iPads and MacBooks may skip M3 chip for this year — here’s why

MacBook Pro 14-inch 2023
(Image credit: Future)

The Apple M3 chip may not arrive this year for new iPads and Macs says prolific leaker Revegnus, which if true could really put a dampener on interest in Apple's upcoming events.

TSMC, the Taiwanese chipmaker that Apple works closely with on several products, apparently can't produce enough M3 chips for updating the company's tablets, laptops and desktops. iPads and Macs with the new generation of silicon will instead only appear in 2024, Revegnus adds.

Currently, Apple's selling devices featuring the Apple M2 series of chips, offering standard, Pro and Max versions across various Mac models, as well as selling the latest iPad Pro with M2 chips and the iPad Air 2022 and last-gen MacBook Air with Apple M1 chips. 

Going by Apple's previously established 12 — 18-month update cadence, we'd have expected to potentially see the first M3-powered Macs towards the end of the year. We could still hear some initial news on these chips at WWDC in June, where the M2 series debuted last year.

The M3 series of chips has been rumored to be built on a 3-nanometer process, the smallest, most densely-packed chip type currently being developed for consumer devices. Being able to fit more transistors into a smaller footprint means more computing power and greater power efficiency, two highly desirable improvements no matter what device it goes in.

The iPhone 15 Pro could be to blame 

Revegnus makes no mention of the upcoming iPhone 15 series in their tweet, but when looking at previous rumors, this could be the reason why Apple's having to push back the M3 chip.

The 3-nanometer process the M3 is rumored to use is also rumored to be used in the iPhone 15 Pro this year, in the form of an A17 Bionic chipset. Since the iPhone is far more popular than any Mac or iPad, perhaps Apple and TSMC are prioritizing these mobile chips to ensure the inevitable rush of sales come this September is catered for. Apple has in the past allegedly asked suppliers to shift manufacturing priorities from other products to keep the iPhone production line going, so perhaps this is what we're seeing again in this rumor.

Coming up in the world of Macs, we should be seeing a 15-inch MacBook Air arrive at WWDC next month, and possibly an Apple Silicon-powered Mac Pro and upgraded Mac Studios soon after according to rumors. As for iPads, an all-OLED line-up is coming in the next few years, and potentially an extra-large 14.1-inch iPad with an M3 Pro chip and revised software in 2024 as well. 

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Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.