Rumored M3 MacBook Pro could be rushed out as Apple’s solution to flagging Mac sales

MacBook Pro 14-inch (2023) in a studio with lid partially closed showing Apple logo
(Image credit: Future)

Apple could be about to launch a MacBook Pro with an M3 chip inside, although if this laptop does arrive, stock might be thin on the ground to begin with.

That’s the word from Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst and heavyweight Apple leaker, who has just changed tune very rapidly regarding the possibility of the M3 silicon turning up this year.

Previously Kuo held the line that the MacBook Pro M3 was not going to turn up this year, and was something Apple had scheduled for 2024.

But fresh tweets from the analyst have reversed course on that prediction, after Apple announced its October event with the tagline ‘scary fast’ which seems to heavily suggest a reveal of the M3 in a Mac of some kind.

As you can see in the above post on X (formerly Twitter), Kuo now thinks a MacBook Pro M3 will be what the launch event is built around, noting that his previous forecast was based on the limited shipment numbers Apple would be able to muster for the notebook in Q4 of this year.

So, as Kuo states, if the M3-powered MacBook Pro arrives on shelves in November or December, stock will be tight, and demand will probably be pretty strong at launch time.

Kuo further explains in another tweet (again, see above) that this pushing out of the MacBook Pro M3 has rather been forced on Apple, due to the slump in Mac sales – something widely reported on throughout this year – which is due partly to disappointment around the strength of the M2 upgrade, the analyst theorizes.

The M3 should provide more pep in terms of a step forward with performance, we’re told, and Apple is feeling the heat, and the need to get that chip out there. Even if the situation isn’t ideal in terms of the production capacity that can be leveraged for a new MacBook Pro with the next-gen CPU.

MacBook Pro 16-inch (2023) in use in a studio

(Image credit: Future)

Analysis: Trouble ahead for would-be buyers in the short-term?

What does this mean in practical terms? Well, if the MacBook Pro M3 does get released this year – and remember, even if the M3 is coming later in 2023, we could see it in another device, like an iMac – you might have difficulty buying one, and especially getting the one you want. Some laptop models may sell out faster than others depending on where the main thrust of demand lies, based on how Apple pitches specs and pricing, as ever.

In short, the reality may be that for many folks, the MacBook Pro M3 might not be available until 2024, even if technically it is launched in the remainder of this year.

You probably haven’t missed that there are some folks on X making comments about Kuo being wrong here – reversing that forecast of the MacBook Pro M3 not debuting until 2024 – and questioning why we should listen to this latest prediction.

Well, to be fair to the analyst, Kuo does give the reasoning for his ‘wrongness’ here – that Apple really shouldn’t be launching the MacBook Pro M3 this year, given production capacity, but the firm is being effectively forced to. That makes sense, but we should take this fresh assertion with seasoning, of course. (And followers of the Apple rumor world will doubtless be adding a bit more salt to Kuo’s forecast in the short term, no doubt).

What’s also interesting is the hints dropped about Apple’s future plans by Kuo in that second tweet. If sales aren’t buoyed by this purported M3-toting MacBook, then we’re more likely to see Apple introduce an all-new MacBook Pro in 2025.

Kuo theorizes that Apple ‘may consider’ a more affordable MacBook to help sales climb out of the doldrums, but that’s couched in rather uncertain terms, so requires even more skepticism than normally applied to rumors.

There’s no denying it makes sense, though, as an obvious way of sparking sales, though traditionally the terms ‘affordable’ and ‘MacBook’ don’t go together very well – but if a radical change is needed, who knows what we might see. Much of that decision may depend on where the financial robustness of consumers and cost of living issues are headed, mind.

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Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).