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Apple could soon put an M3 chip in its worst laptop

Apple’s MacBook lineup is full of great laptops, but the 13-inch MacBook Pro really doesn’t feel like it belongs. Yet a new report claims Apple will update that device with an M3 chip later this year instead of simply killing it off.

The news comes from 9to5Mac, and the website says its sources have confirmed the 13-inch MacBook Pro is going to get a refresh with a new M3 chip, potentially at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June.

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Why is this a baffling move? Well, right now the 13-inch MacBook Pro is Apple’s least appealing laptop. You get the same performance as the M2 MacBook Air, yet you pay $100 more for the privilege. It has chunkier display bezels, a worse webcam, and overall simply feels outdated compared to Apple’s other MacBooks.

Outfitting the 13-inch MacBook Pro with an M3 chip isn’t going to change that, since Apple is expected to update the MacBook Air to also get the same chip. While the M3 will be a next-generation upgrade thanks to its use of a 3-nanometer manufacturing process, putting it in both laptops will deny the 13-inch MacBook Pro any meaningful advantage — and ensure it remains an unattractive option for buyers.

Revealingly, 9to5Mac’s report claims Apple even considered dropping the “Pro” part of the 13-inch MacBook Pro’s name, but eventually decided not to. That suggests even Apple knows its laptop is not a true pro-level device, which doesn’t bode well.

Much more on the horizon

A MacBook Pro 13-inch sits partially open on a table.

The report also touched on other subjects, including the note that Apple is working on a 15-inch MacBook Air alongside a 13-inch model, both of which will come with the M3 chip. These devices will be announced together, potentially at WWDC.

Interestingly, 9to5Mac says the M3 chip will be the only choice for these laptops, meaning no M3 Pro or M3 Max options. There has been speculation that the 15-inch MacBook Air could come with a higher-tier chip, but this latest report suggests that will not be the case. That’s not too surprising, since those high-end chips would likely need a fan to keep them cool, and the MacBook Air is fanless by design.

The report follows claims from Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman that a bunch of new Macs are in the works, including 13-inch and 15-inch MacBooks Airs, a new iMac, and a revamped Mac Pro. Gurman’s report didn’t mention the 13-inch MacBook Pro, so it seems there’s not yet a consensus on that device.

With WWDC only a few months away, there isn’t long until we’ll find out whether Apple has decided to keep the 13-inch MacBook Pro in the lineup or finally ditch it. While the M3 chip could greatly increase its performance, Apple will need to do a lot more to convince everyone it’s a laptop that’s worth purchasing.

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