Ending the partnership with Intel and designing their own ARM-based chips might have been one of Apple’s best decisions. No more Intel Core processors in the MacBook Pro and Air led to the creation of the Apple M1 CPU, which proved to be ridiculously efficient and fast.
Next up on Apple’s schedule is the M3 ARM-based processor. Hopefully, these new chips will be just as impressive as previous generations.
Even though we’re still far from launch day, in this article, we’ll cover everything regarding the release date, specifications, price, and performance.
Let’s see what Apple is planning!
- May 22, 2023: Added new release date information and specifications for the upcoming M3 Pro.
- March 17, 2023: Small update regarding M3 MacBook Air.
- March 11, 2023: Added rumors on release date and TSMC’s 3nm process node.
- January 17, 2023: Added new potential release date.
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We can’t know for sure when the M3 will release, but, considering the 18-month gap between Apple M1 (October 2020) and M2 (June 2022), it’s very likely that Apple will release its first M3 devices in Q4 of 2023.
In the initial announcement, we expect the 13-inch MacBook Air M3 and MacBook Pro M3.
This release date also adds up with TSMC since they are on track with the 3nm process.
Regarding the iMac, Mark Gurman suggests that Apple will skip the M2 upgrade and will go directly with the M3 processor in late 2023.
The lightweight MacBook Air laptop will also likely get an M3 upgrade soon rather than go with a higher TDP M2 like the Pro or Max.
Later on, we may see the following devices:
- iPad Pro M3
- Mac mini M3
- 14-inch/16-inch MacBook Pro M3 Max/Pro
Currently, there isn’t much we can share about these upcoming processors. But, we do know that Apple is looking at TSMC’s 3nm process to upgrade their processors.
However, recent leaks suggest that TSMC gave up on N3 (3nm process) and immediately went to upgrade to N3E, the enhanced 3nm process node.
So, Apple either secured N3 supply early and M3 processors will release earlier or Apple will wait for N3E which is planned for late 2023.
TSMC’s N3 technology has a 15% IPC improvement over the 5nm Apple M2 and a 30% improvement in power efficiency.
This also means that N3E may deliver 20-25% IPC improvement over the 5nm process node.
Remember that Apple managed to make substantial performance gains with M2 over M1 even though both were on the 5nm process node, so M3 could bring even more significant improvements over previous generations.
Based on @LeaksApplePro, the M3 CPU could come in two different combinations.
- 8-core CPU for the MacBook Air
- 10-core CPU for the MacBook Pro
Although it is worth noting that both M2 and M1 had only one 8-core variant, while the higher core count SKUs were the Pro and Max.
|Apple M3||Apple M2||Apple M1|
|Process Node||N3 (TSMC 3nm) / N3e (enhanced 3nm)||N3 (TSMC 3nm) / N3e (enhanced 3nm)||N5P (2nd gen 5nm)||5nm|
|Neural Engine||?||?||15.8 TOPS||11 TOPS|
|Unified Memory||up to 36GB||up to 32GB||up to 24GB||up to 16GB|
|Release Date||Q1 2024?||Q4 2023||June 2022||November 2020|
Specific Apple M2 devices saw some price hikes. For example, the MacBook Air M2 had a $200 higher MSRP than the MacBook Air M1. On the other hand, the MacBook Pro M2 got the same starting price point as the M1.
Unfortunately, we will probably see even higher pricing for M3 devices because switching from 5NP to N3 FinFlex will be expensive. Why?
Well, one TSMC 3nm wafer will cost $20,000, $4000 more expensive than TSMC’s 5nm wafer, as implied by DigiTimes.
Based on that, here are our price expectations for M3 devices:
- iPad Pro M2 – from $899
- 13-inch MacBook Air M3 – from $1,299
- 13-inch MacBook Pro M3– from $1,399
- 14-inch MacBook Pro M3 Pro/Max – $3,099
- 16-inch MacBook Pro M3 Max – $2,599
Our guess is $100 more for every price tag, but higher prices are possible! Remember that these are just rough estimates based on the cost of previous-generation devices.
Apple still hasn’t released any information regarding the performance of the M3 processor, so we don’t have any benchmarks to share yet.
But we’ll update this article accordingly when any information gets out regarding these next-generation processors’ price, specifications, and performance!