Whereas it’s laborious to pin down a launch cycle at this level for Apple’s M-series chips — two generations don’t make a development — there’s been a sure sense that the next-generation M3 chip hasn’t come as shortly as Apple had initially deliberate.
When reviews of Apple’s 15-inch MacBook Air started to take form earlier this yr, they had been accompanied by reviews that the bigger MacBook Air could be powered by the most recent M3 chip. In spite of everything, it appeared clear that the 15-inch mannequin was on the close to horizon — some reviews even advised it will launch in April — and it wouldn’t make numerous sense for it to be powered by final yr’s M2 chip when the M3 was on the horizon.
Even because it turned clear that we’d have to attend till June’s Worldwide Builders Convention to see the brand new 15-inch MacBook Air, the prevailing principle was nonetheless that Apple was poised to refresh its total MacBook Air lineup with the brand new M3 silicon, unveiling the bigger model on the identical get together.
Nevertheless, as we obtained nearer to the discharge date, we started seeing hints that the brand new MacBook Air would certainly solely be packing an M2 chip. This was later confirmed by different dependable sources that advised that whereas the brand new MacBook Air would have two chip configurations, they’d each be primarily based on the M2 — probably the identical “binned” configuration that’s been used on the MacBook Air lineup since Apple silicon first arrived with the M1 in 2020.
It’s unknown if Apple truly meant to have an M3 chip prepared for WWDC or whether or not some analysts and leakers had been simply studying issues fallacious. Nevertheless, it’s value noting that we shared an unique report in early 2022 that, even again then, had pegged the timeline for the M3 chip for later this yr:
I’ve heard Apple and its companions plan to start out the M3 manufacturing in Q2 of 2023, and it ought to be unveiled in This autumn 2023. After discussing this matter with sources aware of it, I anticipate Apple to launch an M3 Mac mini, a 13.3-inch M3 MacBook Air, and a 13.3-inch M3 MacBook Professional between the Q3 and This autumn of that yr.
Nevertheless, newer reviews from the provision chain advised Apple had been making an attempt to ramp issues up, however its main fabrication companion, Taiwan Semiconductor (TSMC), simply couldn’t sustain. This could possibly be believable, contemplating our sources additionally instructed us in early 2022 to not anticipate the M2 Professional and M2 Max MacBook Professional fashions till mid-2023, but Apple refreshed these in January, a couple of months sooner than we anticipated.
Briefly, timelines have been in every single place as numerous provide chain analysts and leakers attempt to determine precisely what Apple is as much as.
The Saga of the 24-inch iMac
In Could, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman revealed that Apple was already testing the M3 chips in “next-generation Macs.” Earlier, he had additionally reported that Apple was already growing and testing a prototype for a brand new M3-powered 24-inch iMac. Placing these two items collectively means that the 24-inch iMac could possibly be the following main launch to reach — and it’d even be the primary in line to get the brand new M3 chip.
In spite of everything, whereas each different Mac in Apple’s lineup now has an M2 model out there, the 24-inch iMac skipped the M2 chip fully. That’s exactly what a number of sources predicted a yr in the past, so it’s not an enormous shock, and it’s uncertain that may change now.
As an alternative, with the 24-inch iMac being nicely overdue for a refresh, it’s the probably machine to usher within the subsequent era of Apple silicon, and Gurman agrees. In his newest Energy On e-newsletter, Gurman says that this October would be the month of the entry-level M3 Macs.
Now that Apple has gotten the 15-inch MacBook Air and new M2 Extremely-based Macs out the door, the October launch may function the primary Macs with M3 chips. October is simply too early for brand spanking new high-end MacBook Professionals or desktops, so the primary beneficiaries of the brand new chip ought to be the following iMac, 13-inch MacBook Air, and 13-inch MacBook Professional.Mark Gurman
It’s nonetheless an open query whether or not we’ll see a complete lineup seem, particularly with the just-released 15-inch MacBook Air looming over the smaller fashions. It will be uncommon — not unattainable, however definitely odd — for Apple to launch an M3-powered 13-inch MacBook Air whereas leaving the bigger mannequin behind on the M2. Nevertheless, it will arguably be even stranger to refresh the 15-inch MacBook Air to place an M3 chip into it lower than 4 months later — if nothing else, it will be an enormous slap within the face to all of Apple’s clients who’ve simply bought the 15-inch mannequin.
However, the 24-inch iMac was launched with an M1 chip in early 2021, and it’s remained available on the market unchanged ever since. It’s overdue for a refresh, and it’s a secure wager that one will arrive as quickly as doable. Whereas that might additionally imply the M3 chip is prepared for Apple’s MacBooks, the corporate may delay a minimum of these by a couple of months to offer the 15-inch MacBook Air time to settle into the lineup fairly than threat leaving it behind the curve.
That is additionally the place the 13-inch MacBook Professional would possibly truly serve a helpful goal in Apple’s lineup. With the transition to Apple silicon, the 13-inch MacBook Professional ended up in a clumsy spot, and that turned much more pronounced final yr when Apple redesigned the MacBook Air for the M2 chip alongside a 13-inch MacBook Professional that was similar in each means apart from the extra highly effective chip inside.
At this level, the 13-inch MacBook Professional appears to exist solely for followers of the Contact Bar because it doesn’t provide a lot else to set it other than the similarly-sized MacBook Air. Nevertheless, even when Apple chooses to carry again the M3 MacBook Air for introduction in 2024, it may nonetheless convey the M3 chip to its 13-inch MacBook Professional instantly, permitting that mannequin to step out into the lead, a minimum of for a short time.
[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]