Good news: UPS found and delivered my 16-inch MacBook Pro!
As you’d expect, I’ll be providing some more detailed thoughts on this beast of a machine very soon. But here’s a little spoiler for you: it’s bloody amazing.
I need to run a test or two, but the sheer size of that screen and the ridiculous amount of headroom nestled within the specced-up M1 Max chip I opted for makes the 16-inch MacBook Pro an absolute dream for creators like myself. It really is what we’ve been waiting for.
But I’m more excited about something else. And it ends with ‘Air’.
I’ve changed my mind
The next-generation MacBook Air has been rumoured for ages. In fact, looking back, I last wrote about it in May, when rumours surrounding the predicted refresh of Apple’s most accessible laptop were reaching fever-pitch.
This was all thanks to – you guessed it – Jon Prosser, who suggested we would soon be seeing a new, colourful line of MacBook Airs.
Clearly, I was sceptical at the time of the article. “I really wasn’t expecting to see an updated MacBook Air for a while,” I said, before dutifully retracting my buying advice about the current M1 version. That was a mistake. Prosser’s prediction turned out to be wildly misjudged, and so began a trail of similarly inaccurate leaks which have resulted in a questionable year for a guy who’s previous ‘success’ now seems rather short-lived.
In my original article, I also suggested that, “the MacBook Air is a brilliant case of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.
Now that I have my hands on the redesigned MacBook Pro, I need to retract that statement, too.
What are the M2 MacBook Air rumours?
The rumours surrounding the next iteration of the MacBook Air haven’t developed that much over the last few months. But what has happened since Prosser revealed his renders earlier this year is the release of the new MacBook Pro.
With these new machines now filtering into our lives, we at least now have a degree of guidance on where the next MacBook Air might be headed. Indeed, it’s fair to assume that the new design language and some of the features adopted by Apple for the MacBook Pro line will filter through to its thinnest laptop.
Starting with the design, it’s almost certain that the current MacBook Air will be the last with the famous tapered design. In its place, expect a thinner version of the chunky new MacBook Pro chassis. It’ll almost definitely receive a notch, too, which is unquestionably a massive non-event on the MacBook Pro and nothing to worry about at all.
I highly doubt we’ll see ProMotion on the next MacBook Air if the iPhone and iPad lineups are anything to go by; Apple is clearly reserving that for their Pro products. But that’s fine; it’s curiously unnoticeable on the MacBook Pro.
Oh, and the bezels probably are going to be white. Sorry. Although, that has zero impact on the enjoyment of the brilliant new iMac, so I wouldn’t get too angry about it.
The MacBook Air’s keyboard will probably get the same treatment as the MacBook Pro by gaining that lovely new black backdrop. Although it’s fair to assume that the function keys will remain half-height in order to preserve the size of the trackpad.
The joyful return of MagSafe will surely make its way to the new MacBook Air, too, along with a 1080p webcam. But I wouldn’t expect an abundance of ports or an SD card reader; we’ll almost certainly only be ‘treated’ to a couple of Thunderbolt ports, as before. When it comes to connectivity, anything above that is what separates the Air from the Pro.
But one of the biggest changes will, of course, be the new chip, which is widely expected to be given the moniker ‘M2’. Expect the same eight CPU cores as the M1, albeit clocked a little faster, and with even better battery life. The biggest upgrade will likely reside with the GPU, which should see a significant boost in the number of cores available from its current 7- and 8-core variants. As for unified memory, I wouldn’t expect anything beyond 16GB.
Besides the new chip, the biggest play on the new MacBook Air will be colours. We’ll probably see the same colour palette as the 24” iMac, possibly with a few MacBook Air-only shades thrown in for good measure. And, weirdly, this is the thing I’m most excited about.
Imagine a white MacBook Air.
I’m salivating already.
What is it about the MacBook Air?
I absolutely love the look of the new MacBook Pro. It is chunky, purposeful, and elicits an almost unfathomable amount of nostalgia.
However, now that I’ve had my hands on both the 14-inch and 16-inch versions, I can confidently say that the ‘smaller’ version looks and feels better.
The 16-inch is, as noted earlier, an absolute beast. But that’s also it’s Achilles heel. For a great many people, it’ll be far too big and heavy. Indeed, I have no intention of carrying that thing around regularly; it’s designed to be a movable video and audio editing rig that I can transport to and from my studio to ensure I can always keep on top of my content production process, no matter where I am.
But for everything else, I’ll still turn to my M1 MacBook Air.
The reason is simple: it’s light, powerful, and just the right size. That’s always been the MacBook Air’s crowning glory – the ability to combine every element of the perfect laptop. The impact the M1 chip has had on both performance and battery stamina has simply made it the gold standard of such a device.
Throw in new colours, a next-generation of M-series computing power, and a ‘mini-chunk’ design, and, well, you’ve got me hook, line, and sinker, Tim.
Should you buy an M1 MacBook Air now?
Regular readers will know that I’ll always put my hands up and admit where I’ve made a mistake, and one of the most embarrassing (beyond my suggestion earlier this year that Apple should abandon the Apple TV) was the little flurry of MacBook Air buying advice I decided to undertake after falling for Prosser’s refresh rumours.
That was silly. But I’ve learned my lesson, and my buying advice for this kind of thing will now remain consistent – I promise.
If you want or need a MacBook Air now – buy one. Apple hasn’t – and never will – give us any kind of indication as to when the refreshed version of a product will appear. Nor will we have any idea what it’ll be like, top-to-bottom, until it physically hits the shelves.
For all the exciting rumours about new colours, faster chips, and the return of MagSafe, we have no idea what the next MacBook Air is actually going to be like. What if there’s a feature missing, or a new direction taken that doesn’t sit well with you? What if it turns out to be more expensive than the current version?
Second-guessing Apple will always be a fool’s game.
I love my M1 MacBook Air and it still feels as snappy as the day I purchased it. If I wasn’t in the business of providing Mac buying advice, I’d have absolutely no reason to upgrade it for the next two or three years. It’s why it remains one of the best products within Apple’s line-up and still a great buy today. Don’t hold back.
Main image credit: Jon Prosser
My feeling about the notch… if it has a mini-LED screen, it’ll have black bezels and a notch. I think those three elements will go together, so that when you go full-screen with something, especially playing video content or games, it disappears completely.
Otherwise it’ll be 16:10 non-mini-led, white bezels about as big as they are now, and therefore no notch. And this will be cheaper to make (because not mini-led). So it probably depends on the price point they want to hit.
Ideally of course we’d have the choice, at checkout… seems a reasonable visible marker of a higher-end Air, maybe filling the gap we presume to be left by the 13″ M1 MBP.
At least I hope so, because yeah, I’ve got a MBP and that black notch just *vanishes* in use, even more so with a darker top region of background image (am just using the default new MBP background, no special measures), but the white notch seen in the renders is unutterably ugly.
Hey Mark!! Thanks for including your experience. Well said about the aspects of M2 MacBook Air & MacBook Pro. Your article will be helpful for people who are planning to buy a MacBook Air/MacBook Pro. Excellent share!!
[…] a new one on the way. It’ll have an M2 in it. A new design. A better screen. Maybe even a notch. Ooh, and new colours, […]
I don’t think they will go with a M 2 chip as it will be overkill. Upgrade to the M1 Pro I would think.