Skip to main content

Why the MacBook Air is still stuck on the M2

Apple's 15-inch MacBook Air placed on a desk.
Luke Larsen / Digital Trends

Apple just did something surprising. At its “Scary Fast” launch event, Apple announced a new chip, the M3.

But rather than introduce it in a MacBook Air like it did with the M1 and M2, this event was all about the MacBook Pro. The MacBook Air was inconspicuously missing.

It’s made even stranger considering the M2 MacBook Air was announced over a year ago, back at WWDC 2022. While it’s still a great laptop, it may end up being two full years before it gets bumped to the M3. I won’t pretend to know what Apple plans to do next with the MacBook Air, but it’s certainly interesting that Apple has left it out this time around.

Prime Day Focus
These Razer Blade Prime Day deals really pack a punch [in gaming power]
Anker SOLIX Prime Day deals: This shopping guide highlights the best discounts
Send it! This HoverAir X1 Drone can capture your adventures and it's $120 off
Secretlab Prime Day deals: Build your ideal work-from-home or gaming station

But there’s one important reason for Apple’s delay of the M3 13-inch MacBook Air: the company came out with another MacBook Air just this June. The 15-inch MacBook Air. This larger MacBook Air had the M2 too and has only been out in the wild for a few months by now. It would be far too early for Apple to update the 15-inch MacBook Air already.

It would also be strange for Apple to bring the more powerful M3 chip to the 13-inch MacBook Air and leave the 15-inch model stuck on the M2. So yeah, it’s not hard to see that Apple might want to update these two laptops at the same time in the future, in the same way it does the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro. That’ll make sense in the future, but for now, it means the M3 chip is for the “Pro” devices only.

Saving the M3 for the MacBook Pro also helps Apple further distinguish its Pro line from the Air. The company announced a new 14-inch MacBook Pro with only the M3 inside (to replace the old 13-inch MacBook Pro). And as we’ve seen in the past, M3 performance between the MacBook Air and Pro aren’t significant. But now that you’ll need to wait at least a number of months before the MacBook Air gets bumped to the M3, there’s an easier sell between the two brands in Apple’s Mac lineup.

Luke Larsen
Luke Larsen is the Senior editor of computing, managing all content covering laptops, monitors, PC hardware, Macs, and more.
MacOS Sequoia release date: Here’s when your Mac will get the update
macOS 15 features.

During Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2024 keynote, we got our first look at the latest macOS version, macOS 15 -- otherwise known as Sequoia.

The update is bringing the exciting new customization features from iPadOS 18 and iOS 18, as well as iPhone mirroring, iPhone notifications, window tiling, Safari updates, and a new password app. Plus, a load of these features will be powered by the new Apple Intelligence.

Read more
How the new iPad Pro is changing everything for the MacBook
M4 iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard.

iPad Pro (M4) Nadeem Sarwar / Digital Trends

If Apple products from the last decade are known for anything, it’s for being incredibly thin and light. Now, almost five years to the day since former head designer Jony Ive left Apple, his obsession for weightlessness looks set to come roaring back at the company that once employed him.

Read more
Apple just brought the M1 MacBook Air back from the dead
The gold MacBook Air M1's logo and keyboard.

Apple finally stopped selling the M1 MacBook Air earlier this year. With a price cut to the M2 MacBook Air and the introduction of the M3, I was finally ready to stop recommending it as well.

But fast forward to this week's WWDC announcements, and suddenly the M1 MacBook Air just got a whole lot more attractive. That's thanks to the new Apple Intelligence features rolling out back multiple generations, all the way to the M1 Macs.
M1 MacBook comes back to life

Read more