M3 MacBook Air Launching Next Year: What to Expect
Apple sells three versions of MacBook Air: A cheaper previous-generation 13-inch model with M1 chip, and 13-inch and 15-inch models equipped with the newer M2 chip. The question is, when will Apple discontinue the M1 MacBook Air and replace its top-of-the-line 13-inch and 15-inch machines with M3 equivalents?
The existing 15-inch MacBook Air arrived earlier this year in June, which is not that long ago in terms of Mac update cycles. However, Apple released the M2 13-inch MacBook Air back in June 2022. It is now the oldest Mac in Apple's current crop, having not been updated in over 480 days.
According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, Apple has 13-inch and 15-inch M3 MacBook Air models in development, and both are said to be scheduled for release sometime in the first half of 2024. Both models are said to have reached engineering verification testing (EVT), an early production testing phase on prototype devices. The M3 chip used in the Airs is expected to have similar CPU and GPU core counts as the M2 chip in the current models.
Given so much time has elapsed since the current 13-inch MacBook Air was launched, it might seem safe to assume this model will be the next beneficiary in line for Apple's M3 chip. However, Apple's roadmap for Apple silicon appears to be partly dictated by supplier production capacity, so we could see either one model launched first or both 13-inch and 15-inch models launched in tandem.
Gurman says the next-generation MacBook Airs are on schedule for launch between the spring and summer of next year at the earliest, which could also mirror the time frame of the current models' launches that took place at WWDC in June 2022 and 2023.
What to Expect From the M3 Chip
Apple's base M3 chip will likely feature in future MacBook Air models. At least in the MacBook Airs, the M3 chip is expected to have similar CPU and GPU core counts as the M2 chip in the current models, but Apple could always surprise us.
Based on early benchmarks taken from the 14-inch M3 MacBook Pro, the M3 chip has single-core and multi-core scores of around 3,000 and 11,700, respectively. The standard M2 chip has single-core and multi-core scores of around 2,600 and 9,700, respectively, so the M3 chip is up to 20% faster than the M2 chip found in the current MacBook Air, which is exactly what Apple claimed during its "Scary Fast" event in October 2023.