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Apple’s Mac lineup consists of MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac Pro, and Mac Mini. The Mac runs macOS for its operating system.

Mac lineup


The Mac is Apple’s lineup of computers, and it can be considered the company’s oldest product. The name “Mac” comes from the original Macintosh, which was introduced in 1984 and is also considered the first personal computer for the masses to have a graphical user interface. The first Macintosh hit the stores on January 24, 1984, costing $2,945.

Among all these years, Apple has introduced many different Mac models, ranging from desktops to laptops to professional tower machines. The current lineup consists of the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac mini, iMac, and Mac Pro. However, there have been other Mac models were discontinued, such as the eMac, MacBook, and iMac Pro.

The history of modern Macs began in 1998, a year after Steve Jobs returned to Apple. Apple had dozens of Macintosh computers at that time, but Steve decided to rethink the entire lineup. In 1998, Apple announced the iMac G3, which ditched the floppy disk and serial ports in favor of USB connectors.

Macintosh and iMac G3.

Unlike the Macintosh, the first iMac was considered a huge success — not only for its technology, but also for its unique design with colorful translucent plastic. Apple quickly expanded the Mac lineup with other models, which included the iBook and PowerBook (which became the MacBook and MacBook Pro) and the PowerMac, which is now the Mac Pro.


What makes a Mac the Mac is the macOS operating system, which has also had a long history since the introduction of the first Macintosh. Initially called Mac OS, the operating system was rebuilt when Steve Jobs returned to Apple.

The first version of Mac OS X was released on March 24, 2001 with a new interface that is still present in some ways in current versions of macOS. Apple’s desktop operating system comes with many free applications such as Pages, Keynote, Numbers, iMovie, and GarageBand.

With macOS, users also have access to deep integrations with other Apple devices. For instance, you can answer calls and send SMS from your iPhone using your Mac. Handoff lets you switch from one device to the other and pick up where you left off. Apple Watch users can unlock their computer without entering a password, and you can even copy and paste between devices.

macOS Sonoma

Apple’s desktop operating system is also integrated with services offered by the company, such as iCloud, Apple Music, and Apple TV+.

The current version of macOS is Sonoma (version 14), which features new slow-motion screen savers, widgets on desktop, camera effects on FaceTime and other apps, web apps, passkey sharing, improved PDF support, and Game Mode. The update also comes with a new API that lets developers easily port Windows games to macOS.

Architecture Transitions

The Mac has had three major architecture transitions in its history. Apple’s first computers ran on Motorola processors, but the company decided to migrate to the new PowerPC platform in 1994. While this brought benefits at the time, the PowerPC processors were not delivering what Apple expected.

It was in 2005 that Apple confirmed the transition from PowerPC to Intel. Intel processors had become faster and more efficient than PowerPC, which enabled the development of new Mac computers that were more powerful and also more compact. Developers have been given access to a Developer Transition Kit running Mac OS X Tiger with Intel Pentium 4 to update their apps before the transition begins.

Power PC, Mac OS X, and Intel processor.

Apple said that the transition would begin in June 2006 and be finished by the end of 2007. However, the transition to Intel was fully completed in August 2006 when the company replaced the PowerMac with the new Intel Mac Pro.

As the years went by, Apple once again felt the need to have more powerful and efficient processors for its computers. This time, the company was already working on its own chips for the iPhone and iPad. In June 2020, Apple confirmed that it was changing the architecture of the Mac, now from Intel to ARM chips, which are called Apple Silicon.

Apple offered a Mac mini DTK running on the same A12Z Bionic chip as the 2020 iPad Pro. This way developers could once again update their apps ahead of the transition. In addition to being more powerful and energy efficient, the ARM architecture of Apple Silicon chips has enabled Macs to run iOS apps for the first time.

Apple M1 chip | Mac

The first Apple Silicon Macs were released in November 2020 with the M1 chip. The company later introduced more powerful variants of the M1 chip, called M1 Pro, M1 Max, and M1 Ultra. Macs with Apple Silicon have become known for being more powerful while consuming much less power, which has resulted in MacBooks with extended battery life.

In June 2022, Apple introduced the M2 chip, which is around 20% faster than the M1 and also supports more RAM. M2 also has more powerful variants: M2 Pro, M2 Max, and M2 Ultra.

Apple unveiled the M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max chips in October 2023. The main highlight of this generation is the 3 nanometer technology, the same as the A17 Pro chip. The M3 family also features better GPUs with support for hardware-accelerated ray-tracing.

Current Mac lineup

Apple currently sells a variety of Mac computers, which includes MacBooks, Mac mini, iMac, and Mac Pro. While some of the Macs have already been updated with an Apple Silicon chip, others remain with Intel processors.

MacBook Air

The MacBook Air is Apple’s most affordable laptop and it has become popular for its light, compact design. The 2022 version is powered by the M2 chip and is offered with 8GB, 16GB, or 24GB of RAM. Plus, it has a new, edge-to edge 13.6-inch Retina display.

The laptop features Touch ID and has two Thunderbolt 3 compatible USB-C ports, a MagSafe connector for charging, and a headphone jack. Prices start at $1099 in the US. It’s offered in silver, space gray, starlight, and midnight.

M2 MacBook Air.

A year later, Apple introduced the first 15-inch MacBook Air. It has essentially the same hardware as the smaller version with a similar design, but with a larger display. Prices start at $1299 in the US.Apple is still selling the M1 MacBook Air for prices starting at $999.

MacBook Pro

The 2023 MacBook Pro is available in multiple versions, and customers can choose between 14-inch and 16-inch screen sizes. For the first time, Apple has introduced a less expensive version of the 14-inch MacBook Pro with the base M3 chip. This version has the same design and display as the high-end versions, except that it only has two USB-C ports instead of three.

M3 MacBook Pro

The most expensive versions of the MacBook Pro are equipped with the more powerful M3 Pro and M3 Max chips. The laptop can be configured with up to 128GB of RAM and 8TB SSD. These versions also come in a new Space Black color.

Unlike the MacBook Air, the MacBook Pro comes with an HDMI port and an SD card reader. It also features MagSafe and Touch ID on the keyboard. Apple no longer sells MacBooks with the Touch Bar. Prices start at $1,599 in the US.

Mac mini

Mac mini is the cheapest Mac currently available since it’s basically a desktop without a built-in display or other peripherals. The base model with the M2 chip features one Ethernet port, two USB-C/Thunderbolt 4 ports, HDMI 2.0, two USB-A ports, and a headphone jack.

Apple sells a more powerful version of the Mac mini with the M2 Pro chip, which also comes with four USB-C ports instead of two. Mac mini can be configured with up to 32GB of RAM and up to 8TB of storage. Customers can also opt for a 10 Gigabit Ethernet port. The Apple Silicon Mac mini is only available in silver, while the now discontinued Intel model was available in space gray.

Apple Silicon Mac mini.

Prices for the Mac mini start at $599 in the US. Again, it’s worth noting that it doesn’t come with a keyboard or mouse in the box – you need to buy them separately or use your current ones.

Mac Studio

Mac Studio represents a new category between Mac mini and Mac Pro. It features a design based on the Mac mini, but with a taller body to support the more powerful hardware and also a better cooling system.

The new Mac Studio is targeted at professional users who work with demanding tasks such as video editing, 3D rendering, and machine learning. 

Embraced by creative pros everywhere, Mac Studio now delivers next-generation power in the form of the lightning-fast M2 Max and the boundary-breaking M2 Ultra. It packs outrageous performance and extensive connectivity in an unbelievably compact form, putting everything you need within easy reach and transforming any space into a studio.

By default, Mac Studio already comes with the M2 Max chip, 32GB of RAM, and 512GB SSD storage. A more expensive option lets users customize Mac Studio with M2 Ultra. While M2 Max has a 12-core CPU and a 30-core GPU, M2 Ultra doubles all of those specs. The new chip has a 24-core CPU and a 60-core GPU.

Mac Studio can also be configured with up to 192GB of RAM and 8TB of SSD storage. The machine offers up to six Thunderbolt ports, 10 Gigabit Ethernet, headphone jack, two USB-A ports, and one HDMI port.

Mac Studio

Apple has been rumored to be working on new versions of this machine with the M3 Max and M3 Ultra chips. However, these versions may not be ready until 2025. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman said in November last year that the M3 Ultra chip “hasn’t yet gone into broad testing” inside Apple.

In the US, prices for the Mac Studio with M2 Max chip start at $1999. The M2 Ultra chip version starts at $3999. Just like the Mac mini, Mac Studio doesn’t come with a keyboard and mouse in the box. You can find accessories for your Mac Studio here.


iMac is Apple’s most popular desktop computer with an all-in-one construction. It features a 4.5K display in its 24-inch version and a 5K display in the 27-inch version. At the same time, Apple still sells an entry-level iMac with a regular 1080p display.

The 24-inch iMac is the first to feature the M1 chip, the same as in the Mac mini, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro. This allowed Apple to introduce a completely redesigned model with a slimmer design, which is also offered in seven new colors. Customers can customize the new 24-inch iMac with up to 16GB of RAM and 2TB of storage.

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The company ships the 24-inch iMac with Magic Mouse and Magic Keyboard, plus a Lightning cable for recharging accessories. Prices in the US start at $1299. Apple has discontinued its old 21.5-inch iMac and the 27-inch iMac 5K.

Mac Pro

Mac Pro is a computer built for professional users who depend on extremely powerful hardware. Available in tower and rack versions, it has a completely modular design. That means users can replace RAM, SSD, GPU, and other internal components.

By default, it features four USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports, two USB-A ports, and two 10Gb Ethernet ports. However, the ports can be expanded using the PCI Express slots. Apple also ships the computer with a Magic Mouse and Magic Keyboard, but it does not come with an external monitor included.

All models feature Intel Xeon W processors, which are the most powerful processors offered by Intel. Consumers can configure Mac Pro with up to 28-core processor, 1.5TB RAM, and 8TB of SSD storage. In addition to supporting multiple dedicated GPUs, Apple also offers the Afterburner card — which accelerates the decoding of ProRes videos.

The company recently updated the Mac Pro with new graphics card modules, which include Radeon Pro W6800X and Radeon Pro W6900X.

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Mac Pro prices start at $5999 in the US.

Rumors about upcoming Macs

Top stories about the Mac

Unpatchable security flaw in Apple Silicon Macs breaks encryption

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University researchers have found an unpatchable security flaw in Apple Silicon Macs, which would allow an attacker to break encryption and get access to cryptographic keys.

The flaw is present in M1, M2, and M3 chips, and because the failing is part of the architecture of the chips, there’s no way for Apple to fix it in current devices …

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3D-printed Macintosh Plus | CAD model and finished item

3D printed Macintosh Plus created with ‘Steve Jobs-like attention to detail’

A guy who describes himself as a huge Apple enthusiast and a “designer and tinkerer” has created a painstakingly accurate 3D printed Macintosh Plus.

In what has been described as “Steve Jobs-like attention to detail,” it even boots from (and ejects) a floppy disk, and the monitor remains switched off until the Mac emulator is running and displaying the smiling Mac icon …

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Best Thunderbolt monitors for Mac and what sets them apart from USB-C displays [March]

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In 2024, there are more Thunderbolt monitors than ever. While Apple currently offers two options, its displays at $1,600-$5,000+ won’t be the right fit for everyone. Luckily, there are more affordable, solid choices from LG, BenQ, and Samsung. Below, we’ll cover the best Thunderbolt monitors for Mac as well as what you get with a Thunderbolt monitor vs a USB-C monitor.

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Apple patent may (slightly) hint at touchscreen iMac similar to Microsoft Surface Studio

Touchscreen iMac hint along the lines of Microsoft Surface Studio (shown)

Although Apple has long rejected the concept of a touchscreen iMac or MacBook, and for good reason, there was one product which made us wonder whether there might be a role for such a device: the Microsoft Surface Studio (above).

Take away the Microsoft logo and Windows UI, and you could easily imagine it was designed by Apple. It’s today being suggested that a new patent application might hint at the possibility of making a Mac version …

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Best USB-C and Thunderbolt displays for Mac [March]

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USB-C/Thunderbolt display options have really expanded over the last couple of years. While Apple’s Pro Display XDR isn’t the best fit for most Mac users at $5,000+, it also offers the more affordable Studio Display. But there are also lots of solid choices from LG, Samsung, BenQ, and more. Let’s look at the best USB-C/Thunderbolt displays with many available in the $400-$1,600 range.

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This ‘hybrid Mac-iPad’ laptop and tablet will blow your mind

Federico Viticci at MacStories has done something that’s truly incredible, even by his standards. In his search for the perfect keyboard and trackpad combination for Apple Vision Pro, Federico came up with something even better: “MacPad.”

Using a combination of macOS, iPadOS, and visionOS, the outcome here is absurd – in a good way. Federico describes it as the “hybrid Mac-iPad laptop and tablet that Apple won’t make.”

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Security Bite: Self-destructing macOS malware strain disguised as legitimate Mac app

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Security researchers at Moonlock, the relatively new cybersecurity wing of MacPaw, have detected a new strain of macOS malware disguised as a legitimate Mac app that can destroy itself in certain conditions. At its worst, it can unknowingly extract cookies from Safari and Chrome, contacts from Address Book, and passwords from installed password managers. Meet Empire Transfer…

9to5Mac Security Bite is exclusively brought to you by Mosyle, the only Apple Unified Platform. Making Apple devices work-ready and enterprise-safe is all we do. Our unique integrated approach to management and security combines state-of-the-art Apple-specific security solutions for fully automated Hardening & Compliance, Next Generation EDR, AI-powered Zero Trust, and exclusive Privilege Management with the most powerful and modern Apple MDM on the market. The result is a totally automated Apple Unified Platform currently trusted by over 45,000 organizations to make millions of Apple devices work-ready with no effort and at an affordable cost. Request your EXTENDED TRIAL today and understand why Mosyle is everything you need to work with Apple.

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Apple’s self service repair program now includes M3 MacBook Pro and iMac

Apple today expanded its Self Service Repair Program to include the latest Mac models, the M3 MacBook Pro and M3 iMac introduced in October 2023. This allows customers to order Apple-certified parts and conduct repairs on these machines themselves, without needing to go to an Apple Store or another repair shop.

Next month, Apple will also roll out Apple Diagnostics app support so users can assess performance of their machines, and an update to System Configuration will mean users can perform Mac repairs fully independently, without needing to contact the Self Service Repair support team to run the final steps.

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Astropad Slate transforms your iPad into a no-screen tablet and trackpad for Mac

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Astropad has been making impressive software and hardware like Studio and Luna Display for years and now the company has launched its latest innovation that turns your iPad into a versatile pen-tablet and trackpad for Mac. Astropad Slate delivers drawing and handwriting input, mouse and trackpad functionality, gesture support, and more.

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Security Bite: Ransomware payments hit record $1.1 billion in 2023 despite previous year’s decline

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It was a landmark year for ransomware in 2023 and a well-publicized one following the MOVEit and MGM Resorts beaches that shook the security industry. Not only did threat actors collectively pocket a record-breaking $1.1 billion from victims, but a new report highlights how the scope and complexity of these attacks are becoming increasingly concerning.

9to5Mac Security Bite is exclusively brought to you by Mosyle, the only Apple Unified Platform. Making Apple devices work-ready and enterprise-safe is all we do. Our unique integrated approach to management and security combines state-of-the-art Apple-specific security solutions for fully automated Hardening & Compliance, Next Generation EDR, AI-powered Zero Trust, and exclusive Privilege Management with the most powerful and modern Apple MDM on the market. The result is a totally automated Apple Unified Platform currently trusted by over 45,000 organizations to make millions of Apple devices work-ready with no effort and at an affordable cost. Request your EXTENDED TRIAL today and understand why Mosyle is everything you need to work with Apple.

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