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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.

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.

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Luke Larsen
Senior Editor, Computing
Luke Larsen is the Senior editor of computing, managing all content covering laptops, monitors, PC hardware, Macs, and more.
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