Apple’s WWDC is just around the corner and it’s far from clear exactly what hardware may be debuting. However, an updated M2 Max and M2 Ultra-flavoured Mac Studio (2023) appears to be a possibility. Let’s dive into the rumours.
The arrival of the M2 Max and M2 Ultra on Apple’s higher-end Macs is far from the most hyped story leading into this year’s WWDC, with the 15-inch MacBook Air and a potential Apple AR/VR headset taking up much of the oxygen in the room. However, a boost to the Mac Studio, or the chance of the reintroduction of a Mac Pro, is worth paying attention to.
The first iteration of the Mac Studio was a rare new device for Apple, with it seen as a bit of a stopgap until the company could truly figure out extreme graphical grunt with its Apple Silicon chips, ahead of bringing the Mac Pro back. However, the Mac Studio shows no signs of going away. Here are the rumours that suggest we could see it revealed pretty soon, with Apple’s powerful M2 Max and M2 Ultra chips onboard.
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Apple looks set to announce new Macs at WWDC. We don’t know if these will be the Mac Studio (2023) but, veteran of the Apple beat, Mark Gurman at Bloomberg, has said that Macs with M2 Max and M2 Ultra chips are now being tested.
Gurman also states Apple will start accepting trade-ins of the current M1 Max and M1 Ultra Mac Studio from the date of WWDC, June 5th. “Read into that what you will … I’m expecting new Macs.” We will read into it, Mark. So, with an M2 Ultra expected to be on the way, that would point to a device coming soon along the lines of the Mac Studio but, whether there’s a chance it could be a Mac Pro instead remains to be seen.
For more details on the release date, we’ll have to wait for the full announcement at WWDC or otherwise.
There’s little in the way of rumours regarding potential pricing for M2 Max and M2 Ultra Mac Studio, with its release window far from confirmed.
The current starting price of the first Mac Studio is £1999/$1999. If Apple follows its long-running pattern, we could see a new Mac Studio introduced at the same price, with the hardware boost. However, over the last couple of years, we have seen UK prices rise up against US pricing, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a base M2 Max Mac Studio surge up to over £2000 in the UK.
Similarly, it wouldn’t be completely out of character for Apple to add a premium to a new Mac Studio across the board, with the M2 MacBook Air launching with a higher starting price than its predecessor.
Specs and Performance
If we do see a new Mac Studio (2023), it will make a lot of sense for it to include the M2 Max, already showcased in the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro, along with the introduction of an M2 Ultra chip. Rumours have pointed to new Macs being on the way with these new chips, but whether it is a new Mac Studio or a Mac Pro, or something else, remains unclear.
The M2 Max sports a 12-core CPU, up to 38-core GPU and up to 96GB of unified memory (400GB/s bandwidth). We can look towards the M1 Ultra chip for some idea of the potential make-up of a new M2 Ultra chip. The M1 Ultra offers up to a 20-core CPU, up to 64-core GPU and up to 128GB of unified memory (800GB/s bandwidth). The current Mac Studio also offers up to 8TB SSD storage.
We’ll have to wait for the full reveal to see if these numbers are boosted for a Mac Studio with M2 Max or M2 Ultra. However, Bloomberg has previously posited what the upgraded chip specs could be. We could see an M2 Ultra with a 24-core CPU, 60-core GPU and up to 192GB of unified memory. The same report suggests Apple could wait for an eventual Mac Pro reveal to show off both an M2 Ultra Studio and an M2 Ultra Mac Pro, with an M2 Extreme also rumoured for the future.
For ports, the current Mac Studio features four Thunderbolt 4, two USB-A, HDMI 2.0, an Ethernet and a 3.5 mm headphone jack. It seems unlikely the Studio will be redesigned for an M2-flavoured upgrade if it is to happen, so we’d expect the variety of ports to stay the same, but whether the standards are updated is a different story. A boost to HDMI 2.1 would certainly be a fair expectation.
The Trusted Take
The 2023 edition of WWDC is inbound and it’s looking like we’ll get our first glimpse at what Apple is doing with its AR/VR headset as well as an expected introduction to a new MacBook Air 15-inch. But, what of the desktop Macs?
It’s all rumours right now but it is clear Apple has plans to introduce new Macs with M2 Max and M2 Ultra in the near future. But, the timeline looks murky along with exactly what devices we’ll see these new chips on. Bringing a Mac Studio up to date with the M2 range makes a lot of sense, but we’re still expecting a Mac Pro at some point.
All rumours do point to new Macs at WWDC 2023. Unfortunately, we’re going to have to wait for the event for full confirmation of just what this will entail. But, new Macs are coming.