Apple’s ‘Frighteningly Fast’ event: What to expect

You don’t have to wait until Halloween to get gifts from Apple. The company is hosting an online product launch event on Monday, Oct. 30 at 5 p.m. PT (8 p.m. ET). If you look at Apple’s Events page, you’ll see the Apple logo transformed into a Finder icon that vaguely resembles a jack-o-lantern. Not only does this fit in with the Halloween theme for this time of year, but it also hints that there will be a Mac-related announcement.

And that makes sense, since Apple released its new iPhones in September and then followed it up with a new Apple Pencil (but no new iPad) last week. It’s too early for another iPhone, and if Apple had new iPads to launch, we’d have seen them last week. This makes Macs the prime suspect for Monday’s event.

M3 iMac coming?

In accordance with Bloomberg’s Mark GormanApple is preparing a new 24-inch iMac based on the new M3 processor. The current iMac is almost two and a half years old, so it’s well overdue for an upgrade. Apple released the M1 iMac in May 2021 and has yet to update it with the M2 chip found in the company’s MacBook, Mac Mini, Mac Studio, and Mac Pro lines.

Rumors point to a specification update and not a major design change, except for different color options. The current iMac is currently available in a rainbow of blue, green, pink, silver, yellow, orange, and purple colors.

Apple iMac with M1 chip

The M1 iMac is available in a rainbow of colors.

Apple/Screenshot by CNET

M3 MacBooks too?

Gorman also notes that MacBook Pro inventory is low, which could be a sign that new models are coming soon. The 13-inch MacBook Pro is the oldest MacBook in Apple’s lineup. Launched in June 2022 with Apple’s M2 chip. It could get the M3 treatment alongside the iMac on Monday. If the 13-inch MacBook Pro gets an update, it could mean the end of the very ridiculous Touch Bar, which isn’t nearly as useful as having a row of physical function keys above the keyboard. The 13-inch Pro is the latest MacBook equipped with a Touch Bar.

Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch Touch Bar

Could the touch bar be gone on Monday?

Sarah Tew/CNET

Apple is very tight-lipped before announcing its products, so we won’t know what it has in store until Monday. My best guess? We see the new M3 iMac. And if Apple puts the M3 chip on the 13-inch MacBook Pro, we’ll get a 13-inch M3 MacBook Air update as well. The least attractive MacBook Pro is the 13-inch model, and I don’t see it headlining Apple’s MacBook M3 launch. The 13-inch MacBook Air is much more popular and is also ready for an update. It was last updated at WWDC in June 2022 with the M2 chip alongside the 13-inch Pro.

The 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros may be out of stock, but they’re newer than their smaller 13-inch siblings. These models were launched in January 2023 with Apple’s M2 Pro and M2 Max chips. I bet we won’t see them updated with M3 Pro and Max chips until 2024.

What about the 15-inch MacBook Air, you ask? Not even six months old, the M3 is too new to receive an update. If the 13-inch model stays with the M3 and the 15-inch Air with the M2, perhaps Apple will close or completely eliminate the $200 price gap between itself and the 13-inch model. Hopefully, this means the 15-inch Air will be getting a price cut, and not the other way around, with the 13-inch Air going up in price. Rounding out the MacBook Air could be the M2 Air, replacing the M1 Air as the $999 base model of the MacBook Air.

Again, Apple’s “Scary Fast” event starts at 5pm PT (8pm ET, 1am ET, 11am AEDT) on Monday and can be streamed live on Apple’s website and Apple TV broadcast.

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