Apple expands M3 Mac testing ahead of rumored October launch

Apple continues to ramp up testing of new M3 Macs as we approach an expected launch sometime in October. According to a new report from Bloomberg, Apple has recently started testing a new Mac with a model identifier “Mac15,12” with an M3 chip – potentially a new version of the Mac mini.

The report comes from Mark Gurman in the last edition of his Power On newsletter for Bloomberg. According to Gurman’s sources, the M3-powered Mac in testing packs an 8-core CPU alongside a 10-GPU and 24GB of RAM. The 8-core CPU consists of four efficiency cores and four high-performance cores.

This configuration lines up with what is currently available in the M2 version of the Mac mini, just with the new M3 chip instead. The version being tested by Apple is likely the base model but upgraded with 24GB of RAM rather than the starting amount of 8GB. “Given the M3 chip’s specifications in this particular Mac, I believe it probably represents a next-generation Mac mini,” Gurman says.

The report does point out that while the base M3 core counts are the same as the base M2 core counts, the M3 Pro appears to offer a slight boost. According to the report, the base M3 Pro chip offers 12 CPU cores and 18 GPU cores, up from the M2 Pro’s 10-core CPU and 16-core GPU.

In total, there have been six different variations of M3-powered Macs that have appeared in third-party developer logs obtained by Bloomberg:

  • M3 13-inch MacBook Air (codenamed Mac 15,1 and J513/J613)
  • M3 15-inch MacBook Air (codenamed Mac 15,2 and J515/J615)
  • M3 13-inch MacBook Pro (codenamed Mac 15,3 and J504)
  • M3 iMac (codenamed Mac 15,4, Mac 15,5, J433 and J434)
  • M3 Pro and M3 Max 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros (codenamed Mac 15,7, Mac 15,8, J514 and J516)
  • Possible M3 Mac mini (codenamed Mac 15,12)

The M3 chip is expected to be manufactured using a new 3nm fabrication process, which reduces the amount of distance between transistors on the chip. The smaller the distance, the better the performance and efficiency.

Bloomberg has previously reported that the first M3-powered Macs are scheduled for an announcement in October. The initial lineup will reportedly include the 13-inch MacBook Pro, the 24-inch iMac, and the 13-inch MacBook Air. Whether or not the base model M3 Mac mini also debuts around this time remains to be seen.

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