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More M4: When the Mac will get upgraded with the latest Apple Silicon

More M4 Macs could launch in 2024 and early 2025

Last updated

So far, the only Apple hardware with the M4 chip is the iPad Pro — but Macs getting upgrades is inevitable. Here's when you can expect every Mac in the lineup to catch up.

In May, Apple updated the iPad Pro with the M4 chip, making it the first in its product catalog. The iPad Pro was even updated to the latest Apple Silicon release ahead of all other Mac models, including some that are usually among the first to use it.

With a hardware-free WWDC 2024 behind us, the Mac user's attention now turns to future events. All of which can be opportunities for Apple to bring the Mac and MacBook Pro models up to M4 and beyond.

This is a list of when each of the Mac models could get a chip upgrade to the latest generation.

Plausible update times

Following after WWDC, there are precious few events left in the calendar for a public update to occur. The main event is the September launch of the iPhone, which typically includes a number of other products.

Apple also occasionally holds a second event in October, and has rarely held one in November.

Of all of its products, Macs are the most likely to be introduced in these later events. On these occasions, the Mac has been the dominant product for the event most of the time, making it a more focused presentation.

For example, "Scary Fast" in the ending days of October 2023 was 32 minutes from start to finish.

That said, Apple doesn't have to actually hold a presentation. In the past, when it performs spec-bump updates, it has sometimes decided to issue a press release instead of holding an event.

While new Mac models are newsworthy, they aren't always worth the effort for Apple to make a song and dance, unless there are big design changes too.

Events are the main focal points for all the Mac launches for M4.

M4 Mac mini

The Mac mini was, for the first two generations at least, among the initial Mac models to get Apple Silicon changes. However, it's missed out on the M3 generation so far.

The last update it had was in January 2023, making it a year and a half since its current-level upgrade.

With other models accelerating the time between regular updates, this makes the Mac mini a prime candidate to be early on the M4 train.

A silver Apple Mac Mini computer on a desk, with an LG monitor in the background displaying a macOS desktop.
The classically designed Mac mini

Rumors have persisted that new models of the Mac mini will be arriving between the end of 2024 and early 2025.

An update would likely include both low and high-end models. Since the M2 edition also includes the M2 Pro, and that Apple introduced three tiers of M3 chips at launch, it seems plausible for something similar to happen with M4 at that time.

M4 MacBook Air

Apple last updated the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Air to M3 in March 2024, making it barely more than three months old. The M2 13-inch MacBook Air arrived in July 2022 while the 15-inch appeared in June 2023.

A laptop sitting on a white surface displaying a swirling, abstract green pattern on its screen.
15-inch MacBook Air in Silver

Three monthis is too short a timeframe for Apple to even consider bringing out an update in the next few months. But, even so, Apple always has the option of making a chip-only upgrade without incorporating new features.

New MacBook Air models are expected to arrive in the spring of 2025. This puts the MacBook Air in a prime position for an annual chip upgrade cycle.

M4 14-inch MacBook Pro, 16-inch MacBook Pro

The 14-inch MacBook Pro and the 16-inch MacBook Pro were last updated in October 2023, with the hardware arriving in November.

Those models were the debut of the M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max chips.

Laptop partially open on a white desk, reflecting window panes; orange external hard drives and other items nearby.
MacBook Pro

WWDC marked seven months into the product life cycle. Add in that the M2 versions were released in January of 2023, just ten months before the M3, and a late 2024 update seems to be a fairly good time for M4.

MacBook Pro upgrades are in the ballpark of late 2024 or early 2025. The end of 2024 has also been proposed by DSCC analyst Ross Young in a June tweet.

M4 iMac

The 24-inch iMac has had a fairly spotty update schedule compared to others. The initial M1 model arrived in May 2021, but Apple didn't even bother introducing an M2 edition at all.

Users had to wait until November 2023, a year and a half later, before Apple brought out the M3 iMac.

Desktop computer with a turquoise screen, white keyboard and mouse on a desk, next to a white bottle and headphones on a stand.
Apple's 24-inch iMac

We can't necessarily say that the Apple Silicon iMac is skipping chip generations, nor that has a definitive 18-month update cycle. It's entirely plausible that Apple could bring out an M4 version and shorten the time between upgrades to a year.

The iMac is another potential candidate to be upgraded by the end of 2024, or in early 2025.

There are perennial rumors about the iMac getting a larger screen, or perhaps the rebirth of the iMac Pro. There's not much to these rumors at present, and all of them are mostly dust and echoes in late June 2024.

M4 Mac Studio and Mac Pro

The Mac Studio and the Mac Pro are some of the most troubled products in the release schedule, in part due to their similarity. Both are high-powered systems aimed at performance, with the only real differences being styling and a bit of Mac Pro upgradability.

The Mac Studio originally arrived in the M1 generation in March 2022. It received an update to M2 in June 2023, a year and three months later.

Apple Silicon got put into the Mac Pro at the same time. It used the same M2 Ultra chip.

Silver computer tower with rounded edges, a perforated front panel, and a shiny, curved handle on top.
The Mac Pro had a troubled Apple Silicon launch.

Both models have so far been ignored in the M3 generation. With their relatively limited consumer base compared to other models due to their price and capabilities, it's likely that Apple could skip M3 in favor of an M4 release.

This also justifies Apple leaving the updates of the models to later in the M4 cycle. And if Apple does, it will be the first time that Apple brings its entire Mac lineup to a current Apple Silicon generation.

But, this release isn't expected until 2025.