New MacBooks with M3 chip just tipped to launch next year — here's what we know

2023 MacBook Air 15-inch M2 shown open on a marble bench
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

It may not have been officially announced yet, but the release of the long-rumored Apple M3 chip seems as certain as the Titanic crashing into a giant block of floating ice. And said rumors have only become more credible with fresh reports that The Big A will release its first M3-powered MacBooks next year.

According to long-term shipping forecasts published by DigiTimes (thanks, MacRumors), Apple’s latest silicon looks likely to ship in 2024. As per these reports, it appears Apple is in the process of transitioning into production mode for the new chipset, which is likely to implement TSMC’s 3mn node. 

In real-world speak these new CPUs should represent a major upgrade over the TSMC 5-nanometer tech currently used in the latest and best Macbooks. Here’s what those previously mentioned shipping forecasts predict in terms of the production schedule for Apple’s rumored new silicon: 

“In 2023, the share of notebooks built using Arm-based processors will likely decrease rather than increase because Apple, which adopts in-house designed Arm-based CPUs for most of its notebook lineups, is expected to experience a significant decline in shipments in 2023 as the US brand vendor plans to transit to CPUs built by a 3nm node at TSMC for performance upgrading in 2024.”

Latest M3 MacBook rumors

The proposed timeline above contradicts previous rumors of an October launch hinted at by respected Bloomberg journalist (and well-connected Apple guru) Mark Gurman. Mainly because, well, it’s already October and there’s zero chance of Apple releasing a new lineup of M3 MacBooks in the following two-and-a-bit weeks.

Given that the new(ish) MacBook Air 15-inch M2 is barely six months old, it’s not exactly a shocker Apple has chosen to hold back more powerful M3 laptops until sometime next year.

If (and let’s be honest, it’s definitely ‘when’) Apple starts shipping new chipsets, the M3 line will most likely benefit not only updated versions of the Air, but also MacBook Pro models and even a new M3 iMac — the current version of Apple’s desktop is a couple of years old now, and still rocking the aging M1 chip.

From what’s previously been reported regarding the M3 line, there will likely be several variants of the silicon. Previous leaks from Gurman’s sources point to an Apple M3 Pro chip that could boast 12 CPU cores, 18 GPU cores and 36GB of unified memory.

As impressive as those as yet unconfirmed specs are, the equally rumored M3 Max chipset should easily outgun the Pro. The most recent leaks suggest the higher-end M3 silicon will feature 16 CPU cores, and a frankly absurd 40 GPU cores. There are also whispers of an even more powerful Apple M3 Ultra chip that could rock up to 28 processor cores and (wait for it), 80 GPU cores.

Whenever the Cupertino-based giant does eventually decide to announce the M3 chip line-up, it looks all but inevitable that these new processors are going to absolutely smoke their M2 predecessors.

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Dave Meikleham
UK Computing Editor

Dave is a computing editor at Tom’s Guide and covers everything from cutting edge laptops to ultrawide monitors. When he’s not worrying about dead pixels, Dave enjoys regularly rebuilding his PC for absolutely no reason at all. In a previous life, he worked as a video game journalist for 15 years, with bylines across GamesRadar+, PC Gamer and TechRadar. Despite owning a graphics card that costs roughly the same as your average used car, he still enjoys gaming on the go and is regularly glued to his Switch. Away from tech, most of Dave’s time is taken up by walking his husky, buying new TVs at an embarrassing rate and obsessing over his beloved Arsenal.