Apple has even bigger plans for the MacBook Air after unveiling a redesigned model at WWDC earlier this week. According to a Bloomberg report citing unnamed sources, the Cupertino tech company will release a 15-inch MacBook Air next year alongside a new 12-inch laptop, its first take on the concept since the 12-inch MacBook was discontinued in 2019.
The 15-inch model would adopt the same design as the new 13.6-inch MacBook Air, which did away with the wedge-shaped chassis for a more traditional flat appearance. It would also be slightly thinner than before. If Apple goes forward with these rumored plans, it would mark the first time ever that the Air comes in a 15-inch variant. Previously, the MacBook Air was available in 11-inch and 13-inch versions.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is that rumored 12-inch laptop. If that sounds familiar, it’s because Apple used to sell a 12-inch MacBook, which was its most portable macOS system yet. However, a single USB-C port, an unreliable Butterfly keyboard, and limited performance were too much to overcome, and Apple discontinued the model after a four-year run.
Apple’s latest M-series processors could bring luck to this ill-fated form factor. Not only is the M2 (or even M1) chip many times faster than the Intel Core M processors used in the original model, but the custom silicon should enable longer battery life while allowing for a fanless design. What Apple will do about the port situation is anyone’s guess (get your dongles ready!). According to the report, Apple is planning to launch the 12-inch laptop at the end of next year or in early 2024.
Apple was previously rumored to be prepping a 15-inch MacBook Air for this year but, according to Bloomberg, it abandoned those plans to focus on the new 13.6-inch model.
Coming as less of a surprise is Apple’s intention to release new high-end MacBook Pro models with M2 Pro and M2 Max chips next year or in early 2023. These upcoming systems won’t be much different from the current model, and will likely be refreshed in a similar manner as the MacBook Pro 13. Moving on to tablets, Apple is reportedly preparing to announce a larger iPad Pro next year and 11-inch and 12.9-inch versions later this year.
I’m curious how this will all play out. One could argue that the current MacBook Pro 13 doesn’t hold up well to the new MacBook Air; despite costing more, the Pro hasn’t received the same modern updates as the entry-level counterpart. Add an even larger Air to the mix and it’s hard to justify the Pro 13, especially if this 15-inch MacBook Air has a fan for sustained performance. In any case, it’s an exciting time to be an Apple fan now that the company is bringing some significant enhancements to its reshuffled laptop portfolio.