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What is the Apple M3 chip?

Apple is yet to announce the M3 chip, but there is already a lot of excitement surrounding this new era of Apple Silicon.

The Apple M2 range was a solid improvement on the first M1 generation and can now be found in the MacBook Air M2 (2022) and MacBook Pro (2023).

While we don’t know too much about the M3 chip as of yet, the rumours suggest that it will pack a lot more power than the first two generations. Let’s dive into everything we know so far.

What is the Apple M3?

The Apple M3 chip is set to be the next mobile computing series from the Cupertino-based behemoths.

Back in 2020, Apple Silicon burst onto the scene with the M1 and we’ve seen some stellar Mac products using the technology ever since. In 2023, Apple’s latest M2 Pro and M2 Max provided an iterative boost to what went before, still providing great battery life and strong performance – even when not plugged in. Before the year is out, an even more powerful Apple M2 Ultra should emerge too.

For the Apple M3 chip, its launch details are less clear – including which device it will debut on. However, some intriguing information on how we expect it to perform has emerged.

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Release dates and price

As per Mark Gurman and his Apple-focused Power On newsletter, the new Apple M3 chips should arrive late in 2023 or early 2024. Gurman explains that Apple is hard at work on the M3-sporting version of the iMac and MacBook Air. Along with a new 13-inch MacBook Air, a 15-inch model has also been touted.

Apple analyst Min-Chi Kuo (via 9to5Mac) thinks mass production on the M3 will begin in the second half of this year. This suggests that the new chip will debut late this year or in 2024, matching up with Gurman’s predictions.

There’s no information floating around regarding the pricing of new Macs that will feature the fancy new chip but we can look to Apple’s past form for some guidance. Macs tend to either keep the cost the same as the previous generation or introduce a bit of a higher price – particularly when there’s a bigger change in hardware like the M3 chip bump is likely to be.


The upcoming M3 chips are expected to launch on a 3-nanometer process, a massive improvement on the 5nm process featured in the M2 range. The aim of a smaller process is to bring about better efficiency than the previous chips, which should result in better performance and better battery life.

According to The Information, the new chips in the M3 generation will feature up to four dies and this would enable up to a 40-core CPU. This is quite the change from even the higher-performing processor in its current line, the M2 Max – topping out at a 12-core CPU.

In the latest Power On newsletter, Gurman claimed that at least one version of the chip in testing has 12 CPU cores, 18 GPU cores and 36GB of memory. Gurman goes on to say that the CPU is made up of six high-performance cores and 6-efficiency cores, which should allow the chip to take on highly intensive tasks while also preserving power for smaller operations.

This 12-core CPU chip is running in a future high-end MacBook Pro that apparently comes with macOS 14.0. It’s thought that this chip will be the base-level version of what will become the M3 Pro.

That suggests that the rumoured 40-core CPU model could become the M3 Ultra, but until we get any confirmation from Apple, this is all speculation you should take with a grain of salt.

Trusted Take

Even though we don’t know too much about the Apple M3 chip, the fact it will run on a 3nm process suggests that it will have more capabilities than any Apple Silicon chips that came before it. The possibility of a 40-core CPU would open up even more doors in terms of power, although we can expect a massive price hike in response.

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