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What is the Apple M3 chip?

Apple’s WWDC 2023 has arrived, with the worldwide developer conference happening later today. Some initial rumours pointed towards the debut of an Apple M3 chip but they’ve been largely quelled. So, when’s it coming now, and what exactly is the new Apple chipset?

The launch of the Apple M1 chip was a seismic one, introducing Apple Silicon to the world, bringing powerful performance and efficient power into one package. Then, Apple M2 arrived. This time, a big change wasn’t promised and it was indeed an iterative one, but still produced some excellent devices in the form of the MacBook Air M2 (2022) and MacBook Pro (2023).

With WWDC upon us, many rumours have exploded and fizzled out. There were notions that the M3 chip could debut this year, but it’s looking like the event will stick with M2 series-powered devices for now, with M3 coming further down the line now. Here’s everything we know.

What is the Apple M3?

The next generation of chips from the Cupertino-based technology company is set to be called Apple M3.

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.

Apple Silicon first appeared in 2020, with the M1 series hitting the shelves. Since then, Apple has showcased thin-and-light devices that don’t sacrifice power and manage to offer long battery life. The latest M2 chips came in the form of the M2 Pro and M2 Max. The chips gave a solid boost to the MacBook Pro but didn’t represent a huge generational leap. The M2 range could continue to expand before we see the M3, with an M2 Ultra, potentially on a Mac Studio (2023).

Full details of the Apple M3 chip are yet to be revealed, with no announcement yet from Apple themselves. When the chipset will also debut is also unclear but some information has emerged to give us a rough idea.

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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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