OPINION: It’s an age-old question that’s only become more poignant as product life cycles have become shorter and new releases more frequent: “Should I buy the new device now, or wait for the new version?” With the new 15-inch MacBook Air, the answer is wait.
Apple’s WWDC is now behind us and a new MacBook Air was revealed. This time it was a simple addition, with the 13-inch MacBook Air taking one of Hank Pym’s particles that turns Ant-Man into Giant-Man, but to a more timid degree. It’s almost as simple as the larger MacBook Air having a bigger screen, up from 13.6-inch to 15.3-inch, with the display resolution mostly aligning as well as battery life claims being the same.
The only other key differences are the price and two extra speakers on the 15-inch model. But, all of this is irrelevant, as you shouldn’t buy the 15-inch MacBook Air right now. It all comes down to the M2 and the looming spectre of the next-generation M3 chip.
The Apple MacBook Air M2 is a stellar laptop, receiving a 4.5-star review, and I’m sure the 15-inch will be just as good, barring any surprising hiccups, as well as serving those who’d like a larger canvas to get your work done. But, there is little the 15-inch Air could’ve done to justify a purchase of it right now – other than if you absolutely need a laptop now and you absolutely can’t wait.
If you can wait, it seems likely there will be a new M3-powered MacBook Air coming down the line in early 2024, if not as early as the end of 2023, according to Bloomberg. Now, if you’re up on your Apple products or have read our reviews of Macs sporting the M2 chip (as you should have), you may be thinking that the jump from M1, M1 Pro and M1 Max to M2, M2 Pro and M2 Max was largely iterative and, consequently, wondering why it’s worth waiting for an M3 MacBook Air.
2022 M2 MacBook Pro Deal
The M2 MacBook Pro is super fast and super powered, but that hasn’t stopped Amazon from slapping the device with a hefty price cut.
- Was £1349
- Now £1175
It’s worth waiting for because the M3 isn’t expected to be iterative, it’s expected to be a significant step forward. The change is expected as the Apple Silicon Mac chips are expected to move from a 5nm manufacturing process down to a 3nm one. This should represent another increase in performance and efficiency, unlike the transition between M1 and M2 that saw Apple stick with 5nm.
A veteran of the Apple beat, Mark Gurman of Bloomberg, provided some insight into the kind of power boost we can expect when the transition to M3 begins. The comparisons made were for an eventual M3 Pro chip, but the difference still demonstrates what the M2 to M3 shift could mean.
Gurman touted that an M3 Pro, which is currently in testing, is set to sport a 12-core CPU, with six high-performance cores and six power-efficient cores, an 18-core GPU and 36GB of unified memory. This is up from a 10-core CPU (six high-performance, four power-efficient), 16-core GPU and 32GB of unified memory on the M2 Pro.
It’s increasingly shocking how many cores Apple is managing to put on these chips, with the additional cores for M3 likely only enabled by the new 3nm process. The change in cores is comparable with the move up from M2 to M3 but, with the new technology being implanted, you can expect to see faster processing speeds alongside the boosted core count.
I can’t predict exactly how much performance or battery life this will add to the MacBook Air, as well as what new features it will enable. But, if you nab your new M2 MacBook Air now, don’t say I didn’t warn you if you feel like that nagging regret in your stomach when a shiny new M3 MacBook Air drops in less than a year’s time.