Scary fast: Apple October keynote 2023 summarized

When I saw that last night's Apple special event only lasted half an hour, I was afraid I would write a conclusion like "that could have been a press release." But I can say in advance: it was delivered.

Despite the shortness of the video, all rumors confirmed and also made many comparisons between the new M3 chip family and its predecessors, especially the M1 chip family. Only this time the Apple people rushed through the individual information “scary fast”. But no problem, there is the Sir Apfelot blog and the local event summary that you can study at your leisure.

Here you can find the summary of the Apple Special Event in October 2023. Below there are details about the M3, M3 Pro, M3 Max, MacBook Pro late 2023 and iMac 2023. There are also diagrams and notes on the presentation video itself.
Here you can find the summary of the Apple Special Event in October 2023. Below there are details about the M3, M3 Pro, M3 Max, MacBook Pro late 2023 and iMac 2023. There are also diagrams and notes on the presentation video itself.

Opening: short film, spooky music and Tim Cook

The introduction to Apple's October event was a short film that showed the "hard work" of various people on the Apple Mac. Coaches from children's and professional sports teams, students, people from Headspace and Porsche, researchers from various scientific fields, a designer, a screenwriter, programming students and others were shown working on Apple products. The bottom line: But you work with a Mac – so how hard can it be? (“Yeah, but you’re on a Mac. So, how hard can it be?”)

After this commercial, the lettering “Mac” was shown, which transitioned into the pure Apple logo. This became the moon on a cloudy night. Or to put it another way: Halloween finally played a role. And it stayed that way throughout Keynote, including dark image compositions, comparisons of the new Apple silicon models with “monsters” or “beasts” and so on. But for now, as always, you were greeted by Apple's CEO Tim Cook, whose Apple Watch Ultra stood out from the gray overall picture with its orange strap. After hymns of praise for the Apple Silicon Mac, we moved on to the news.

Welcome to my lab: M3, M3 Pro and M3 Max presented

Johny Srouji, Senior Vice President of Hardware Technologies at Apple, invited people into his lab set, which was darker than usual, with spooky echoes and sound effects as well as the words “Welcome to my lab.” Here, after further praising the previous technology, he presented the new M3 chip family. As was already rumored yesterday, in addition to the new M3 chip, the M3 Pro and the M3 Max were also presented. However, not as much was broken down here as in previous presentations. Much of the talk was simply about the M3 chip family and the comparison to the M1 or M2 chip family.

The M3 chips are the first SoC models for personal computing manufactured using 3-nanometer technology. Thanks to ultraviolet lithography, the transistors could be designed so small that 2 million of them could be accommodated in the cross-section of a human hair, it was said. In addition, it was emphasized that the individual sections of the M3 chips were revised and made better, especially the graphics unit (GPU). This revision also includes the new “Dynamic Caching” feature. Unlike before, fixed GPU memory is no longer reserved for certain tasks, but only the required memory is allocated through analysis of the processes.

The new “Dynamic Caching”, with which Apple wants to secure a further lead in the computer industry, should make even better use of the Mac's graphics performance. In addition, the feature is transparent for developers who can use it with their apps. And it is said to be a cornerstone of Apple's new GPU architecture. This is now also becoming more and more interesting for gamers, since e.g. B. hardware-accelerated mesh shading and hardware-accelerated ray tracing are enabled - two graphics technologies that are intended to make the Mac more attractive as a gaming machine.

Then we continued with the (simplified) comparisons and diagrams. Because the graphics rendering of the new M3 chip family is said to be up to 2,5 times faster than the M1 chip family due to the new GPU technologies. Compared to the M2 chips, the M3 chips are said to be up to 1,8 times faster. A “monstrous” improvement.

Afterwards we talked about the CPU cores of the new M3 family. The performance cores are up to 30% faster than those of the M1 chips and up to 15% faster than those of the M2 chips. The energy efficiency of the previous SoCs should be retained. This also applies to the efficiency cores, which are said to be up to 3% faster in the M50 family than in the M1 chips and up to 30% faster than in the M2 chips.

According to a few more (simplified) diagrams, the CPU unit of M3 chips can achieve the same performance of M1 chips with only half the power consumption. The GPU unit also only uses almost half the energy to deliver the same performance. Compared to the latest 12-core processor for PC laptops, the same CPU performance can be achieved with just a quarter of the energy; In terms of graphics performance, it should only be a fifth.

The Neural Engine of the new M3 chips is also faster thanks to the new 3-nanometer transistors. It still has 16 cores, but compared to the M1 family it offers up to 60% faster performance for machine learning, artificial intelligence and everything else that a neural engine does. It was also pointed out that the media engine with hardware-accelerated processing of H.264, HEVC, ProRes and ProRes RAW is back on board. The AV1 codec (AOMedia Video 1, in use since 2018) is now also natively supported.

Technical data of the M3

  • Apple SoC with 25 billion transistors
  • CPU with 8 cores (4 performance and 4 efficiency cores)
  • GPU with up to 10 cores, dynamic caching, mesh shading and ray tracing
  • Up to 24GB of shared memory
  • Includes Neural Engine, Media Engine, Secure Enclave and more

Technical specifications of the M3 Pro

  • Apple SoC with 37 billion transistors
  • CPU with 12 cores (6 performance and 6 efficiency cores)
  • GPU with up to 18 cores, dynamic caching, mesh shading and ray tracing
  • Up to 36GB of shared memory
  • Includes Neural Engine, Media Engine, Secure Enclave and more

Technical data of the M3 Max

  • Apple SoC with 92 billion transistors
  • CPU with 16 cores (12 performance and 4 efficiency cores)
  • GPU with up to 40 cores, dynamic caching, mesh shading and ray tracing
  • Up to 128GB of shared memory
  • Includes Neural Engine, Media Engine, Secure Enclave and more

Introducing the new MacBook Pro with M3 chips

After the lab visit, we went to John Ternus, Senior Vice President of Hardware Engineering at Apple. This transferred from the new SoC models to the new laptops. The 13-inch model is no longer available, so the lineup now only consists of 14-inch and 16-inch devices. If you don't want a Pro or Max chip, you can buy the 14-inch MacBook Pro with M3 (without the name added). But no matter what chip, the new devices are intended to be a “monster upgrade” for anyone “who still uses an Intel-based MacBook Pro.”

After the introductory words from John Ternus, the details went to Kate Bergeron, Vice President of Hardware Engineering at Apple. She sometimes moved through different sets to show the different use cases of the new MacBook Pro - from music production and film editing to medical applications and gaming. She discussed MacBook Pros with M3, M3 Pro and M3 Max in quick succession. All three were presented with overlays of their use and repeated mention of the increase in performance compared to the M1 and M2 models. 

Among other things, it was pointed out that the MacBook Pro with M3 Pro supports image output on up to two high-resolution external displays. The MacBook Pro with M3 Max stated that it supports up to four high-resolution external monitors. In addition, the rendering of scenes in Cinema 4D on the 16-inch MacBook Pro with M3 Max is said to be up to 2,5 times faster than on the 16-inch MacBook Pro Max M1, and still twice faster than the M2 Max.

It was also pointed out again that up to 128 GB of RAM is supported. With Apple SoCs, this was possible for the first time in the Mac Studio with M1 Ultra. The new MacBook Pro should also have up to 22 hours of battery life. However, this will not be possible under maximum load with graphics-intensive apps and CPU-hungry processes. After highlighting the innovations, the previously known advantages of the Apple laptop were listed: 1080p FaceTime camera, six speakers, XDR Liquid Retina display, macOS Sonoma with gaming functions and so on.

Then it went back to John Ternus, who rounded off the MacBook presentation by introducing the respective starting prices. The 14-inch model starts at $1.599, and the 16-inch model starts at $2.499. The new laptops can be ordered now, and the models with M3 and M3 Pro will arrive at home and in stores next week. The M3 Max models will be available later in November, still in time for the Christmas shopping season. Oh yes, the new color is called “Space Black”.

The new iMac with 24-inch display and M3 chip

After the information about the prices and availability of the new MacBook Pros, we continued seamlessly with the new iMac. This retains the design, colors and 24-inch display size of the 2021 model. The biggest upgrade is that the M1 chip is used instead of the M3 chip. This should make the iMac up to two times faster. It was also touted for graphics-intensive applications and gaming. It was also pointed out once again that anyone switching from an Intel iMac will experience a huge jump in performance and new features.

Compared to the most popular 27-inch iMac models with Intel processors, the new iMac with M3 is said to be up to 2,5 times faster. However, exactly which Intel models are meant was not revealed. Compared to the most powerful 21,5-inch iMacs with an Intel chip, the new iMac with M3 is also said to be up to 4 times faster. The graphics display of the 4,5K Retina display was also highlighted again, which is said to be perfect for replacing both the 4K and 5K displays on iMacs with an Intel processor. And despite the many great benefits, it was presented, the new iMac still starts at just $1.299. It can be ordered now and purchased starting next week.

Apple October Keynote 2023: Shot on iPhone, Edited on Mac

After introducing the new Apple iMac with M3 chip, we went back to Tim Cook, who rounded off the entire event with a short summary. “There has never been a better time to experience the Mac,” he said. He also pointed out that Apple's new chips and computers are the best in the world. The proprietary approach with the collaboration of the hardware, software and chip teams was also positively highlighted. This year, Apple had once again presented innovations in technology that would define the view of computing in the coming years, it was also said. “Apple Vision Pro” wasn’t said, but it was meant.

If you stay tuned after Tim Cook has said goodbye, you will find a note in the video embedded below that the entire event was recorded on the iPhone and edited and edited on the Mac. All presentations, on-site recordings and even drone recordings were taken with the iPhone 15 Pro Max. Here, at the Mac event, Apple is once again discreetly advertising its currently most expensive iPhone, which was introduced last month. In addition to pointing out the iPhone compatibility of the new Mac models, this is another attempt to create a few purchasing incentives and boost the Christmas business.

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