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(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

With a new Apple event fast upon us, there’s been a lot of speculation around whether we’ll see the debut of a new Apple M4 chip, and if so, what devices will it come in at launch.

Considering that the Apple event on May 7, 2024, is highly anticipated to be an iPad-focused affair, it might be strange for a new Apple M4 SoC to debut in a tablet, rather than a more prestige product like a MacBook Pro or MacBook Air, as M-series chips have done in the past.

But things have been slightly complicated by the explosion of generative AI, an area where Apple has been considerably behind its rivals in both mobile and PC markets. If Apple wants to stake a claim to some part of the AI market, it likely can’t afford to wait it out until it launches new MacBooks in several months or even a year’s time, so it’s not so wild to think that Apple might run a different play and get the AI-capable M4 chip to market in the first device that could use it, namely its new iPads.

Of course, this all remains to be seen, but we’re rounding up everything we’ve heard in recent months about the Apple M4 in one place to keep you up to date on all the latest developments.

Apple M4: Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Apple’s next generation of in-house silicon
  • How much does it cost? It won’t sell on its own, but will instead be installed in various Apple devices
  • When can I get it? Possibly as early as May 2024

Apple M4: Latest news

Apple M4: Release date

An Apple MacBook Pro 14-inch on a desk

(Image credit: Future)

We don’t have any official word on when the Apple M4 will launch, so everything about its release date is strictly rumor and speculation at this point.

That said, the market forces being what they are around the booming AI sector, Apple can’t afford to dawdle when it comes to releasing its own AI-capable products. And with its iPad-heavy event on May 7, 2024, being the first opportunity to debut a potentially M4-powered device with an iPad Pro or even a regular iPad, we could see the Apple M4 debut this week.

If not on May 7, 2024, the next possible opportunity might be at WWDC 2024 in June, where the Apple M2 chip was unveiled. If not those two events, it’s anyone’s guess, but Apple can’t afford to wait too much longer before announcing something, so we expect that it will be sooner rather than later.

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However, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, who has his finger on the pulse of all things Apple, argued last month that we won’t see the Apple M4 until the end of the year, when it will debut in a 14-inch MacBook Pro and a 24-inch iMac, with Apple M4 Pro and M4 Max chips debuting around the same time or later in early 2025.

One thing that absolutely points to a release later in 2024 is that we still haven’t seen the Apple M3 Ultra yet, and it would make sense for Apple to fill out its current generation of SoCs before introducing a new one, which would take a lot of the wind out of the M3 Ultra’s sails.

Apple M4: Specs & performance

We don’t know anything yet about the specs of the Apple M4, though it would make sense that it would be produced on TSMC’s 2nm process node, considering that the M3 series is a 3nm chip. This would give it some considerable performance benefits over the current-gen M3s, but how much remains to be seen.

Apple M4: What to expect

Considering we haven’t seen an Apple M3 Ultra yet, we are more skeptical than many that an Apple M4 chip will debut at Apple’s May iPad event, and many on the TechRadar team would even argue that June 2024 is too soon, considering we just got the Apple M3 series chips back in October 2023. 

Still, Apple can’t just sit idly by while Google, Microsoft, Intel, AMD, and Qualcomm all make major AI moves in 2024, so there’s no doubt that Apple will have to speed up its timeline for an Apple M4 launch in order to stay relevant in the market.

John (He/Him) is the Components Editor here at TechRadar and he is also a programmer, gamer, activist, and Brooklyn College alum currently living in Brooklyn, NY. 

Named by the CTA as a CES 2020 Media Trailblazer for his science and technology reporting, John specializes in all areas of computer science, including industry news, hardware reviews, PC gaming, as well as general science writing and the social impact of the tech industry.

You can find him online on Threads @johnloeffler.

Currently playing: Baldur’s Gate 3 (just like everyone else).

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