For a few years now, all of the best MacBooks on the market have been packed with in-house designed Apple Silicon chips. First came the M1, with all of its more powerful variants. Currently, we have the M2 range, seen in devices like the M2 MacBook Air.
Next in the range is – yep, you guessed it – the M3. This one stands to have a more significant impact, though. It's reportedly going to be among the first 3nm Apple chips, along with the A17 Bionic which we expect to see in some of the iPhone 15 models.
Why does that matter? Well, quite aside from potentially being the first commercially available chips with a 3nm architecture, they should offer enhanced performance and efficiency. In essence, using a smaller transistor – that's what the 3nm measurement refers to – allows you to pack more of them on a chip, and/or put more space between them, to improve thermals. Pretty neat, huh?
Earlier this week, popular industry insider, Ming-Chi Kuo, announced that the M3 chip was set to enter production in the second half of 2023. Kuo has a pretty stellar record for leaks of this kind, pulling on connections in Asian manufacturing hubs to provide information.
That start date all but confirms recent rumours that the new 15-inch MacBook Air won't be the first to pack the M3 chip, as had been previously suggested. The device, which is rumoured to launch at WWDC 2023, will instead likely run on the current M2 series.
That's a shame. The 15-inch MacBook Air isn't a massive deal in itself. Sure, users looking to bag some extra screen real estate without forking out for the 16-inch MacBook Pro would love the option, but it's unlikely to be enough to get current Air users to pull the trigger. Were it to launch with the M3 chip, I think that would be a very different story.
The manufacturing start date for the M3 chip also means that it could go into production around the same time as WWDC. Could we get a glimpse of the chips' capabilities at the event? Possibly. It's definitely worth watching out for, regardless.