Apple may not have officially confirmed it yet, but reports and rumors point to the company releasing a MacBook Pro M3 in the not-too-distant future.
If the rumors prove to be correct, the new MacBook Pro will be powered by the Apple M3 chip: an advanced piece of silicon that may launch in both Pro and Max flavors. While this chipset is also yet to be officially announced, it’s suggested the first M3-powered MacBooks could be released as early as October.
There’s already a lot of talk out there about the potential power and performance of the MacBook Pro M3. Sources close to Apple suggest it could pack in significantly more processing cores than the MacBook Pro M2.
If you’re in the market for a MacBook Pro, you’re probably asking yourself whether you should hold off on buying an M2 model until more details about a potential M3-powered successor leak.
We'll guide you through all the speculation and suggested specs surrounding the MacBook Pro M3 to help you decide whether the rumored laptop is worth waiting for.
MacBook Pro M3 vs MacBook Pro M2: Price and availability
As the MacBook Pro M3 hasn’t been officially confirmed yet, everything we know about it currently has to be taken with a rather large grain of salt. Industry insider Mark Gurman (who is close to Apple insiders), has stated in his Power On newsletters that we could see the first M3 MacBooks in October.
As of time of writing, the 14- and 16-inch versions of the MacBook Pro M2 have only been out a little over 7 months, after launching in January 2023. It’s understandable that Apple would want to give its current Pro lineup some time to breathe before its successor cruises over the horizon.
If the Cupertino tech giant follows the pattern of pricing and release dates set by the MacBook Pro M2 line, we can make a few educated guesses about when the MacBook Pro M3 will launch and how much various versions of it might cost.
The MacBook Pro M2 line first hit shelves with a 13-inch model back in June 2022, with the starting configuration costing $1,299. This model was then followed up 7 months later when the MacBook Pro 14-inch (2023) and MacBook Pro 16-inch (2023) were released on January 24 of this year — the former starting at $1,999, while the latter’s base config went on sale for $2,499.
The MacBook Pro M2 line launched at almost identical prices to 2021’s M1 series. We expect Apple will follow suit and keep the costs of the rumored MacBook Pro M3 models roughly in line with the M2 lineup.
MacBook Pro M3 vs MacBook Pro M2: Design and displays
The design of the MacBook Pro hasn’t changed much in recent years. If we specifically look at the MacBook Pro 16-inch model, the difference between 2021’s M1 laptop and this year’s M2 version are more or less identical from an aesthetic standpoint.
We don’t expect Apple to make radical design changes to the rumored MacBook Pro M3. However, the MacBook Pro 13-inch design definitely could use an overhaul, which would include slimmer bezels, more ports and an upgraded FaceTime camera (with notch to match). The 14-inch and 16-inch versions will likely closely mimic the current MacBook Pro M2 designs.
But what sort of screen technology might a MacBook Pro M3 contain? The M2 lineup rocks Apple’s now iconic Liquid Retina XDR displays, which is Apple’s fancy version of an advanced LCD panel.
As much as we’d love to see an M3-centric MacBook Pro with an OLED screen, it seems the safe money is on Apple continuing with Liquid Retina for the time being. That said, rumors suggest all future MacBooks will get OLED screens by 2027. Fingers crossed.
To reiterate, though, as Apple hasn’t actually confirmed the existence of the MacBook Pro M3 (or what sizes it might be available in), all of the above is currently educated guesswork based on Apple’s past design decisions.
MacBook Pro M3 vs MacBook Pro M2: Specs
The MacBook Pro M2 13-inch launched with the Apple M2 Pro chip, whereas the 14- and 16-inch models offered both this silicon and upgraded, super-powered M2 Max versions. An M2-driven MacBook Pro delivers an entry level configuration that features a 12-core CPU, 19-core GPU and 16GB of unified memory.
The 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro M2 Max laptops pack in that same 12-core CPU, but additionally flaunt a seriously impressive 38-core GPU and 32GB of unified memory. That’s quite the leap over the Pro chipset.
As for the rumored MacBook Pro M3, sources close to Bloomberg’s Gurman claim Apple is testing multiple configurations for its next high-end laptop line.
Rumors point to the existence of both M3 Pro and M3 Max-powered MacBook Pro models. The former chipset apparently contains 12 CPU cores, 18 GPU cores and 36GB of unified memory. It’s also said the CPU will be split between 6 high-performance cores and 6 efficiency cores. Gurman’s sources suggest this particular silicon was running in a future “high-end” MacBook Pro that was using macOS 14.
As for the equally rumored flagship MacBook Pro M3 Max, Gurman has teased this chip could include 16 processing cores and up to 40 GPU cores. That would be a substantial upgrade over the potential MacBook Pro M3 Pro, and if those specs come to fruition, we expect the Max model will be considerably more expensive.
The Max version of the MacBook Pro M2 16-inch costs $3,499, so if you’re planning on buying the MacBook Pro M3 Max (when / if) it launches, you better start saving.
Both the expected Pro and Max processors will reportedly deploy TSMC’s advanced 3nm processing node, which represents a big upgrade of previous MacBook Pro generation chipsets that made use of TSMC’s 5-nanometer tech.
What does all this head-spinning jargon mean in real-world terms? The rumored MacBook Pro M3 models will boast considerably better battery life over the M2 generation along with even faster performance. That’s hugely impressive if true, because battery life on the MacBook Pro M2 16-inch is already epic.
MacBook Pro M3 vs MacBook Pro M2: Outlook
It’s obviously too early to definitively tell whether the rumored MacBook Pro M3 will improve upon the specs and performance of the existing M2 Pro. Mainly because its existence hasn’t been officially confirmed yet.
If you currently own the MacBook Pro with M1 and are thinking about upgrading, perhaps it might be a good idea to wait until the MacBook Pro M3 lineup gets officially announced. That way, you’ll know precisely how much more performant it might be compared to the MacBook Pro M2 series.