The invitations are out. The website is up. The YouTube stream is prepped.
I’m Rene Ritchie. Thanks Curiosity Stream with Nebula for sponsoring, and yes. Finally. Finally — Hit me again! — Apple’s October M1X Mac Event is… a… GO! So hit that subscribe button so you don’t miss my reviews and… punch it Chewie!
The invitation to the October 18, 2021 event shows an Apple logo making the jump into warp space or hyperspace or whatever your fav sci-fi franchise calls it.
I’ll get to the meaning in a minute, but first...
Apple almost always holds events on Tuesdays, not Mondays. The only notable exception is WWDC keynotes, which are always on Mondays, before WWDC runs all week. But Google’s already announced their yearly Pixel event for the Tuesday, rather than stepping on it and splitting attention and coverage, Apple can get out ahead of it by a day, and bleed over into all that coverage. Making Monday an easy win.
Now, back to the invitations. While I usually avoid trying to read invitation tea leaves because Apple marketing never actually tells the graphic design department what’s happening at the event. They just hand them a spec for the visuals. But in this case, I think those tea leaves pretty much read themselves.
Especially when you consider the tagline for the event...
Something that might have been roped, constrained, held back by an old, hot, processor architecture, something that was blowing thermal envelopes but also failing to take advantage of post-big-core advances. A leash. A giant, honking, x86, Intel-inside leash.
A leash so bad even Intel’s latest ads are forced to admit the only differentiation they can currently offer are form-factor gimmicks from vendors… who could just as easily do the exact same thing, and better, with AMD these days… But I digress.
Just like they did with their ultra-low-power Macs back in November, Apple is going to be unleashing their ultra-high-power Pro Macs now. Switching them to custom silicon. Essentially taking them from normal space to hyperspace. From impulse… to warp.
From Intel… to M1… to M1X
Now, yes, because Apple includes an AR experience in the invites, you have the all the usual suspects hype… hyping… virtual and augmented reality — mixed reality, basically. Finally. In other words, the Apple TV-like VR headset or Apple Watch-like AR glasses. And… they’ll probably happen eventually, but like the last year or two, sometimes a cool invite demo is just a cool invite demo.
But unlike previous events, we didn’t get the wicked Apple Park flex from Apple’s senior Vice President of marketing, Greg Jozwiak. He went with the much more classic animation this year. But what a classic.
After last year’s November Apple event, October is a return to their more usual pattern. Now, Apple doesn’t always hold Mac events in October, but more often than not… Mac and iPad events, mostly. But the iPad already had its event back with the iPhone last month. So… the Mac.
And since we’ve already gotten those ultra-low-power M1 Macs — the MacBook Air, the entry-level MacBook Pro, and the entry-level Mac mini, well… that just leaves the real Pros. And the M1X
Where M1 had 4 high efficiency cores, 4 high performance cores, 7 or 8 graphics cores, and 16 neural engine cores, M1X is rumored to have just 2 high efficiency cores but a whopping 8 high performance cores, an even more whopping-er… 16 to 32 graphics cores, and maybe more neural engine cores as well.
Where M1 offered 8 to 16 GB of RAM and up to 2 TB of storage, M1X could offer 16 to 64 GB of RAM and up to 8 TB of storage. And just the idea of all the unified memory feeding all those graphics cores.
And possibly ProRes hardware accelerators, like the A15 offers for the iPhone Pro? That would basically turn M1X into a portable afterburner box. Comping through pro workloads like Jaws… like Jaws on Hulk serum.
Likewise, where M1 offered two thunderbolt controllers for 2 full-speed USB4 ports, M1X should offer enough for 3 full speed USB4 ports, HDMI, SDXC, and hopefully MagSafe pass-through for Ethernet on the power brick.
And we should see it in a new 14-inch MacBook Pro and 16-inch MacBook Pro, with miniLED displays like the new iPads Pro. Basically, MacBooks Pro XDR — extreme dynamic range. And I’ve got a whole entire preview ready for you on that, and I’ll link to it in the description below the like button.
Also, maybe a new, pro-level Mac mini, with pretty much the exact same specs. Of course, I’d also love a new 32-inch iMac and a matching, new 32-inch prosumer-level Cinema Display from Apple to go with it, but the iMac sounds more like a 2022 product and the display… just a dream at this point. But a nerd can always dream.
There are also rumors we might see AirPods 3 as well. Which… have honestly been rumored for every event since last year. They’re supposed to have a more AirPods Pro-like design, if not feature set. And we could well see them. But Apple hasn’t spent a second of event time on AirPods since the original pair was announced back in 2016, not the AirPods 2, not the AirPods Pro, not even the AirPods Max. So, what could be a big enough deal about the AirPods 3 that Apple would add them to the stream? Let me know what you think in the comments.