2023 MacBook Air refresh could include major processing upgrade

MacBook Air 2022 on cobbled ground
(Image credit: Gerald Lynch / Future)

Apple might have only just announced its best MacBook ever, but attention is now turning to the MacBook Air — and a new report says we’ll get one later this year with an updated chip included.

The new MacBook Pro is now rumored to be arriving at some point in the second half of 2023 with an all-new Apple-designed M3 chip inside. Little is currently known about what that chip will offer, but we can expect speed and power usage improvements thanks to a new manufacturing process.

If the report is correct, Apple will switch to a new 3nm manufacturing process for the M3 series of chips, starting with the MacBook Air later this year.

New MacBook = new chip

The new report comes courtesy of DigiTimes (via MacRumors), which claims that Apple’s new MacBook Pro will arrive “in the second half of 2023 and may be equipped with a 3nm processor.” The report cites unnamed industry sources.

Apple’s current M2 series of chips are all built on the 5nm manufacturing process from chipmaker TSMC, but the company has been making 3nm chips since late 2022. In addition, the same manufacturing process is expected to be used for the A17 Bionic chip in the iPhone 15 Pro, which is (likely) scheduled to be released in September this year.

The move to a minor manufacturing process doesn’t automatically mean faster chips, but it should allow for the M3 to run cooler and use less power than those that came before it. That could then allow the chip to run faster, or Apple could use those savings to make thinner and more power-efficient chips instead.

This report doesn’t mention which version of the MacBook Air it’s talking about, although analyst Ross Young says that a 15-inch model is in the works for a spring release. However, that doesn’t quite fit with this timeline, suggesting that one may be wrong.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.