Apple’s AI-focused M4 processors allegedly nearing production

AI is the answer.

Mac Studio by Peng Original via Unsplash.
Image by Peng Original via Unsplash.

It’s only been a few months since the Apple M3 lineup hit store shelves but next-gen M4 silicon is already nearing production. There’s a total of three distinct Apple M4 processors in the works, and they’re codenamed Donan, Brava, and Hidra. All of them will have a primary focus on, you guessed it, AI.

According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, Apple hasn’t enjoyed the best sales in recent months, highlighting a 27% drop within the last fiscal year. The M3 family received a lukewarm response, with many agreeing that the technological jump from M2 to M3 was not worth the price tag. This may be one of the main reasons Apple plans to overhaul the Mac line with AI-focussed silicon.

The M4 lineup

Gurman’s inside sources claim Apple plans on a staggered release for upcoming M4 products. The launch may commence by the end of the year and extend to early 2025. The initial wave will encompass new iMacs and an entry-level 14in MacBook Pro, followed up by two top-of-the-line 14in and 16in MacBook Pros plus a Mac mini. From 2025, additional models, including the 13in and 14in MacBook Air, should launch in spring. Finally, the Mac Studio and Mac Pro will be scheduled for the second half of the year.

There’s little in the way of specs, but from what we’ve gathered, there will be three versions of M4. Presumably, these three products look to fill the roles of the M4, M4 Pro, and M4 Max. Donan is expected to be the entry-level chip available in the low-end MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and the Mac Mini. Meanwhile, Brava chips will run high-end MacBook Pros and Mac Studio. Last but not least, Hidra will be Apple’s most powerful M4 chip, reserved for highest-end Mac Studio and Mac Pro.

Perhaps, Apple seeks to reinvigorate interest by releasing something more exciting, with AI being the answer. Admittedly, the company is trailing behind competitors in the generative AI space. Nvidia, AMD, Intel and Qualcomm have long since shifted their focus on AI, with exciting new products in the pipeline. However, since Apple has already introduced a ‘powerful’ 16-core Neural Engine offering 18 TOPS with the M3 range, it may not be too far behind. Time will tell.