The New MacBook Air’s Upgrades May Be Mostly Shell Deep

The New MacBook Air’s Upgrades May Be Mostly Shell Deep
Image: Apple

Going into Apple’s “Peek performance” event on Tuesday, we hoped — however unlikely it was — that Apple would debut a new MacBook Pro and MacBook Air to replace the products released back in 2020. Alas, when Time Cook walked off the virtual stage, no laptop had been revealed. Instead, we got a new iPhone SE, iPad Air, Mac Studio (running the M1 Ultra chip), and Studio Display monitor.

So, what’s going on with Apple’s notebooks? According to reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (via 9to5Mac), the next MacBook Air will go into mass production in late Q2 or Q3 of this year. Even more interesting are some of the bold claims he made about the 13-inch laptop.

Starting with the good news: Kuo says the MacBook Air will be redesigned with an “all-new” form factor and more colour options. What exactly that might look like remains a mystery; it’s hard to envision what sort of changes Apple could make to this sleek laptop. It could possibly trim down the bezels even further and introduce a notch (we nope not), or perhaps re-sculpt the edges and corners.

An “all-new form factor design” suggests a move away from a standard clamshell. However, there are no indications of Apple pursuing a 2-in-1 design or something similar. The company is supposedly considering making a foldable iPad/MacBook hybrid, but that device isn’t expected to arrive for another few years — if it does at all.

Apple has long held firm on selling its Mac products in stuffy silver and grey finishes but recently opened its eyes with the iMac, which is available in seven colourful hues. If the next MacBook Air matches the iMac, as past rumours have suggested, it could be available in green, blue, yellow, orange, pink, purple, and silver.

As for the not-so-good news, Kuo says the MacBook Pro will continue to run on Apple’s M1 processor instead of being upgraded to the much-anticipated M2. Interestingly, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman previously reported that the redesigned MacBook Air would run on an M2 chip. I wouldn’t leave out the possibility of an upgraded M1 (I shiver to think about what Apple would name it).

Whatever the case, it’s easy to see why Apple would forgo equipping the MacBook Air with an M2. As it stands, not much separates the MacBook Air from the MacBook Pro 13: they run on the same processor, have 13-inch panels, and even share the same port selection. Reserving the M2 for the Pro would give it room to breathe and bring it closer to parity with the other “Pro” models. That said, according to Kuo and Gurman, neither the Air nor Pro are expected to receive the mini-LED displays found on the MacBook Pro 14 and 16.