MacBook Air 2023 could be faster and sleeker with new M3 chip


Sangram Rana

If a new rumour is to be believed, Apple will release a MacBook Air with an M3 chip in the second half of 2023.

DigiTimes (opens in new tab), which isn’t our favourite reliable source, says that the MacBook Air coming out later this year will use a 3nm chip, which means it’ll be an M3 and drop from the 5nm process used with the M2 SoC. MacRumors pointed this out (opens in new tab), and we’ll talk more about DigiTimes later.

DigiTimes says, “The supply chain is more focused on the cheaper MacBook Air, which is expected to be updated in the second half of 2023 and may have a 3nm processor.”

The claim is that the portable could have a 3nm (M3) chip, but this is not entirely clear. Last year, we heard similar rumours that the M2 Pro and Max could be built on 3nm, but they turned out to be false because Apple saved the drop-in process for the M3 (which will doubtless go this route).

MacRumors also points out that earlier this week, a more reliable Apple leaker, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, said that the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros will be updated with 3nm M3 Pro and M3 Max chips in 2024, but Kuo didn’t say anything about the M3 coming to the MacBook Air.

The MacBook Air 15-inch with M3 might make some people wish they hadn’t bought it.

There are a few things that don’t make sense about this rumour. First of all, nothing is said about the specs of the MacBook Air or whether or not there will be a new 15-inch MacBook Air alongside a 13-inch model when they come out in the second half of 2023. We don’t know, but the rumour mill has said in the past that a 15-inch version of the Air might come out sooner (namely the first half of this year, so perhaps at WWDC).

Second, we need to be very careful and sceptical here because DigiTimes has been known to be, let’s say, less than accurate, especially when it comes to Apple rumours. In fact, the publication said that the new MacBook Pros wouldn’t come out until early 2023, just a few days before these models were actually released. This is a pretty big mistake in recent history.

If a 15-inch MacBook Air does come out later this year, it could make people who just bought a new MacBook Pro regret it. There are a lot of people who want a MacBook Air with a bigger screen so they can get more screen space in an Apple laptop that will be much cheaper than a MacBook Pro but should still be very powerful thanks to the new M3 silicon inside.

In fact, the move to 3nm should bring about some pretty impressive performance and efficiency improvements. This could mean a much longer battery life or a slimmer battery inside, which would make the Air smaller and easier to carry (offsetting, perhaps, at least some of the weight gain from making the Air larger with a 15-inch spin). Then, the 13-inch version could be very “airy.”

Still, we’re not sure about this one because an M3 release later this year would be a pretty quick turnaround for Apple (what with the more powerful M2 flavours only just having turned up). Also, other rumours haven’t pointed to a MacBook Air with M3, and as was already said, Kuo is only talking about the next Pro refreshes when it comes to the M3 SoC. (to happen next year).

Still, that doesn’t mean DigiTimes can’t be right on this one. For now, we’ll wait to make a decision until we hear more from other sources if this is really how things will turn out.

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