Apple could already be working on M3 MacBook Air models – but is it too soon?

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Jun 12, 2023

WWDC 2023 was full of significant updates, exciting reveals (not to mention the bizarre Vision Pro headset), and the 15-inch M2 MacBook Air. The model was announced during the event to mostly positive reception and will likely sell well once it hits stores. Despite this, it seems that Apple is already developing 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Airs fitted with its upcoming M3 chip.

According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman in his Power On newsletter, the updated MacBook Air models should be expected in the summer of 2024 and will provide significant performance and power-efficiency improvements.

The M3 chip series will take the baton from the M2 chips in these new laptops, and we should hear more about Apple’s next-gen processors as the year progresses. Gurman previously suggested that the M2 was just a “stopgap” and that the M3 chips will be “better performing” upgrades in comparison.

It’s amusing to sit and wonder what an M3-powered MacBook Air could do, considering the M2 chips are already incredibly fast. The chips offer incredible specs like 100GB/S of memory bandwidth and 24GB RAM.  And this is just the standard model, we’re not even diving into the M2 Pro and M2 Max territory.

The base model for the new 15-inch M2 MacBook Air currently sits at $1,299 / £1,399 / AU$2,199 for the base model, and we expect the M3-powered MacBook Air laptops to go up from there. We might see Apple knock down $100 from the 15-inch MacBook Air next summer, as they did recently for the 13-inch MacBook Air at WWDC 2023.

Analysis: Why so soon?

Seeing how quickly the company is spitting out these models, you might want to clutch your older MacBook just a little bit tighter. In June 2020, Apple made clear that the transition to Apple silicon would take around two years, and we’ve since crossed that threshold across its product lineup.  

Apple literally just launched the 15-inch M2 MacBook Air (and the 13-inch model isn’t exactly ancient), so the prospect of an upgraded model as early as next year is somewhat baffling. In fact, it makes me wonder why anyone would buy an M2 model right now, since the M3 will supposedly be so much better.

That being said, the M2 chips do already possess blazing speeds and can operate beyond what most people realistically require from an everyday laptop,  so there’s no pit of absolute need Apple is filling with M3 MacBooks.

Apple’s rush to release new chips could also spell trouble for those still using Intel-powered MacBooks from before the arrival of the 2020 M1 MacBook Air. We know that macOS Sonoma won’t be supported on some older Intel Mac products, and Apple pushing ahead with M3 devices in 2024 could be emblematic of a desire to ditch support for its older Intel hardware entirely.

In any case, I’ll still be excited to see an M3 MacBook Air regardless of when it actually arrives. Apple has proven that its M-series silicon is a force to be reckoned with, and I can’t wait to see what its next generation of chips is capable of.