New MacBooks will launch next month. Here’s what we expect | Digital Trends
Apple regularly launches new products in March, and it looks like this year will be no different. We don’t have a specific date yet, but it’s been reported that numerous new Macs and iPads are rumored to launch in just a few weeks’ time, with a bunch of enticing changes reportedly heading our way.
If you’re in the market for a new MacBook, March could be a great time to pick one of the new releases up. Here’s what we’re expecting to steal the limelight.
The headline Mac expected to be unveiled in March is the MacBook Air. Right now, this is the only Apple laptop that doesn’t come with Apple’s M3 chip, after the MacBook Pro made the leap last year. The MacBook Air will only reportedly get the entry-level M3, and while it’s not as notable an upgrade as the M3 Pro or M3 Max, its GPU improvements are still impressive. The M3 MacBook Air upgrade might not be worth it for a lot of people, but if you plan on doing some light gaming, you’ll probably be intrigued by it.
While the M3 brought a few modest improvements to CPU performance, its biggest gains came to graphics. This chip is the first made by Apple to include hardware-accelerated ray tracing and mesh shading, which makes for a noticeable improvement on the rendering of lighting, shadows and more. That’s helped the MacBook Pro become a genuine gaming laptop, and while the change will be less pronounced in the MacBook Air (since it’s not expected to get the more powerful M3 Pro or M3 Max), it should still help put it ahead of the M2 MacBook Air.
The M3 series of chips have also brought Wi-Fi 6E support in place of the older Wi-Fi 6. Other than that, though, don’t expect too much more – the MacBook Air’s design is likely to stay the same, as is its display. But if you’re after more performance (particularly for gaming), the M3 chip alone could be worth the price of admission.
Apple most recently updated the 13-inch MacBook Air and the 15-inch MacBook Air at different times due to delays in the latter model’s production. This time, both are expected to get the M3 at the same time, in March. Going forward, we’d expect them to receive further updates together, just like the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro.
The MacBook Air is the only Mac that we’d say is highly likely to appear in March. However, it’s also possible that the Mac mini will make an appearance. That’s because it was last updated in January 2023 and will have gone over a year without any changes by the time we hit March. Worse, if the MacBook Air gets the M3 chip this spring and the Mac mini doesn’t, it will be the only consumer Mac still stuck on the M2 chip.
Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has said the M3 Mac mini is in development but hasn’t shed much more light on the device than that, including its release date. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, meanwhile, has stated that the device is likely to keep the same design as the current M2 model.
On the inside, we’d expect the Mac mini to get the M3 Pro chip, as well as the M3, simply because the existing model comes with the M2 and M2 Pro. With the higher-end M3 Pro, the Mac mini’s graphical and gaming abilities should see a sizeable uptick.
Despite the possibility of a new Mac mini showing up in March, it’s far from a certainty. With just a few weeks to go and no reputable sources claiming it will definitely appear, it’s probably safer to assume we won’t see it until later in the year.
There’s plenty that we expect to see in March, but there are a few products that, for one reason or another, are unlikely to show up.
First off, don’t bet on Apple unveiling new MacBook Pro models. Despite the probable appearance of the MacBook Air, Apple’s Pro laptops were last updated in October 2023. That puts less than half a year between that refresh and the expected March event. We wouldn’t expect to see a new MacBook Pro until fall 2024 at the earliest, likely aligned with a presumed M4 chip.
That time frame should hold true for the iMac as well, which was also upgraded in October 2023. We had to wait two-and-a-half years between that edition and its predecessor, so there could be another long wait until it’s upgraded again.
Finally, what about the Mac Studio and Mac Pro? We’ve heard plenty of talk recently that Apple is working on updates to both of these Macs, with Gurman arguing that they’re on track for a 2024 launch — specifically, Gurman believes the Mac Studio is coming in June and the Mac Pro will follow later in the year. Unfortunately, that puts them out of reach of a March event. But we shouldn’t be too surprised since they were last updated in June 2023, and a year will almost certainly be the minimum gap between updates.