Apple’s M4 chip reportedly ‘nearing production’ — and it could cause major headaches for Qualcomm and Intel

MacBook Air on a wooden table
(Image credit: Laptop Mag/Sean Riley)

Apple just launched its M3 family of chips six months ago, but apparently M4 chips are already "nearing production" and could be available in the Mac lineup later this year. This news comes from a recent Bloomberg report by Mark Gurman (via 9to5Mac), who's been a very reliable source for all things Apple.

Gurman says that the first M4 chips will be available "in at least three main varieties, and Apple is looking to update every Mac model" and "release the updated computers beginning late this year and extending into early next year." And these M4 chips will supposedly have a strong AI focus, perfect for competing against AI chips from Qualcomm and Intel.

There's no official word yet from Apple on its plans for M4 chips, but info shared by Gurman is typically strong, and he has a lot to say on which devices will get the M4 chips and when they'll launch.

The list of rumored M4 Macs is lengthy

Gurman says we can expect "new iMacs, a low-end 14-inch MacBook Pro, high-end 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros, and Mac minis — all with M4 chips." So if you've been wanting to upgrade one of these devices, it might be worth waiting until late 2024 or early 2025 for a more powerful M4 chip that's "designed to highlight artificial intelligence."

It's worth noting that Gurman follows up this info with the disclaimer that "the company's plans could change." That said, this statement has more to do with the potential release timeline for these devices, rather than their existence.

15-inch MacBook Air M3 on a wooden table outdoors

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

He goes on to say that after Apple launches the above devices, the company will "follow up with more M4 Macs throughout 2025," including "updates to the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Air by the spring, the Mac Studio around the middle of the year, and the Mac Pro later in 2025."

The Mac Pro — Apple's highest-end desktop and lower-selling model — will be getting an upgraded chip, codenamed Hidra, and potentially support for up to 500GB of RAM (the max right now is 192GB). There's also a chance Apple could launch a new Mac Studio with a "still-unreleased M3-era chip." 

In the M4 family of chips, Apple supposedly plans to include an entry-level variant and at least two higher-performing variants, and all of them will "highlight the AI processing capabilities of the components and how they'll integrate with the next version of macOS," which we could see announced at WWDC 2024.

Apple's release schedule for new Mac devices isn't as locked in as it is for new iPhones. Since 2022, we've seen new Macs announced in January, March, June, and October. The focus of Apple's September event is typically on its new iPhone, so an October announcement for these new M4 devices seems most likely, but as always, we'll have to wait and see.