If you’re shopping for a new MacBook, timing is important when trying to get the most for your money. It’s especially important since we know the next MacBook Air is currently in the works, and it’s said to come with the anticipated M3 chip.
Considering it’s been over a year since the 13-inch M2 MacBook Air made its debut, you might assume the update is coming. If you’re in the market for a MacBook Air, I would normally advise you to wait until the M3 model comes out. But according to the latest reports, the M3 MacBook Air may be further away than we originally assumed.
Insider Mark Gurman notes in his newsletter that the M3 chip may still get announced later this year — but it will launch initially on just the 13-inch MacBook Pro and Mac mini. Unlike in previous years, Apple may be holding back the MacBook Air for a later update.
Waiting would allow Apple to give the 13-inch MacBook Pro more of the spotlight, as it has been a tough sell in the past due to the outdated chassis. It still has a Touch Bar, large bezels, and lower-resolution webcam. Even with all the chip upgrades, it’s remained the worst Mac you can buy — especially compared to the MacBook Air. And yet, Apple seems to be determined to keep it in the lineup with a bump to the M3 before the year’s end. A delay in the M3 MacBook Air could also allow Apple to update both the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Air at the same time since the 15-inch model was introduced just this past summer.
Regardless of the reason, it looks as if the M3 MacBook Air update won’t be coming until 2024. It could be closer to six months out, especially if Apple waits until its customary annual spring event.
So, if you’re in the market for a new MacBook, you can feel fairly safe still buying the M2 MacBook Air, whether it’s the 13-inch or the 15-inch model. Even if Apple were to opt for an earlier release, the change to the M3 in these laptops won’t be a deal breaker. The M2 MacBook Air is already a fantastic laptop, masterfully balancing both portability and performance. The M3 will certainly provide an uplift in performance (and possibly battery life), but if you were already considering the MacBook Air, your needs probably aren’t suited for one of Apple’s more powerful laptops anyways.
Heck, if you really don’t need all the bells and whistles of the newer MacBook Air, Apple still sells the original M1 MacBook Air too. Serving as the entry point to the lineup at just $999 (and often sold for as low as $799), the M1 MacBook Air uses an older chassis, but still delivers some impressive performance and battery life. Although the M2 MacBook Air is the better-looking laptop, the M1 MacBook Air will surprise you with how well it holds up.
I might have different advice for someone considering an M2 Pro or M2 Max MacBook Pros though. If performance is paramount, the bump to the M3 may have a huge difference in your workload, so waiting for this upcoming generation might be a good idea. These new laptops are also said to be coming in the spring of 2024, so they’re not too far off.