The new 15-inch MacBook Air probably won't get the M3 chip — but it’s not all bad news

macbook air m2

As previously reported, it looks like the upcoming 15-inch MacBook Air won’t contain Apple’s rumored M3 processor.

Latest reports (via AppleInsider) claim Apple has decided to delay the rollout of its latest chip; a rumor backed by industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. That’s undoubtedly a blow for would-be MacBook Air buyers, but it’s not all doom and gloom for the new laptop.

Though the 15-inch Air is likely to miss out on the M3, it could launch with two separate M2 series processor options. The configuration of these chips will boil down to how many cores they have, which Kuo points out is “similar to the M2 13-inch MacBook Air.” 

While having multiple MacBook Air buying options is welcome, Kuo has doused cold water on one of his earlier predictions. Previously, he speculated that the 15-incher Air might house Apple’s M2 Pro chip, but that now looks unlikely. 

Latest 15-inch MacBook Air rumors  

MacBook Air M2 2022

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The latest MacBook Air is likely to launch this June at WWDC 2023; an event where we expect to find out more about iOS 17. Ahead of its imminent (if still rumored) launch, Kuo predicts Apple is preparing to ship between five and six million 15-inch MacBook Air units. 

Going back to the M3 chipset, Kuo expects mass production of Apple’s latest processor will commence in the second half of this year. The M3 could well feature in the rumored latest version of the 16-inch MacBook Pro — a device that’s predicted to launch in early 2024. After the first M3 units ship, Apple is expected to begin work on the M3 Pro and M3 Max processors. 

So where does this fresh round of speculation leave prospective new MacBook Air owners? Our advice would be to hold out buying the 15-inch Air if you already own its smaller sibling, the 13.6-inch Apple MacBook Air M2

As the existing Air M2 remains one of the best laptops you can buy in 2023, the rumored specs of the 15-inch MacBook Air simply don’t offer enough of an upgrade over last year’s model. 

Our advice? Hold out on buying the 15-inch MacBook Air if you’re already an owner of last year's 13.6-inch Air M2.

We expect Apple’s latest laptop will launch with the same version of the M2 that the 13.6-inch model houses: a chipset with eight processing cores, 8GB of RAM and ten graphics cores.

While the rumored 15-inch MacBook Air’s chip offers a substantial upgrade over 2020’s Apple MacBook Air M1, we still think owners of last year’s 13.6-inch laptop should wait another generation before upgrading.

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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.