Apple could soon put an M3 chip in its worst laptop

Apple’s MacBook range is full of great laptops, but the 13-inch MacBook Pro really doesn’t feel like it belongs. Still, a new report claims Apple will update that device with an M3 chip later this year rather than simply kill it.

The news comes from 9to5Mac, and the website says sources have confirmed the 13-inch MacBook Pro is getting a refresh with a new M3 chip, possibly at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June.

Why is this a mind-boggling move? Well, right now, the 13-inch MacBook Pro is Apple’s least attractive laptop. You get the same performance as the M2 MacBook Air, but you pay $100 more for the privilege. It has bigger bezels, a worse webcam, and just generally feels outdated compared to Apple’s other MacBooks.

Equipping the 13-inch MacBook Pro with an M3 chip won’t change that, as Apple is expected to update the MacBook Air to also get the same chip. While the M3 will be a next-generation upgrade thanks to its use of a 3-nanometer manufacturing process, putting the M3 in either laptop will strip the 13-inch MacBook Pro of any meaningful advantage — and keep it an unappealing option for buyers.

Revealingly, the 9to5Mac report claims that Apple even considered dropping the “Pro” part of the name of the 13-inch MacBook Pro, but ultimately decided against it. That suggests that even Apple knows its laptop isn’t a true pro-level device, which doesn’t bode well.

Much more on the horizon

A MacBook Pro 13-inch is partially open on a table.

The report also touched on other topics, including noting that Apple is working on a 15-inch MacBook Air in addition to a 13-inch model, both of which will ship with the M3 chip. These devices will be announced together, possibly at WWDC.

Interestingly, 9to5Mac says the M3 chip is the only choice for these laptops, meaning there are no M3 Pro or M3 Max options. There has been speculation that the 15-inch MacBook Air could ship with a higher-end chip, but this latest report suggests that won’t be the case. That’s not too surprising, since those high-end chips probably need a fan to keep them cool, and the MacBook Air was designed without a fan.

The report follows claims by Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman that a slew of new Macs are in the works, including 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Airs, a new iMac and a refreshed Mac Pro. Gurman’s report didn’t mention the 13-inch MacBook Pro, so it doesn’t seem like there’s a consensus on that device yet.

With WWDC only a few months away, it won’t be long before we find out if Apple decided to keep the 13-inch MacBook Pro in the lineup or ditch it eventually. While the M3 chip could improve its performance significantly, Apple will have to do a lot more to convince everyone that it’s a laptop worth buying.

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