Even though it was upgraded less than a year ago, Apple’s MacBook Air could be getting another chip upgrade. According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, Apple is planning to release a new MacBook Air “between late spring and summer” that may be powered by an M3 chip.
Gurman reports that Apple is preparing to release an upgraded 13-inch MacBook Air alongside the rumored 15-inch model, but is “unclear” about the type of chip that would power the laptops. Past reports have speculated that the 15-inch model could have an M2 with an M2 Pro option, but since the MacBook Air already has an M2 chip, there wouldn’t be much to update other than the Wi-Fi chip (6 to 6E) and Bluetooth (5.0 to 5.3). Additionally, Gurman reported that Apple is planning to release an M3 iMac in the second half of this year, which complicates the timeline even further.
If Apple launches an M3 MacBook Air this spring, it would be available less than a year after Apple released the M2 13-inch MacBook Air. However, it would also be very close to the launch of the next-gen M3 chip: “If those machines launch in a few months with the M2 chip, they’ll quickly become outdated,” Gurman wrote. “A 15-inch MacBook Air with an M2 chip may still excite consumers, but a new M2 13-inch MacBook Air is unlikely to be compelling.”
The M3 will be Apple’s first chip created with the 3nm fabrication process. It will have more transistors and better performance and power efficiency than the 5nm and enhanced 5m process used with previous chips.
Gurman reports that Apple’s goal is to move the M-series chips to an annual cycle like the iPhone’s A-series chips, though supply constraints caused by the pandemic hampered production. Now that production is approaching normalcy, Apple is looking to get its chip cadence on track, so we could see several new Macs released in quick succession, including the MacBook Air, Mac Pro, Mac Studio, and iMac.