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15-inch MacBook Air to feature an M2 chip like the smaller model

Published Feb 15th, 2023 6:50AM EST
2022 MacBook Air Main
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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The 15-inch MacBook Air release date might be closer than we thought. That’s what a fresh set of rumors from separate sources say. In the past few months, reports teased that Apple would launch a larger version of the redesigned 13-inch MacBook Air that dropped last year. Now we hear that launch might be set for the second quarter of the year. Besides that, the 15-inch MacBook Air might feature the same M2 chip that Apple used for the smaller model.

Apple just unveiled the 2023 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models. The Pro laptops pack the M2 Pro and M2 Max system-on-chip (SoC). The next logical chip upgrade for the Mac is the M3 SoC. TSMC has just started mass-producing the 3nm M3 processors. But it’s unlikely the M3 will power the 15-inch MacBook Air if Apple plans to release the laptop in early April.

According to display analyst Ross Young, Apple has started manufacturing the 15.5-inch panels for the new MacBook Air. That points to an early April launch window for the larger MacBook Air. If accurate, this would be less than a year since the 13-inch MacBook Air’s redesign. That’s the laptop that introduced the M2 SoC. Therefore a jump to M3 in early April seems unlikely even for Apple.

After Young, Digitimes (via MacRumors) also published a report claiming that industry sources say the 15-inch MacBook Air is coming in the second quarter of 2023.

Apple revealed the first MacBook Air with M2 at WWDC 2022.
Apple revealed the first MacBook Air with M2 at WWDC 2022. Image source: Apple

“Industry sources said the 15-inch MacBook Air began mass production after the Lunar New Year and is expected to be released in the second quarter,” the report says. The laptop should run on the same M2 chip as the 13-inch MacBook Air.

Puzzlingly, the report says that Apple could update the MacBook Air again with the M3 chip in the second half of 2023. That would be an unusual pace, but it might make some sense. Apple’s M3 might drop a year after the M2 chip, which arrived last July. Then, Apple could move to M3 other Macs and MacBooks, starting with the Air.

There might be one other reason Apple might want the M3 to power more devices this year. Apple might use the SoC for the upcoming mixed reality headset, although we’re just speculating at this point.

What’s certain is that the M3 should be faster and more efficient than the M3. Apple is moving from a 5nm to a 3nm manufacturing process.

Whatever the case, the arrival of the 15-inch MacBook Air should give another boost to Mac sales after the MacBook Pro refresh. The Air continues to be one of Apple’s best-selling Macs. A larger screen size paired with even better battery life might be good reasons to purchase the 15-inch Air over other models.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.