Apple unveiled the M2 15-inch MacBook Air at WWDC 2023, a larger variant of the M2 13-inch MacBook Air redesign introduced about a year earlier. The 15-inch version starts at $1,299, which makes it a tremendous deal. The base version of the larger Air might be the best laptop for many people looking for new hardware this year. But, with rumors of the M3 13-inch MacBook Air coming this fall, I wouldn’t expect a processor refresh for the 15-inch model anytime soon.
The M3 chip would be an amazing upgrade for the 15-inch Air model, just as it should be a great upgrade for the smaller variant.
It’s not the speed bump that I’d be most excited about, but the power efficiency of the M3 generation, which will be built on TSMC’s 3nm process. This should give the MacBook Air even better battery life than Apple’s M2 System-on-Chip (SoC). I’m just speculating, as we don’t have actual battery life quotes leaks for the upcoming Air.
Still, if you want a 15-inch version, you wouldn’t be wrong to get the M2 right now. I told you before WWDC that the 15-inch MacBook Air doesn’t need the M3 chip to be a great laptop, and I stand by it. If you feel like you need more power than the M2, there’s always the 14-inch MacBook Pro to consider, a laptop that comes in M2 Pro and M2 Max chip varieties.
The M3 chip just wasn’t ready for the first-gen 15-inch MacBook Air in time. Apple wanted to have the laptop out in stores this summer, while the first M3 Macs will drop in October at the earliest.
That’s according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, who detailed Apple’s purported plans in his Power On newsletter.
Gurman learned that Apple would unveil the first M3 Macs this fall. We’re looking at the next-gen iMac, 13-inch MacBook Air, and 13-inch MacBook Pro. The more powerful M3 Pro, M3 Max, and M3 Ultra chips should follow next year, considering Apple’s playbook for its SoCs. I’d also expect Apple to unveil the M3 15-inch MacBook Air only next year.
There’s no reason for Apple to upgrade the 15-inch MacBook Air less than six months after its launch. Apple usually refreshes its MacBook Air and Pro models once per year. But since the 15-inch Air model just arrived, it’s too early to align the 13-inch and 15-inch versions to the same schedule. Maybe that will change down the road.
As always with Apple rumors, there’s no guarantee that Apple will stick to the schedule Gurman detail. But Apple will have to bring to market the M3 SoC sooner than later.
The report also mentioned another potential beneficiary of the next-gen SoC, the M3 iPad Pros. But the tablets should launch only next year. Apple is also reportedly working on an iPad Air with improved specs. But there’s no telling when the high-end tablet will launch. Also, the iPad Air could get the M2 chip rather than the next-gen SoC.