New MacBooks and iPads are ‘Deep in Production’ and Should Arrive in March

MacBook Air and iPad open on table with keyboards Credit: Daniel Romero
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Apple’s new Vision Pro headset is set to land in stores this Friday, but that’s likely just the tip of the iceberg for what the company has planned for us in the next few weeks.

We’ve heard rumors of an action-packed March event since early December, and it looks like Apple is still on track to make that happen. As Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman shares in this week’s edition of his Power On newsletter, at least some of Apple’s flagship products are “already deep in production overseas” and ready to “come out around the end of March.”

Specifically, this list includes Apple’s 13-inch M3 MacBook Air and the new M3-powered OLED iPad Pro, which Gurman says represents the ”biggest revamp ever” of Apple’s flagship tablet.

Gurman’s end-of-March estimate is slightly more optimistic than the April timeline we heard earlier this month, but it’s close enough that we can split the difference. Apple will likely hold a March event to show off the new products and announce pre-orders that same week; whether the products ship by the end of March or at the beginning of April is a subtler point. Either way, here’s what we can expect to see.

The M3 OLED iPad Pro

While it’s almost certain the 2024 iPad Pro lineup will get an OLED screen and an M3 chip, there are still a few question marks on what else we can expect.

Not to disparage an OLED screen, which is a pretty significant upgrade that would be a first for anything larger than a Max-sized iPhone, but Gurman’s optimism about it being a huge revamp suggests we’ll see something more. An M3 chip is table stakes for the next-generation iPad, but there have also been rumors of a landscape camera similar to what Apple did with the 10th-generation iPad in 2022, plus MagSafe or Qi2 charging that might even support reverse-wireless.

Significantly, code found in the first iOS 17.4 beta not only strongly hints at the landscape camera but also references a new Magic Keyboard for iPad and Apple Pencil. The Magic Keyboard may be nothing more than an update to match the physical dimensions of the new models — the larger iPad Pro is expected to increase to an even 13-inch display — but a third-generation Apple Pencil is an intriguing idea that we’ve been hearing rumors about for years.

The iPad Air in Two Sizes

One possible reason Apple may be moving to a 13-inch iPad Pro is to make room for another significant change to its lineup: A larger iPad Air.

Last year, reports of a 12.9-inch iPad Air began circulating, and while they were initially confused for the iPad Pro, the presence of an LCD screen meant that they must have been referring to a different tablet. As those started to gel, it became clear that Apple was looking to produce a lower-cost version of its largest iPad Pro.

The current iPad Air comes in at 10.9 inches to the 11-inch iPad Pro, so presumably, Apple wants to make the same distinction on the plus-sized model, with a 12.9-inch iPad Air alongside the new 13-inch iPad Pro. Don’t expect anything too groundbreaking here, though; other than a likely bump to an M2 chip, the new iPad Air is said to have mostly the same specs as the current model, although the 12.9-inch version will undoubtedly be welcome for those who don’t want to pay laptop prices for a larger tablet.

The M3 MacBook Air

Although Apple surprised us with a 15-inch MacBook Air last year, it’s been nearly two years since the company refreshed its more popular 13-inch model, and it was a bit of a surprise when it unveiled its M3 chips in October without a MacBook Air along for the ride.

Instead, October brought us a new MacBook Pro lineup, with the 13-inch Touch Bar-equipped MacBook Pro riding off into the sunset, to be replaced by a plain-old-M3 14-inch model that otherwise shared the same design and specs as its pricier M3 Pro and M3 Max siblings. The only other Mac to get an M3 chip was the 24-inch iMac, which had skipped the M2 entirely.

Of course, Apple had just released a 15-inch MacBook Air with the M2 chip, so upgrading the MacBook Air lineup last fall would have put it in the problematic position of refreshing the 15-inch MacBook Air with an M3 chip only four months later or skipping it entirely and leaving it behind on the M2 chip. Neither seemed like a particularly good idea, but by the time March rolls around, the 15-inch MacBook Air will have been on the market for nine months, allowing Apple to bring the entire lineup into M3 territory — and hopefully keep it in lockstep when the time for an M4 arrives in 2025.

According to Gurman’s sources, only the 13-inch MacBook Air has started mass production. However, that’s more likely a reflection of the lower demand for the 15-inch model than any sign that it will be delayed, as Gurman still predicts that both the 13- and 15-inch MacBook Air models will appear in March.

[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]

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