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The M3 MacBook Pro may launch sooner than anyone expected

Earlier this week, we learned that Apple’s next batch of Macs loaded with M3 chips could be set to launch in the fall. Today, a fresh report claims they could arrive ahead of schedule — but there are reasons to be doubtful.

The idea comes from a paywalled DigiTimes report (via MacRumors), which cites “industry sources” to claim that Apple will introduce a new MacBook Pro — complete with a 3-nanometer Apple silicon chip that will boast improved performance and efficiency — as soon as the third quarter of 2023. That quarter runs from July 1 until September 30.

Fortnite running on a Macbook M1.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The MacBook Pro that DigiTimes refers to is presumably the 13-inch MacBook Pro, as this hasn’t been tweaked since 2022, whereas the 16-inch and 14-inch MacBook Pro laptops received a fresh upgrade as recently as January 2023. That makes them unlikely candidates for another update this year.

Aside from the 13-inch MacBook Pro, M3 upgrades could also be coming to the 24-inch iMac and the 13-inch MacBook Air later in 2023. That’s according to a report from journalist Mark Gurman, although DigiTimes apparently makes no mention of these devices.

An unusual release date

The 13-inch MacBook Pro, viewed at an angle from the back.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

There is a potential problem with DigiTimes’ timeline, however. Given the Apple events that are expected this year — and the company’s longstanding custom of launching new Macs after new iPhones in the fall — a third-quarter launch for the MacBook Pro seems unlikely.

Apple is widely expected to launch its iPhone 15 and Apple Watch Series 9 lineup at a September event, as is the company’s tradition. Macs usually follow behind that, either in October or November. It’s very unusual for new MacBooks to launch in the third quarter, suggesting you should take DigiTimes’ claim with a dose of skepticism.

Yet it’s not totally unknown for Apple to unveil a new MacBook in the third quarter. After all, the M2 MacBook Air was revealed in July 2022, while both the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro were updated in July 2019. That means we can’t quite rule out the DigiTimes report entirely.

Whatever the case, it would be worth keeping an eye on the moves Apple makes during this year’s third quarter. You never know, the next generation of MacBook Pro laptops may be here before you know it.

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