Don't expect M3 MacBooks until next year

MacBook Pro 15
(Image credit: Apple)

If you were hoping for a late-2023 launch of the next generation MacBook Pro, another new report says they're not coming any time soon. The M3 MacBook Pro and MacBook Air will be the first MacBooks with a chip based on a 3nm fabrication process, which should deliver both better performance and better energy efficiency. But it appears that the processors won't be ready in time for a 2023 launch.

That's according to industry trade publication DigiTimes, which has just published a five-year forecast for global notebook shipments. For Mac watchers the most interesting bit is its prediction that Apple "is expected to experience a significant decline in shipments in 2023" as it prepares to move to new processors "in 2024". That ties in with a recent post by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who says that "it seems that Apple will not launch new MacBook models (equipped with M3 series processors) before the end of this year."

So what does this mean for the MacBook?

M3 Macs are coming, but maybe not quickly

We reported yesterday that the next iMac, expected in the coming weeks or months, is likely to have M2 / M2 Pro silicon instead of the rumoured M3 – most likely because the new processor isn't ready yet. And it looks like the M3 MacBooks will be later than rumoured too, for the same reason.

Unlike the iMac, which is getting on a bit in tech terms thanks to its M1 processor, the MacBook and MacBook Pro range aren't in desperate need of an update. Apple launched the latest versions of the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros in January, and it also launched the 15-inch MacBook Air in June. These are exceptionally fast and powerful laptops, and the current 13-inch MacBook Pro is no slouch either: it was updated to the M2 processor last summer and our niggles don't include performance; instead, we disliked the sub-par webcam and wondered if anybody wants a Touch Bar any more.

The next upgrade to Apple's mobile Macs may be in their displays rather than their processors. Just last week DigiTimes reported that Apple was working on more efficient mini-LED 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pros for a late 2023 launch, and if the intention is to ship those before the end of the year then that update should be imminent. 

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 (