December 6, 2023

Every week in the past, Apple delivered the shock late-October Halloween-centric Scary Quick press occasion. The star of the present was the M3 sequence, Apple’s new System-on-Chip (SoC) household that might energy a brand new sequence of laptops and desktops. Apple unveiled three of the 4 M3 chips we count on: The bottom M3 mannequin, the M3 Professional, and the M3 Max.

Apple additionally gave us new {hardware} for every chip. The M3 will energy the brand new iMac and the bottom MacBook Professional 14-inch mannequin that replaces the 13-inch MacBook Professional. The identical MacBook Professional 14-inch laptop computer and the 16-inch model additionally get the M3 Professional and M3 Max chip.

Absent from the listing of latest Mac {hardware} is the M3 MacBook Air. Apple’s hottest laptop computer is out there in 13-inch and 15-inch flavors proper now, however each of them have the M2 chip inside. This begs the apparent query: when will the M3 MacBook Air launch? You may not like the reply, as you could be in for a protracted wait.

I mentioned final week that the M3 MacBook Professional 14-inch is an incredible worth. The most cost effective mannequin is a a lot better choice than the 13-inch model it replaces. It’s additionally an unbelievable various to the MacBook Air regardless of the upper beginning value. At $1,599, you’d get a laptop computer that runs on the identical SoC the next-gen Air will get however affords the identical high-end display and connector choices as the opposite MacBook Professional flagships.

The M3 MacBook Professional additionally delivers nice battery life, exceeding the battery estimates for the present M2 MacBook Airs.

Nonetheless, there’s no denying that the M3 MacBook Air shall be extremely interesting to consumers. And since Apple affords two display sizes, I’d be extra within the 15-inch variant. Nonetheless, Apple received’t launch the M3 MacBook Air till later subsequent yr.

Apple’s M3, M3 Professional, and M3 Max chips. Picture supply: Apple Inc.

The only strategy to clarify the absence of an M3 MacBook Air from Apple’s late 2023 Mac portfolio would possibly concern that bigger 15-inch variant. Apple unveiled it this summer season, so updating it lower than 6 months after its launch sounds counterintuitive.

However that may not be the actual cause a M3 MacBook Air received’t be delivery to consumers this week, together with most M3 MacBook Professional fashions. It has to do with Apple’s capability to fabricate 3nm chips.

Put otherwise, Apple prioritizes the iPhone 15 Professional and 15 Professional Max over the Macs. The 3m A17 Professional and M3 chips come from TSMC, Apple’s sole producer for these SoCs. The element comes from a brand new Energy On e-newsletter from Marc Gurman:

As for why Apple began off the M3 swap with the iMac and MacBook Professional: There’s solely a finite quantity of 3-nanometer processors obtainable, with a lot of the provision going towards the iPhone. So Apple began with two of its lower-volume machines. Whereas the Mac Studio and Mac Professional promote in even fewer portions, they might require a successor to the M2 Extremely, and that hasn’t but gone into broad testing.

The iPhone remains to be Apple’s greatest cash maker, with most consumers going for the dearer Professional fashions. The iPhone 15 Professional and 15 Professional Max are the one iPhones that includes a 3nm chip, the A17 Professional. The handsets have bought out shortly throughout preorders, particularly the bigger Professional Max variant, which begins at $1,199.

Apple M3 MacBook Pro upgrades.
Apple M3 MacBook Professional upgrades. Picture supply: Apple Inc.

On the time of this writing, Apple has iPhone 15 Professional inventory prepared, although some fashions will ship inside 3-5 days. The iPhone 15 Professional Max will get a 7-10-day delivery estimate.

The 3nm A17 Professional chip hasn’t been a bottleneck for manufacturing iPhone 15 Execs. Not that we all know of. However there’s positively not sufficient inventory to go round. Actually not for the M3 MacBook Air manufacturing.

I’ll additionally level out that the M3 Max model of the MacBook Professional (14-inch and 16-inch) is not going to ship till later this month. What you should buy proper now are the M3 and M3 Professional variations of the laptop computer.

Lastly, no Android vendor may have entry to 3nm chips subsequent yr. TSMC is just making 3nm SoCs for Apple proper now.

With all that in thoughts, you should buy an M2 MacBook Air proper now. We have already got offers supplying you with as much as $250 in financial savings on the present M2 MacBook Air fashions. You may at all times commerce within the M2 Air for the M3 variant subsequent yr. Per Gurman, that’s when the M3 MacBooks will arrive, although we don’t have a launch window for you.