New Apple Leak Reveals Disappointing Delay For New MacBook


Apple changed the conversation around the Mac with the launch of its Apple Silicon chips. The first of those machines, the MacBook Air, is due to be updated this year. But fans of Apple’s consumer laptop may have to wait longer than they might have hoped.

Apple’s ‘early year’ event has traditionally been focused on the education space and products not in the ‘front line’ in the public’s mind. Over the years notable product launchers have indulged the two generations of iPhone SE, the iMac, and various iPads.

2022 looks to be in a similar vein. The third-generation iPhone SE – which disappointingly is going to retain the design language of 2014’s iPhone 6 – will take the lead in terms of smartphones. No doubt the iPad Pro fans will think their new release should be in the lead, especially if the rumors of a move to the same Mxx processor and MagSafe enabled charging, both key parts of the new Mac platform.

It is the Mac platform that will have the most action. Following last year’s release of the ‘entry-level’ iMacs, the more powerful desktop computer is expected to launch with the updated M1 Pro and M1 Max chipsets seen in the highest specced MacBook Pro laptops. Also on the desk, the Mac Mini may well see a move up to these faster M1-based processors as well.

The latter is perhaps the most interesting. Given the launch of the M1 Mac Mini in October 2020, that implies an 18-month update cycle for the standalone desktop box. There has been a lot of discussion on the MacBook platform, specifically the MacBook Air, also having an 18-month update cycle. Is that now likely?

Speculation on a MacBook Air this spring is not as strong as the aforementioned products. There’s some sense in that. WWDC in June will no doubt update MacOS, with a developer beta not long after and a public release in September October… just in time for the traditional Mac event in late October.

If Apple waits until the back quarter of the year, it leaves the current MacBook Air – the Air that was once the future – stuck with the slowest M chip, the older MacBook design with fewer ports and functionality, and tired specs outside of the chipset. With the MacBook Pro striding forwards, the Air looks out of sorts.

This approach would create a notable difference in specs between the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro… something that was barely there when the first ARM-powered Airs and Pros were launched. At that point the only real differences was the extra cooling offered by the Pro over the Air which created the performance difference. With the new MacBook Pro laptops sporting M1 Max and M1 Pro chipsets, there is now a clear difference.

Of course with so performance already available from the M1, does the average consumer need the extra power afforded by the Pro? Apple has made the case that no, there’s more than enough oomph even in the lowest specced Air.

Apple holding back the MacBook Air’s radical redesign, as well as keeping it on older specs, makes wonderful marketing sense. Let’s see if delivering the best experience possible to the customer, as quickly as possible, trumps that.

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