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Apple M4 chips could debut early next year – if these professional predictors are correct

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Earlier this month, we saw claims from regular Apple leaker Mark Gurman that an M4-powered MacBook Pro was already in ‘formal development’ – and now we might have an approximate timeline of when we can expect to see the SoC debut. 

A new ‘estimated roadmap’ produced by market analytics firm Canalys indicates the new Apple Silicon could launch in the first quarter of 2025. The roadmap is intended to act as a rough framework for businesses to project their competitors’ key actions over the coming years and predicts when we can expect Apple’s M4 chip – as well as future Intel, AMD, and Qualcomm processors. 

Graphic

(Image credit: Canalys)

Canalys believes that this new M4 systems-on-a-chip (SoCs) will also come packed with new AI-powered features, and if (a big if, as we have to take these speculations with a pinch of salt) the timeline is true, all four big chip manufacturers will be releasing their chips around the same time – so get ready for a processor battle royale.

Great – but don’t you think you’re moving a little fast? 

The news of an M4 MacBook Pro being in the works had already excited me, and now that a potential timeline has been released that adds a release window to the existing rumors, it’s hard not to get my hopes up. 

The M1, M2, and M3 SoCs each had around a year and a half between releases, and we’re likely to see Apple repeat the same gap when it comes to the M4. So, even without this projected roadmap, it would still be sensible to expect the new chips early next year.  

While the idea of new Apple silicon supercharged with AI capabilities is pretty exciting, a year and a half isn’t a lot of time between launches. If I’ve just bought the M3 MacBook Pro for example, after searching for the most powerful laptop for my specific needs, I’d be pretty mad if a whole new chip architecture came out just a year later. Apple even has precedent for this sort of tomfoolery, too – releasing the M2 MacBook Air 15-inch mere months before revealing the M3 chip.

Overproduction of technology and the wasteful nature that we consume products creates a lot of e-waste that in turn leads to a lot of environmental issues in the long term. Pumping out new high-end chips to be slotted into multiple product lines every year and a half feels unnecessary.

To anyone saying Apple needs to hurry with M4 because other competitors already have AI processors on the market (chiefly Intel with its new Core Ultra ‘AI laptops’), let’s be honest: Apple was always going to be late to that particular party. It’s the Cupertino-based firm’s M.O. – sit and let the other companies fight it out with emergent tech before sliding in with a more refined offering. So I say take your time, Apple. I’m sure M4 will be worth it when it gets here; I’d like to see an M3 Mac mini first, please!

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