As the MacBook Pro community discovered, skipping the first generation of Apple Silicon powered Pro laptops was the right decision.The critical and commercial acclaim of the recently launched 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro is clear for all to see. Fans of the MacBook Air should pay attention, because they are in a similar position.
The MacBook Air was the first of Apple’s macOS laptops to feature the ARM-based processor, and part of that first wave of renewal.
But the Air was also a machine held back by a mix of nostalgia and pragmatism. Apple was making a huge change to the platform, with new hardware and software, a reliance on emulation layers, and one of the largest disruptions to its Mac family. As such, the decision to not change the actual look or pricing on the laptop was a subtle choice that communicated that “nothing had really changed.”
The same was true of the MacBook Pro launched at the same time in late 2021. Notably its specs were broadly similar to the MacBook Air, and it felt more like “we need something labelled Pro” rather than “lets make a really professional laptop with all these new tools.”
When Apple was ready to launch an “all-new” MacBook Pro, which it did late in 2021, it really was all-new; with a new design language, improved min-LED screen, and of course the uprated M1 processors in the M1 Max and the M1 Pro.
The an “all-new” MacBook Air set to launch in 2022 – with many Apple patchers looking at the de-facto Education Event in late-March early-April as the potential launch date. Just like the next-generation MacBook Pro laptops, the next-generation MacBook Air looks set to be a huge advance on the existing Air.
First up is of course the key selling point of that first Air, the Apple Silicon chipset. 2022’s MacBook Air is set to be the first of any Mac to ship with the presumptively named M2 chip – which looks to be not only faster and more powerful than the M1 chip, but comfortably match if not exceed the M1 Pro and M1 Max in raw specifications… although it may trade some of that potential to run at a lower temperature or offer more power efficient use of the battery.
The new design language with a more angular look, reduced bezel sizes around the screen, and of course that vibrant miniLED should be on offer. And if you take a look at the return of the I/O ports in the MacBook Pro with such delights as an SD Card reader and MagSafe connectivity for power, the flexibility that will surely be offer will elevate the new MacBook Air over the existing choice.
Apple challenged the PC industry to match it when the M1 MacBook Air was launched, and the competition has responded. With the M2 MacBook Air, Apple will show that same industry just how much it can build on the initial success. And that’s surely worth waiting on.