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Apple M3 MacBook Air 2024 update: What to expect

by Julie Clover

Apple refreshed its MacBook Pro line with M3 chips late last year, but the MacBook Air has yet to be updated with the new hardware. That could change as early as the end of March: there are rumors that an iPad and Mac event is in the works.


We're expecting new versions of the ‌MacBook Air‌, and this guide tells you everything we know about the upcoming machines.

Size and design

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As of last year ‌MacBook Air‌ Available in two sizes instead of one. Apple releases 13.6-inch MacBook Air‌ and the 15.3-inch MacBook Air‌, so consumers can choose between portability and screen size.

Apple is set to update both versions of the ‌MacBook Air‌. Appearance ‌MacBook Air‌ Last updated in June 2022, there are no rumors of design changes this time. Apple will continue to use the same slim, MacBook Pro-style design it introduced in 2022, with a full-size black Magic Keyboard, a large Force Touch trackpad, two USB-C ports, Touch ID, Thunderbolt charging, a thin edge-to-edge display, and an aluminum body. . chassis.

The only difference between the two models in terms of design is the size of the display.

Currently ‌MacBook Air‌ Available in Silver, Space Grey, Starlight and Midnight (a new dark blue color). We could see three standard colors and one more special color or a completely new color line.

Updated M3 chip

Since no design changes are planned, chip upgrades will be the focus of the update. Current version of ‌MacBook Air‌ models use the previous generation M2 chip, while Apple plans to update the machines with the M3 chip, which was first introduced in the MacBook Pro.

The M3 chip is created using Apple's next-generation 3-nanometer process technology, which essentially means it delivers better performance and power efficiency than the 5nm ‌M2‌ processor. For comparison, the M3 chip has 25 billion transistors, compared to 20 billion in ‌M2‌.

CPU tests show the M3 to be about 17 percent faster than ‌M2‌ when it comes to single-core tasks, and 21 percent faster on multi-core tasks. GPU performance has increased by about 15 percent, but there are other GPU improvements that significantly improve the performance of the M3 chip.

The M3 chip has a new GPU architecture that uses dynamic caching, which essentially means that tasks use the exact amount of memory they need and adapt in real time to maximize utilization. The result is improved performance for GPU-intensive applications and games.

For games and 3D programs, the M3 chip supports hardware-accelerated ray tracing and mesh shading. Hardware ray tracing is faster than software ray tracing, so any game or application that uses ray tracing will perform better. Complex lighting effects won't take up as much system resources, resulting in faster rendering.

It's worth noting that almost all Mac games don't support ray tracing, so games will benefit from this feature in the future, not right away. The speed of completing 3D tasks in applications such as Blender will be increased.

The M3 chip has a new media engine that supports AV1 decoding. AV1 is a video codec that streaming platforms use for higher quality, low bitrate video content. AV1 is becoming increasingly popular for 4K and 8K video, and AV1 decoding is another good upcoming feature that can be used even for those who don't need it now.

Other updates

Next ‌MacBook Air‌ models will likely get Wi-Fi 6E support, allowing them to connect to the 6GHz Wi-Fi band offered by compatible 6GHz routers. It's likely that battery life will improve with the upgrade to M3 chip technology.

Is it worth upgrading?

If you have ‌M2‌ ‌MacBook Air‌, there will be no point in upgrading to the M3 version, since the improvements are not noticeable enough. You won't see any changes in design, and while the M3 is better, it's not that much better.

Most people who have an M1 chip might not want to upgrade either, but with &zwnj you can get more of the benefits of ;M1‌ up to M3 upgrade both in characteristics and design. ‌M1‌ machines used the previous ‌MacBook Air‌ design, so upgrading to the M3 will give you a sleek new look.

For those using an older ‌MacBook Air‌ based on Intel processor; or another Intel-based computer, the M3 will be a radical improvement.

Launch date

We expect to see the new M3 ‌MacBook Air‌ the models were unveiled sometime in March or April, and signs now point to a late-March launch. We don't have details about Apple's potential event yet, but we should hear more in the next few weeks.

Related review: MacBook Air Buyer's Guide: 13-inch MacBook Air (don't buy), 15-inch MacBook Air Forum ( do not buy) Similar: MacBook Air126 comments

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