Apple’s new MacBook Pro laptops are among the most powerful portable macOS devices that Tim Cook’s teams have released. Developers and creatives find that the performance on offer is welcome, but not everyone needs this level of performance.
Those looking for something more than the M1-powered MacBook Air may not be comfortable with the eye-popping prices of the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro laptops, and the 13-inch MacBook Pro packs more compromises. So if the answer isn’t the MacBook Pro, what is?
It’s actually the MacBook Air. Specifically, it’s the MacBook Air that Apple is expected to launch later this year.
Now we have another source confirming the launch date of the MacBook Air, with a new report from Digitimes highlighting increased supply chain demand pointing to a new MacBook Air being prepared later in the year. MacRumor’s Joe Rossignol reports:
“…hot sales of the MacBook Pro, released in late 2021, have dragged on into the first quarter of 2022, with higher-than-expected shipping volumes, and the new MacBook Air, due to launch in the second half of the year, is expected to continue Bring sales impulses .”
Alongside the Mac Mini and the awkwardly positioned entry-level MacBook Pro, the 2020 MacBook Air was Apple’s first Mac hardware to ship with its ARM-based Apple Silicon chipset. This M1 chip ran more efficiently, at a lower temperature and with more processing power than the equivalent Intel chips.
That unlocked the potential of the MacBook Air, and for many, the newly updated ultraportable was more than enough MacBook for what they needed a laptop for.
Since then, Apple has improved the base M1 chip for the refreshed iMac, new Mac Studio, and redesigned premium MacBook Pro laptops. For all the benefits the vanilla M1 chipset has, it’s definitely showing its age now that it’s approaching the two-year mark.
With a new MacBook Air comes the likelihood of a new chipset. While the jury is out on whether Apple plans to launch the M2 family with the MacBook Air or use one of the upgraded chipsets it’s been using to offer more performance on the MacBook Air, not so much that it wants to see the more expensive Macs in the portfolio obsolete . In any case, there will be a performance leap for MacBook Air owners by the end of the year.
Waiting has other benefits as well. As the first of the ARM-based Macs, many of the problems discovered in this architecture were found in the MacBook Air. This knowledge will have driven the updates in newer Mac hardware. But anyone who buys the older hardware will still have the systemic bugs and issues baked in. Why make that choice when you can wait and pick up the new hardware with a range of hardware and software fixes?
You also get the new design language of the MacBook.
The 2020 MacBook Air has retained as much of the look and feel of the Intel-based MacBooks as possible. It provided continuity. With the arrival of the high-end MacBook Pro laptops in late 2021, which sported both a new look and some major hardware updates around the display and especially the I/O ports, the existing MacBook Air design is unchanged weak.
Finally there is fashion. This new design is also meant to reflect the iMac’s move to pastel colors. Along with the more angular design, this could be the biggest and most welcome change to Apple’s consumer laptops in years.
Compared to the rest of Apple’s portfolio, the MacBook Air looks tired and ready to be replaced. Luckily it will be soon. Apple will address a number of small issues and trifles in the package; better ports and hardware in the laptop body; and the elusive appeal of more colors to create a fashionable and personable experience. There are plenty of good reasons to wait with the currently weary MacBook Air and wait for the massive upgrade coming later this year.
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