New MacBook Air Models Launching Next Year: 5 Features to Expect

The existing 15-inch MacBook Air arrived in June 2023, which is not that long ago in terms of Mac update cycles. However, Apple released the current 13-inch ‌MacBook Air back in June 2022. It is now the oldest Mac in Apple's current crop, having not been updated in over 500 days. But that may not be true for long.

M3 MacBook Air Feature
According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, Apple has new 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Air models in development, and both are said to be scheduled for release around March 2024.

According to Gurman, Apple is developing the Macs alongside macOS 14.3, an update that is expected between the end of January and February, but new hardware may ship around the March timeframe. Here are five new features that we expect both models to include.

M3 Chip

Apple's base M3 chip will very likely feature in new MacBook Air models. The M3 chip is expected to have similar CPU and GPU core counts as the M2 chip in the current 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Airs, but its 3-nanometer architecture is much more powerful.

M3 Chip Apple Event Slide
Based on third-party benchmarks taken from the 14-inch M3 MacBook Pro, the M3 chip has single-core and multi-core scores of around 3,000 and 11,700, respectively. The standard M2 chip in the existing MacBook Air has single-core and multi-core scores of around 2,600 and 9,700, respectively, so the M3 chip is up to 20% faster than the M2 chip, which is what Apple claims.

Hardware Ray Tracing

Apple's M3 chip includes hardware-accelerated ray tracing, significantly boosting the speed of what is a complex and usually resource-intensive rendering process. Ray tracing models the properties of light as it interacts with a scene, allowing apps to create extremely realistic and physically accurate images.

raytracing m3
Games that use ray tracing should see frame rate improvements on the next MacBook Air models, but the biggest impact of this technology will be seen when using software designed for ray tracing production rendering, such as Blender or Cinema4D.

In ray tracing production, the M3 family of chips have shown performance improvements up to 2.5x the speed compared to the M1 generation of Apple silicon. The use of ray tracing in games is therefore expected to increase over time, but it's worth noting that the M3's new shader architecture already enhances performance in many games.

AV1 Decode

AV1 is an open standard video codec used by streaming services that is designed to deliver more efficient video compression, resulting in smaller file sizes and higher visual quality. If you own an iPhone 15 Pro, you already have a device that supports it.

av1 decode m3
Apple's M3 family of chips features a new media engine that also includes support for AV1 decode, which should provide a notable improvement in your viewing experience when streaming and downloading video content on your Mac. Not only does AV1 decoding conserve bandwidth, it also offers more power-efficient playback of streaming services to further extend battery life.

Dynamic Caching

The M3 chip features Dynamic Caching that, unlike traditional GPUs, allocates the use of local memory in hardware in real time. With Dynamic Caching, only the exact amount of memory needed is used for each task.

dynamic caching m3
The process of Dynamic Caching is transparent to developers, and the cornerstone of Apple's new GPU architecture. Apple says it dramatically increases the average utilization of the GPU, which significantly increases performance for demanding pro apps and games.

Wi-Fi 6E

Wi-Fi 6 operates on the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, while Wi-Fi 6E also works over the 6GHz band for increased bandwidth. This means it can operate at faster wireless speeds, with lower latency and less signal interference, so long as a supported device is connected to a Wi-Fi 6E router.

tp link archer ax96 wifi 6e router
Wi-Fi 6E can also handle more simultaneous connections without a decrease in performance, making it ideal for environments with many connected devices, such as smart homes and modern offices. Apart from the MacBook Air models in Apple's existing lineup, all of Apple's Macs now support Wi-Fi 6E, which suggests we can expect it in the next-generation MacBook Air models, too.

Related Roundup: MacBook Air
Related Forum: MacBook Air

Popular Stories

iOS 17

iOS 17.2 Will Add These 12 New Features to Your iPhone

Friday December 1, 2023 12:19 pm PST by
iOS 17.2 has been in beta testing for over a month, and it should be released to all users in a few more weeks. The software update includes many new features and changes for iPhones, including the dozen that we have highlighted below. iOS 17.2 is expected to be released to the public in mid-December. To learn about even more features coming in the update, check out our full list. Journal ...
iOS 16 4 Web Push

Apple Confirms Governments Using Push Notifications to Surveil Users

Wednesday December 6, 2023 5:06 am PST by
Unidentified governments are surveilling smartphone users by tracking push notifications that move through Google's and Apple's servers, a US senator warned on Wednesday (via Reuters). In a letter to the Department of Justice, Senator Ron Wyden said foreign officials were demanding the data from the tech giants to track smartphones. The traffic flowing from apps that send push notifications...
airpods pro 2 pink

Apple Releases New AirPods Pro 2 Firmware

Tuesday December 5, 2023 11:28 am PST by
Apple today released new firmware update for both the Lightning and USB-C versions of the AirPods Pro 2. The new firmware is version 6B34, up from the 6B32 firmware introduced in November. Apple does not provide details on what features might be included in the refreshed firmware beyond "bug fixes and other improvements," so it is unclear what's new in the update, but prior software releases ...
magsafe blue 2

iOS 17.2 Brings Qi2 Support to iPhone 13 and iPhone 14 Models

Tuesday December 5, 2023 11:04 am PST by
The iOS 17.2 update that Apple is set to release to the public in the near future will bring support for the next-generation Qi2 wireless charging standard to the iPhone 13 and iPhone 14 models. Qi2 was mentioned in the release notes for the RC version of the update that came out today. With the addition of support for the new standard, iPhone 13 and iPhone 14 models will work with Qi2...
Beyond iPhone 13 Better Blue

'All-Screen' iPhone Under-Display Camera Enters Development

Wednesday December 6, 2023 2:03 am PST by
Apple's Korean suppliers have begun developing smartphone under-display cameras (UDC), paving the way for the first iPhone with a true "all-screen" appearance. According to The Elec, LG Innotek has entered the preliminary development of the UDC, which sits under the display and does not result in a visible hole in the panel when the camera is not in use. A UDC differs from a typical front ...
iphone se 4 modified flag edges

iPhone SE 4 May Reuse Existing iPhone 14 Battery

Wednesday December 6, 2023 1:17 pm PST by
Recently, MacRumors has received details on the battery currently being tested on the upcoming fourth-generation iPhone SE, and the information corroborates previous findings in relation to the device. The iPhone SE 4, known by its device identifier D59, is expected to use the exact same battery found in the base model iPhone 14. Partially assembled prototypes of the next iPhone SE have been ...
airpods pro bulbs

Black Friday Prices Return for AirPods Pro 2 With USB-C, iPad, and More

Tuesday December 5, 2023 7:30 am PST by
Today we're tracking a collection of deals that are matching - or nearly matching - the same all-time low discounts we saw during Black Friday. This includes the AirPods Pro 2 with USB-C, 9th generation iPad, and M1 MacBook Air. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the ...
instagram messenger

Instagram and Facebook Messenger Chats to Disconnect This Month

Tuesday December 5, 2023 1:57 am PST by
Meta has revealed plans to end Instagram users' ability to chat with Facebook accounts later this month, rolling back a feature that it introduced over three years ago. In September 2020, Meta (then Facebook) announced it was merging its Facebook Messenger service with Instagram direct messaging, allowing Instagram users to chat with Facebook users and vice versa using the same platform....