These M3 Macs are still on sale, but are they worth the wait?

Tim Hardwick

In October, Apple announced a 24-inch iMac based on the M3, as well as new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models with M3 series chips. So when will the rest of Apple's Mac lineup be updated to the latest M3 processors, and are they worth the wait? />
Now that Apple's “Scary Fast” event has passed, attention naturally turns to other Macs in the company's lineup and where they might fit into Apple's M3 roadmap. Here's what the latest rumors have to say.

M3 MacBook Air

Apple is selling three versions of the MacBook Air: a cheaper 13-inch model from the previous generation with the M1 chip, and 13-inch and The 15-inch models are equipped with the new M2 chip. The question is, when will Apple discontinue the M1 MacBook Air and replace its top-end 13- and 15-inch machines with M3 equivalents?

The existing 15-inch MacBook Air arrived earlier this year , in June, which isn't that long ago in terms of Mac update cycles. However, Apple released the 13-inch MacBook Air M2 back in June 2022. It is now the oldest Mac in Apple's current release that hasn't been updated in more than 480 days.

According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, Apple is developing a 13-inch and 15-inch M3 MacBook Air, with both models planned for release sometime in the first half of 2024. Both models have reportedly passed Engineering Verification Testing (EVT), an early stage of production testing of prototype devices. The M3 chip used in the Airs is expected to have the same number of CPU and GPU cores as the M2 chip in current models.

Considering how much time has passed since the current 13-inch MacBook Air was released, it's safe to assume that this model will be the next beneficiary of Apple's M3 chip. However, Apple's roadmap for Apple silicon appears to be dictated in part by suppliers' production capacity, so we could see either one model launch first, or both 13-inch and 15-inch models launch simultaneously.

Gurman says, that the next-generation MacBook Air should not be released until the spring and summer of next year, which may also reflect the launch time frame of the current models, which took place at WWDC in June 2022 and 2023.

Mac Mini

Apple announced the Mac mini M2 and M2 Pro Mac mini in January, just over 280 days ago, but according to Gurman, Apple may already be testing the Mac mini M3.

In August, evidence of an unknown “15.12” Mac was found in developer code, with the Mac having an 8-core processor (consisting of four efficiency cores and four performance cores), a 10-core GPU, and 24 GB of RAM. Based on the same specs as the base Mac mini M2 (minus the existing model's 8GB of RAM as standard), Gurman believes it represents the next generation Mac mini.

Gurman has previously stated that does not expect M3 version. The Mac mini will be released before the end of 2024, but since it is already in testing, it could potentially be introduced sooner.

Mac Studio, Mac Pro

Apple updated Mac Studio and Mac Pro with M2 series chips in June of this year. Mac Studio models are equipped with the M2 Max or M2 Ultra chip, while the Mac Pro uses the M2 Ultra chip.

Both Macs are believed to be in the middle of their production cycles, and there is no reliable data yet rumors about when more powerful M3 versions of both cars will be released. But if Apple is committed to an annual update cycle, we could see them in June 2024.

13-inch MacBook Pro

Apple has discontinued the 13-inch M2 MacBook Pro—and along with it the Touch Bar—and is replacing it with a 14-inch model equipped with the next-generation M3 chip.

Apple says the 14-inch MacBook Pro M3 is up to 60 percent faster than the 13-inch MacBook Pro M1. The 14-inch MacBook Pro M3 also has a number of other benefits that make it worth purchasing for anyone who owns an original 13-inch computer. So don't expect an M3-powered 13-inch MacBook Pro anytime soon, if ever.

Expected M3 performance gains

The M3 series of chips are built on TSMC's 3nm process technology, delivering performance and efficiency improvements over previous Apple M2 chips, which are based on the previous generation's 5nm process.

The actual real-world benefit depends on the version of the M3 processor combined with the specific Mac model and other component factors such as RAM and heat dissipation. However, all Apple M3 chips also boast GPU enhancements not found in the M2 series, including dynamic caching, hardware ray tracing, and hardware accelerated mesh shading.


Apple's core M3 chip will likely be used in future MacBook Air models, as well as an updated lower-end version of the Mac mini. At least in the MacBook Air, the M3 chip is expected to have the same number of CPU and GPU cores as the M2 chip in current models, but this may be true for the Mac mini as well.

According to early benchmarks, the M3 chip has single-core and multi-core scores of around 3000 and 11700, respectively. The stock M2 chip has single-core and multi-core scores of around 2600 and 9700 respectively, making the M3 chip 20% faster than the M2 chip, which Apple announced during its “Scary Fast” event in October. .

M3 Pro

It's not yet clear what kind of performance boost we can expect from the M3 Pro chip compared to the previous generation M2 Pro, but it's likely to be relatively minor. Keep in mind that when Apple announced the M3 series, the only slide it didn't show was how much faster the M3 Pro is than the equivalent M2 chip.

M3 Pro Chips and M2 Pro in the 16-inch MacBook Pro have 12 CPU cores, but the M2 Pro actually has one extra GPU core compared to the M3 Pro. Despite this, Apple claims it is 10 percent faster than the M2 Pro GPU and 40 percent faster than the M1 Pro GPU.

M3 Max

Please note that the new 16-inch MacBook Price The Pro in the US starts at $3,499 when configured with the M3 Max chip, and the Mac Studio with the M2 Ultra chip starts at $3,999, so you can effectively get the same performance for $500 less by purchasing the new 16-inch MacBook Pro. which also includes a display, keyboard and trackpad.

Will this performance imbalance alone prompt Apple to speed up the release of the M3-based Mac Studio and Mac Pro models? Hardly. But we can always hope.

M3 Ultra

Not yet announced, the M3 Ultra chip is something of an unknown. However, given that the existing M2 Ultra includes two M2 Max chips delivering twice the overall CPU and GPU performance, as well as double the memory bandwidth (800GB/s), we can expect similar performance gains over the M3 Max from Apple's next-generation high-performance processor. M3 Ultra chip.

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