The Apple "Scary Fast" Event Live Blog (Starts at 5pm PT/00:00 UTC)by Ryan Smith & Gavin Bonshor on October 30, 2023 7:30 PM EST
Join us here at 5pm Pacific/8pm Eastern/00:00 UTC for what should prove to be an interesting event from Apple. The Cupertino, California company is holding an unusual, evening broadcast event that they're calling "Scary Fast", an apt name for a product launch taking place the night before Halloween.
In typical Apple fashion, the company is tight-lipped ahead of this evening's presentation. But based on some recent regulatory filings, it looks like we're in store for some new MacBook Pros and other products – and almost certainly based on a new Apple Silicon SoC, which would be the M3 family. Apple just launched the M2 MacBook Pro family back in January, so this would be a quick turnaround for a new generation of Macs, but it's not without precident.
More interesting, at least in advance, is Apple's decision to host this event in the evening. While this makes for prime-time viewing on the US east coast, it's during commuter hours in the west coast, and Europe is outright asleep. So it will be interesting to see if this is going to become a trend from Apple to try to more directly reach consumers in the evening, or if this is a one-off event due to everything else going on today.
07:56PM EDT - Welcome to our live blog coverage of Apple's latest event
07:56PM EDT - The company has done a fall Mac-related event in most years, so this year's event is pretty typical in that regard
07:57PM EDT - The bigger surprise is the short heads - just 6 days - and the evening presentation. So from a press perspective, we're curious to see if this is the start of a larger trend
07:58PM EDT - In any case, Apple's event is entirely pre-recorded. There isn't a press gathering at Apple Park or the like. So expect Apple's presentation to fly by rather quickly
07:59PM EDT - And, whatever hardware they do announce, there won't be an immediate post-event hands-on
07:59PM EDT - And here we go
07:59PM EDT - (If nothing else, these pre-recorded presentations mean that things are very punctual)
08:00PM EDT - And starting with a MacBook Pro-centric video about working hard
08:00PM EDT - (And a special shout out to Gavin "it's at *what* time?!" Bonshor for helping out with tonight's live blog)
08:01PM EDT - "But you're on a Mac. How hard can it be?"
08:01PM EDT - Apple is going all-in with the Halloween theming here
08:02PM EDT - (Fitting for the company that owns the broadcast rights to "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown")
08:02PM EDT - And here's dracula himself, Tim Cook
08:02PM EDT - And tonight is all about the Mac
08:02PM EDT - "We continue to push the Mac forward. It has been completely transformed by Apple Silicon"
08:03PM EDT - Apple Silicon has given Apple's Macs great battery life and performance
08:03PM EDT - "Tonight we're introducing a new family of breakthrough chips" for the MacBook Pro lineup
08:03PM EDT - Now over ot Johny Srouji
08:04PM EDT - Recapping the various strengths of the M series chips thus far
08:04PM EDT - 3 new chips at the same time!
08:04PM EDT - M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max
08:05PM EDT - All three are built using 3nm tech
08:05PM EDT - (Presumably the same TSMC N3B as the A17 SoC)
08:05PM EDT - New GPU microarchitecture
08:06PM EDT - Offering a new dynamic memory caching and allocation system
08:06PM EDT - Local memory is dynamically allocated in hardware in real time - so only the amount of memory needed is allocated
08:06PM EDT - Which also apparently improves GPU utilization
08:06PM EDT - New rendering features as well, such as mesh shading and ray tracing
08:07PM EDT - So this brings the M3 up to par with the A17. And in PC terms, would be roughly DirectX12 Ultimate (feature level 12_2)
08:07PM EDT - Up to 1.8x faster rendering performance than the M2 (and 2.5x over the M1)
08:07PM EDT - Now on to CPU cores
08:08PM EDT - Performance cores are up to 15% faster than the M2 perf cores
08:08PM EDT - And the M3 effiiciency cores are up to 30% faster than M2 efficiency
08:08PM EDT - Apple is prefering to focus on M3 vs. M1
08:08PM EDT - About half the power for the same level of performance for both GPU and CPU
08:09PM EDT - M3 also has a faster 16 core neural engine. 15% faster than M2's
08:09PM EDT - And, of course, Apple's media engine block
08:09PM EDT - Hardware AV1 decode support (yay!)
08:09PM EDT - M3 has an 8 core CPU and 10 core GPU. 25B transistors
08:10PM EDT - M3 Pro is 12 CPU cores, 18 GPU cores, and 37B transistors
08:10PM EDT - M3 Max is 16 CPU cores, 40 GPU cores, and 92B transistors(!)
08:10PM EDT - Up to 80% faster than M1 Max
08:11PM EDT - Now on to the new Macs themselves, with John Ternus
08:11PM EDT - Taking MacBook Pro to a whole new level
08:12PM EDT - "And with the M3 family of chips, it gets even better"
08:12PM EDT - Apple really wants to get users off of their existing Intel-based MacBook Pros, it seems
08:12PM EDT - "There's a perfect model for everyone"
08:12PM EDT - Starting with the 14-inch MacBook Pro
08:13PM EDT - Base config is with the M3 SoC
08:13PM EDT - 40% faster than the M2 MBP13
08:14PM EDT - M3 Pro is also available on the MBP14 as an upgrade option
08:14PM EDT - And it's the base option on the 16-inch MacBook Pro
08:14PM EDT - M3 Pro MBP16 is 20% faster than the M2 Pro model
08:14PM EDT - MBP16 can drive two high resolution external displays
08:14PM EDT - And finally, MBP16 is also available with M3 Max as an upgrade option
08:15PM EDT - 2x faster(!) than the M2 Max MBP16
08:15PM EDT - The M3 Max model supports up to 128GB of memory
08:16PM EDT - Previously only the Ultra SoCs could support that much memory
08:16PM EDT - Though it's unclear on what the breakdown is in terms of DRAM die capacity and memory bus size
08:16PM EDT - 24Gbit dies are readily available right now
08:16PM EDT - Up to 22 hours of battery life for the new MacBook Pro (specific models unclear)
08:17PM EDT - Latest MBPs are up to 11x faster than the fastest Intel MBP model
08:17PM EDT - "For the vast majority of workloads you'll never hear the fans"
08:17PM EDT - And 11 hours of additional battery life
08:18PM EDT - And touting the benefits of the Liquid Retina XDR display versus the LCD used in the Intel era MBPs
08:18PM EDT - The higher-end models also come in a new color?
08:19PM EDT - (A question mark because compared to technical specs and features, that's a decidedly softer pitch)
08:19PM EDT - The MacBook Pro is now available in "Space Black", a dark aluminum finish
08:19PM EDT - 100% recycled aluminum
08:20PM EDT - And recapping macOS 14 Sonoma
08:20PM EDT - "macOS Sonoma takes full advantage of Apple Silicon"
08:22PM EDT - Now talking a bit about use cases and some of the customer bases Apple is targeting
08:22PM EDT - Software devs, industrial designers, musicians, biomedical researchers...
08:22PM EDT - "Same performance whether plugged in or on battery"
08:23PM EDT - And that's the new MacBook Pro family
08:23PM EDT - Notably absent: the 13-inch MacBook Pro. Perhaps Apple is finally retiring it?
08:24PM EDT - MBP14 starts at $1599 (down from $1999). MBP16 starts at $2499 (same as before)
08:24PM EDT - M3 and M3 Pro models available next week. M3 Max models available later in November. Pre-orders open today
08:24PM EDT - Now on to the iMac
08:24PM EDT - The 24-inch iMac is being updated to use the M3 SoC
08:25PM EDT - Apple is keeping the same design and colors. So this is largely a gut swap from the M1
08:25PM EDT - And once again taking time to focus on extoling the virtues of the Apple Silicon iMacs over the Intel-based models
08:26PM EDT - Recapping the other current base iMac features as well, such as a 1080p webcam
08:27PM EDT - And continuity with iOS devices
08:27PM EDT - Sounds like they're only offering the 24-inch model going forward?
08:27PM EDT - Starts at $1299. Pre-orders open today. The hardware will be available next week
08:27PM EDT - And back to Tim Cook
08:28PM EDT - Cook is recaping the M3 announcement
08:28PM EDT - And touting the tight collaboration between Apple's hardware, software, and silicon teams
08:28PM EDT - "This has been a remarkable year"
08:30PM EDT - It looks like Apple has indeed narrowed the Mac family some. MBA13, MBA13, MBP14, MBP16, Mac Mini, iMac24, Mac Studio, and Mac Pro
08:30PM EDT - And that's a wrap. Thank you for joining us!