You know I recently mentioned that I’d taken a break from Apple rumours?
Well, I’ve fallen off the wagon, and it’s that guy and his missing eyebrows’ fault again.
Check out this tweet from Mr Prosser:
These are, we’re led to believe, images of the forthcoming MacBook Air refresh. They’re hot on the heels of reports a week ago that the next version of Apple’s razor-thin laptop will follow in the footsteps of the new iMac and come in a variety of colours.
I immediately want one. But I’m also now wondering what on earth is going to happen next with Apple’s laptops.
I wasn’t expecting a new MacBook Air… yet
I recently offered some advice on which M1 Mac you should buy at this moment in time, and it appears I’ve potentially been rather short-sighted with one of my recommendations.
That particular buying guide gave me the opportunity to gush – again – about how wonderful the M1 MacBook Air is. Because it really is. But, more importantly, I suggested that it was a good buy right now because “I don’t think we’ll see a meaningful update for at least a year – maybe longer”.
If Prosser’s rumoured MacBook Air update is to be believed (and it looks pretty convincing), then I need to retract my advice.
I really wasn’t expecting to see an updated MacBook Air for a while. The design remains timeless, and the addition of the M1 chip delivers more power than most users of this particular MacBook will ever need.
The MacBook Air is a brilliant case of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.
But, then, it’s not very colourful, is it? And with Apple’s rediscovered love for pastel-coloured devices (it all started with the superb new iPad Air), the MacBook Air would stand out like a sore thumb if it only remained available in the rather dour colour choices of silver or space grey.
This was always going to happen, wasn’t it? I just didn’t think it would be quite so soon.
What to expect from the next MacBook Air
Prosser’s source has apparently told him that an iBook G3-inspired line of colourful MacBook Airs is imminent and that they might be powered by an M2 chip. Although this is all tempered by the fact that the source in question has apparently been “very cryptic”.
Other rumours (yeah, I know – I’m right back in it, aren’t I?) suggest that there’s a thinner, lighter MacBook Air (really?) on the way later this year. But those rumours don’t make any note of multiple colour options.
What confuses me the most with this, however, is the mention of an M2 chip. If that indeed ends up in a MacBook Air refresh this year, what happens to the MacBook Pro line? Does that get a faster version of the M2? Or maybe one with more cores and discrete graphics options?
Or will these laptops once again share the same chip, albeit with active cooling added to the MacBook Pro?
If that happens, what else differentiates the two devices? The colours?
This is a fascinating debate and reveals the double-edged sword Apple has created with its own batch of silicon. It’s both ridiculously powerful and difficult to either pare down or spruce up. You simply get one chip to which you can add a fan or remove a single GPU core. Long gone are the days of significant upgrades in processor clock speeds, the number of cores or even memory options.
The truth, I suspect, will all be revealed at WWDC, where it’s looking increasingly likely that we may be treated to more than just a MacBook Pro refresh.
I’m not going to fall down the “he said, she said” rabbit hole with this, because, despite this embarrassing wobble with my rumours detox, I’m still aware that the whispers from Prosser and chums can get rather tiresome.
But I do think I need to update my buying advice for the MacBook Air… just in case.
Should you buy an M1 MacBook Air now?
No. Given the increasing ferocity of the rumours, I’d hold off.
Something is going on with the MacBook line, and while I’m sceptical about some of the rumours (I’m convinced – or, at least hoping that Apple is going to start differentiating these machines a little more with their M-series chips), buying either the Air or the Pro at this moment in time wouldn’t be the best use of your money.
Buyer’s remorse is a pretty horrible thing. But it’s something that has always been a problem if you’re into Apple stuff. They’re so unpredictable and often brutal when it comes to cannibalising their own products. It’s why I’d recommend holding those pennies just a few more weeks to see what’s announced at WWDC.
The M1 MacBook Air remains the best laptop I’ve owned. But now, I want a red one. Or an orange one. Or maybe a blue one to match my AirPods Max and the imminent arrival of my 24” iMac.
Why do they keep doing this?