Apple's new 15-inch MacBook Air and 13-inch will both get major M3 processor upgrade

Macbook Air Hands On
(Image credit: Future)

A huge new report on Apple's upcoming 15-inch MacBook Air claims that both the larger device and a refreshed 13-inch model will get an M3 chip, delivering a huge performance boost on the previous model. 

It follows reports at the weekend that Apple plans to launch a new 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Air by the summer. According to Mark Gurman, these models should arrive either before or around WWDC 2023 but the report stated it was unclear which chip was destined for the new models. The choice is either between the existing M2 chip or the upcoming M3 model which should deliver excellent performance gains. Now a brand-new report says the latter is the more likely. 

According to 9to5Mac Apple is planning both a 13-inch and 15-inch model that will be powered by the M3 chip. "According to 9to5Mac’s sources, the new 13-inch MacBook Air (codenamed J513) is already in the works with an M3 chip. It will be announced along with a brand-new 15-inch version (codenamed J515), which will also have the M3 chip," the report states. 

15-inch MacBook Air with M3

9to5Mac says that there is "no evidence" to suggest this will be an M3 "Pro" chip, but rather a base model design sporting the same 8-core CPU as the previous one. 

However, that M3 chip should still deliver some major performance upgrades thanks to the 3nm process it's built on. 3nm features a 70% logic density increase over the current 5nm technology used in M2. That means that Apple can pack in much more performance in a chip of the same size. TSMC, the company behind these chips, has promised speed boosts of up to 15% at the same level of power, or up to 30% power reduction at the same speeds as the current M2 MacBook Air. That means the chip will be faster and deliver better battery life for on-the-go computing. What's more, initial testing of the process reportedly yielded better-than-expected results, suggesting that these chips could be even faster than we first thought. 

However, one notable thing here is that the 3nm process wasn't expected to debut until the second half of 2023. This could suggest the process is further forward than we expected, or that a release window in the second half of the year is more likely. All inside reports currently point to a release in the next three months, so it seems that Apple and TSMC may have delivered this excellent upgrade even faster than we'd hoped for. 

With the M2 MacBook Air from 2022 getting a major design overhaul, we wouldn't expect to see another big change this year, with all of the significant changes happening under the hood. Still, with M3 at its heart, the new 15-inch MacBook Air and the 13-inch model for 2023 are shaping up to be the best MacBooks Apple have ever made. 


Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9