Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Apple’s M3 MacBook plans could be in jeopardy this year

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Apple's 15-inch MacBook Air placed on a desk.Luke Larsen / Digital Trends

We’ve been hearing rumors about Apple updating its MacBook range with the new M3 processor throughout this year, but those plans might be in jeopardy. According to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple is ditching its plans to release M3-powered MacBooks this year.

Although that runs counter to some reports we heard earlier in the year — one rumor said Apple would release its new MacBooks no later than September — more reports are mounting that claim Apple is delaying its plans.

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Just two weeks ago, Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman claimed that Apple was reducing the scope of its typical Mac-focused event in October. The reporter says it won’t be a formal event, suggesting Apple could quietly release a new product through a press release rather than putting on a full presentation.

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Apple usually holds events for its new chip launches, and assuming it plans to refresh its range of MacBooks, it’s unlikely the announcement would come solely from a press release.  One possibility is that Apple will debut the M3 in an updated 24-inch iMac, as speculated by 9to5Mac. That device hasn’t received an update since 2020 and is still using the aging M1 chip.

Lending more credibility to Kuo’s report is the fact that Apple has already given Macs a lot of attention this year. In June, the company not only announced a 15-inch MacBook Air, but also a new Mac Studio and Mac Pro.

M3 MacBooks on the horizon?

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Although we may not see M3 MacBooks this year, it’s clear Apple is gearing up to release them. Reports suggest the company has already secured a year’s worth of chipmaker TSMC’s N3 (3nm) node, which is what the M3 is reportedly built on. It’s important to highlight that N3 also powers the A17 Bionic chips, which we expect to see in the iPhone 15 range during Apple’s event on September 12.

If we do see the M3 this year, it will likely show up in only a handful of devices. Previous reports show that Apple is holding off on launching the M3 Pro and M3 Max until 2024. That would make sense, too, as the Mac Studio and Mac Pro were just recently updated in June.

The M3 is expected to bring a large upgrade to Apple’s lineup. Devices like the MacBook Air M2 fell a bit short of expectations due to only offering an incremental upgrade over the M1. However, the new N3 node in the M3 is rumored to bring a massive performance improvement.

Ultimately, we just have to wait until Apple has more to share. Apple historically holds its fall Mac event in the middle of October, with an announcement happening the week before, so it shouldn’t be long until we know more.

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