M3 MacBook Air tipped for March release but you'll have to wait for the M3 Studio and Pro

Apple's most popular laptop will get an even more powerful processor in 2024, and we can expect to say goodbye to the current M1

The MacBook Air M2 in blue being carried while closed
(Image credit: Apple)

The big Apple news for early 2024 is the simplification of the iPad line-up, with a new, large M2 iPad Air, the end of the 9th generation iPad and most likely a streamlining of the Apple Pencil range too. But more Macs are coming, and this time around they’re going to have M3 power. However, they're not all going to be released at once.

According to the well connected Mark Gurman of Bloomberg, the next tranche of Macs will be fresh MacBook Airs, currently codenamed J613 and J615 for the 13-inch and 15-inch model respectively. Don't expect Apple to completely reimagine its slimmest laptop: both Airs are expected to get M3 processors inside but remain largely unchanged outside. As Gurman says, that's no bad thing: it means a cutting edge processor in Apple's best-selling laptop.

If you've already got an M2 you don't need to upgrade and probably shouldn’t; the new M3s will be marketed mainly towards people with M1 or Intel Macs, for whom they represent a significant upgrade.

M3 Mac Studio and Mac Pro are coming... eventually

When the new MacBook Airs ship that means there will only be three Macs that aren't running variations of the M3 processor: the Mac mini, the Mac Pro and the Pro's newer, comparatively more affordable sibling the Mac Studio. According to Gurman, neither the Pro nor the Studio are scheduled for M3 power until at least the end of 2024, possibly even 2025. It's unclear when the M3 Mac mini will arrive.

Bear in mind that the Studio and Pro Macs don't use the standard M processors but the highest spec variations: they're currently running the M2 Max and M2 Ultra, which are already astonishingly powerful processors. For example, the Ultra in the Mac Pro has 24 CPU cores, 76 GPU cores and a 32-core Neutral Engine. At the moment there's no M3 Ultra, although that's surely in development.

The other change we're likely to see next year is the end of the three year old M1 MacBook Air, which is currently Apple's entry-level laptop. Expect the M2 to take its place as the most affordable Mac laptop in 2024.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com).