Apple(Is Apple First M3 MacBooks Coming Next Year) is renowned for its cutting-edge silicon chips that power its popular MacBook lineup. The company’s custom-designed M1 and M2 chips have delivered exceptional performance and battery life improvements in recent models. This has left many wondering when Apple will launch its next-generation M3 chip and the first laptops powered by it.
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There have been rumors swirling about Is Apple First M3 MacBooks Coming Next Year as early as 2023. However, most analysts believe 2024 is the more likely timeline for the company’s first 3nm-based processor and Macs. This article will examine the rumors and expert predictions around the M3 launch timeline.
The key questions we will explore are:
- What improvements will the 3nm M3 chip bring?
- When is Apple expected to adopt TSMC’s 3nm process node?
- What has Apple chip analyst Ming-Chi Kuo forecasted about the M3 release?
- Which MacBook models are rumored to get the M3 chip first?
- What challenges could delay the M3 launch?
Getting answers to these questions will give us a clearer picture of Apple’s M3 rollout plans and likely timeline.
What Performance Improvements Will the 3nm M3 Chip Bring?
The M3 is expected to utilize Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company’s (TSMC) advanced 3nm chip fabrication process, a significant upgrade from the 5nm process used for the M1 and M2 silicon. The 3nm node promises substantial performance and efficiency gains for Apple’s processors.
Compared to the 5nm process, the 3nm technology could deliver:
- Up to 15% faster speeds at the same power draw
- 30% power savings at the same speed
- 1.7X logic density for more transistors and components
The M3 stands to benefit tremendously from these 3nm advancements. Apple’s custom CPU cores and GPUs could reach faster clock speeds without increasing power consumption. Alternatively, the M3 could retain the M2’s speed while running much cooler and more efficiently.
The M3 is also rumored to feature additional CPU cores and GPU cores over M2 models. With TSMC 3nm, Apple could potentially double the 10-core CPU in the M2 chip. More cores translate into a multi-tasking and multithreaded performance lift.
Overall, the shift to a 3nm fabrication and expected architectural improvements will give the M3 a sizable speed and efficiency jump over M2 MacBooks. It positions the M3 chip to be Apple’s most powerful and battery-friendly Arm-based processor yet for Macs.
When Will Apple Adopt TSMC’s 3nm Process Node?
TSMC is slated to begin volume production of 3nm chips in the second half of 2022. However, Apple is not expected to be among the very first customers for 3nm.
Ming-Chi Kuo, a respected Apple analyst with TF International Securities, predicts the earliest adoption of 3nm chips will be in 2023 iPhones. The A17 Bionic chip coming in 2023 iPhone 15 Pro models is forecast to use TSMC’s 3nm process1.
So the precedent is there for Apple to utilize 3nm technology as early as next year. But Kuo believes Apple will reserve its initial 3nm allocation for iPhones, not Macs2.
The current outlook is that Apple will introduce its first 3nm Mac chips, the M3 models, in 2024. By then, TSMC will have ramped up production capacity at its Arizona fabrication plant and worked through any initial yield issues.
Expert Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo Says M3 MacBooks Coming 2024
Ming-Chi Kuo has proven extremely accurate at forecasting Apple’s product roadmap and release timelines. In June 2022, Kuo predicted that MacBooks powered by 3nm chips will arrive in 20243.
His research note claimed Apple’s chipmaking partner TSMC is expected to be the exclusive provider of 3nm chips for the M3 through 2024.
Kuo did not specify exactly when in 2024 he expects the 3nm M3 MacBook launch. But his forecast aligns with Digitimes reporting that volume production of M3 chips could begin in early 20244.
Kuo’s projections carry significant weight given his proven connections throughout Apple’s supply chain. If he says 2024 for M3 MacBook releases, it is likely Apple has this penciled in for its 3nm transition.
Rumored First MacBook Models to Get M3 Chip
Several models have been rumored as the likely candidates to be the first MacBooks equipped with Apple’s custom M3 silicon:
13-inch MacBook Pro – An updated 13-inch MacBook Pro with M3 is expected to arrive in late 2023 or early 2024. It would replace the current 13-inch M2 MacBook Pro.
13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Air – Refreshed thin-and-light MacBook Air laptops in 13-inch and 15-inch screen sizes are strong contenders for debuting the M3 chip. A 15-inch MacBook Air would be a new addition to the lineup.
Mac Mini – Apple just launched an M2 version of the Mac Mini desktop computer. A higher-end M3 model may come next year to sit above the M2 Mini in the lineup.
14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro – While less likely to be the very first, Apple surely has plans to bring M3 chips to premium 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models as well. But this may not occur until later in 2024 or 2025.
The most probable scenario is Apple launches the first M3 MacBooks in mid-2024, starting with lower volume models like the MacBook Air and 13-inch Pro. The highest-end professional MacBook Pros would transition last.
Potential Delays to the M3 Chip Launch
While a 2024 target for M3 MacBooks seems reasonable, there are risks of delays.
The primary factor is TSMC’s ability to manufacture high volumes of 3nm chips without setbacks. Achieving satisfactory yields often takes time with a major process node shrink like 3nm. If yields are low, it constrains available supply of the M3 chip.
Geopolitical risks associated with the Taiwan-based TSMC also persist. Any disruption due to Taiwan’s tensions with China could impact 3nm production. Though TSMC is building a new 3nm fab in Arizona, it will not contribute meaningful capacity until 2024-2025.
Lastly, the M3 and associated laptops may face launch delays if they are not yet ready for mass production by 2024. Apple has stringent quality standards and will wait to ship the M3 until it meets all performance and reliability objectives.
Barring any major yield or product issues, 2024 is the most credible expectation for Apple to unveil laptops featuring the powerful and efficient M3 processor. But it’s possible supply constraints or final testing delays could push the launch closer to mid or late 2024 rather than the beginning of the year.
Based on available information from Apple analysts, supply chain sources, and past precedent, the M3 MacBook launch is pointing toward 2024. While some rumors suggested 2023 was possible for M3 Macs, expert projections see next year as too soon.
Apple chip partner TSMC will only begin producing 3nm chips at scale in late 2022. It takes time to optimize yields and output for a major process advance like 3nm. This makes it unlikely Apple gets enough 3nm supply for M3 Macs in 2023.
Respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo asserts M3 MacBooks are coming in 2024. This fits with TSMC’s production timeline and Apple’s typical cadence of silicon upgrades.
The M3 chip itself promises to bring substantial leaps in processing speeds, efficiency, and core counts. It will likely debut in 13-inch MacBook Pro and Air models before pro-level 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros.
Barring any unexpected delays with TSMC’s 3nm node or in Apple’s product development, the company appears on track to introduce its first 3nm-based M3 MacBooks sometime in 2024. While not confirmed, this roadmap would align with past precedent and ramp-up timelines for cutting-edge chips.
The M3’s 3nm technology will usher in a new generation of fast, capable, and battery-friendly MacBook performance. And it will further Apple’s vertical integration and chip capabilities, cementing its leadership in silicon engineering. While the wait continues through 2023, the payoff in 2024 and beyond looks promising.
Here is a summary table comparing the rumored M3 chip to Apple’s current M1 and M2 processors:
|Specification||M1 Chip||M2 Chip||Expected M3 Chip|
|CPU Cores||8||10||Up to 20 rumored|
|GPU Cores||Up to 8||Up to 10||Up to 20 rumored|
|AI Engine Cores||16||16||TBD|
|Max Memory Support||16GB||24GB||TBD|
|Performance*||100%||+18% vs M1||+25-30% vs M2 estimated|
|Efficiency*||100%||Same as M1||+10-15% vs M2 estimated|
*Performance and efficiency estimates compared to prior generation chip.