The Mac Studio and Mac Pro got M2 upgrades in mid-2023. M3-powered iMacs and MacBook Pros arrived in October (remember the Scary Fast event?). The MacBook Air, meanwhile, got an M3 upgrade just last month.

With the higher-end Mac desktops, Apple may include support for up to 512GB of memory. The latest Mac Studio and Mac Pro max out at 192GB of RAM, but previous Intel-powered systems supported up to 1.5TB of memory using off-the-shelf components. Apple integrates memory more deeply into its own chipsets, so upgrading the RAM on silicon-based systems is more difficult.

That said, Apple's major focus for the M4 lineup is said to be artificial intelligence as it aims to catch up (at least in terms of public perception) with the likes of Microsoft and Google. Bloomberg suggests that Apple will highlight how on-device AI processing capabilities of the M4 chipsets will integrate with the hardware and the latest version of macOS, which will debut at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June.

The company is also said to be planning AI-focused upgrades to the processors used in this year's iPhones. Previous reports suggested that Apple wants to integrate Google's Gemini AI into iPhones while it works on its own generative AI models.