Apple M3 chip rumors shouldn’t put you off buying an M2 Pro MacBook

MacBook Pro 14-inch (2023) in a studio with screen showing website
(Image credit: Future)

With Apple’s WWDC 2023 event on the horizon, there’s been a flurry of rumors around a new M3 chip that will likely power the next generation of Macs and MacBooks. But, if you’re thinking about buying a current MacBook or MacBook Pro, I wouldn’t let those rumors put you off.

The M3 chip is pretty much guaranteed at some point due to the success of the M1 chip and the critical acclaim that followed the launch of the M2 chip (and the M2 Pro and M2 Max). However, I’m doubtful we’ll see it as early as WWDC 2023, which kicks off on June 5.

In the latest batch of rumors published on Bloomberg by well-known Apple leaker Mark Gurman, it’s suggested that Apple is in the process of testing M3-powered MacBooks to make sure software and apps work correctly on the new hardware, including the upcoming macOS 14 operating system.

According to Gurman, who has a decent track record with reliable Apple leaks, one of the chips being tested is supposedly the M3 Pro, which will come with 12 CPU cores, 18 graphics cores, and 36GB of unified memory.

This would be a decent bump in core counts – compared to the current M2 Pro chip, which starts with 10 CPU cores, 16 graphics cores and 32GB of memory – and would be built using a new 3-nanometer process to cram those extra cores onto the chip.

Should you hold off buying a MacBook?

This new leak, if true, may lead some people to reconsider buying a MacBook or Mac in the near future. With the added costs of the M2 Pro and M2 Max, would it make more sense to wait for the M3 Pro and M3 Max instead?

I don’t think so. For a start, if you’re going to always hold out for the latest release in fear that whatever you buy will be one day outdated, then you’re never going to buy tech again, frankly. It’s just as likely that the M3 will one day be replaced by the M4 at some point.

If you’re holding on for the M3 or M3 Pro, you may be waiting a little while anyway. If the chip is being tested, don’t expect it too soon, and Gurman himself suggests that any M3-equipped Mac or MacBook won’t arrive until the end of 2023, with the M3 Pro (and we can assume M3 Max) landing in 2024.

The most persuasive rumors so far about WWDC involve a new 15-inch MacBook Air, which will apparently be powered by the M2 chip. I expect that any other Macs or MacBooks announced in a few weeks’ time will also be powered by the M2 chip, or one of its variants.

So, not only will you probably have to wait a while for an M3 Mac or MacBook, but you’ll also have to sit through some potentially tempting launches of more M2 devices. Sure, you might have the willpower to do that, but why deprive yourself?

In the end, the M2 chip, as well as the M2 Pro and M2 Ultra, remains incredibly powerful. And, even when the M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Ultra inevitably launch, it won’t make the M2 generation obsolete. So, fancy a new MacBook? Go for it, I say.

Matt Hanson
Managing Editor, Core Tech

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made.