Updated March 7: article originally published March 4
The launch of the MacBook Pro M2 Pro and M2 Max, joining the MacBook Air M2, completed the macOS laptop portfolio, moving from the M1 architecture to the M2 architecture. Those looking for something bigger have no choice but to upgrade to the MacBook Pro, even though they don’t need the excessive power and performance of Pro laptops.
That should change as Apple prepares a better option for consumers than the MacBook Pro.
Update: Sunday, March 5: Writing for Bloomberg’s Power On newsletter, Mark Gurman sheds light on the ongoing debate within Apple. Should the next MacBook Air stick with the M2 chipset and allow the bigger screen to be the main selling point, or should it follow the previous one and also bundle a more expensive Apple Silicon:
“But the chip for the new MacBook Air models is a little less clear. If these machines launch in a few months with the M2 chip, they will quickly become obsolete. A 15-inch MacBook Air with an M2 chip can still excite consumers, but a new 13-inch MacBook Air M2 probably won’t be convincing.”
The chip choice is reminiscent of the old days of the MacBook when the option of a bigger screen was only available if you bought a machine with more power. Will Apple go ahead and raise the price of the new MacBook Air due to chipset choice?
Update: Tuesday, March 7: Apple’s move to a larger MacBook Air may well be tied to the next-gen M3 chip. While the idea of an aaa M2-powered MacBook Air with a bigger screen fits nicely in the wallet right now, Tim Cook and his team could have moved on and are ready to launch the new laptop. 15 inches with the new silicon.
Filipe Esposito Highlights a new report exploring this option:
“In the past, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said that Apple may launch the 15-inch MacBook Air powered by the M2 and M2 Pro chips in ‘early April’. However, our sources say the 15-inch model will receive the same entry-level M3 chip as the new 13” MacBook Air. The chip will have an 8-core processor, just like M1 and M2.
One of the benefits of launching with new silicon is the higher price justification. There may not be a 15-inch MacBook Air to compare right now, but the price is easily identifiable in the current lineup. It remains to be seen where it would fit price-wise with a suite of M3-powered laptops… if Apple keeps the M2 laptops, we might be looking at a higher price on top of an already higher price for macOS laptop from base.
Back in the days of Intel, there was a natural hierarchy in the MacBook portfolio. Light and thin meant less processing power but more convenience. It was the place of the MacBook Air. As you demanded more power, you claimed the MacBook Pro’s wallet, bigger, bulkier, with better thermal options and, of course, more expensive.
Apple Silicon has turned all that upside down. The launch of the M1-powered MacBook Air offered more power than the Intel MacBook Pro of the time by a noticeable margin. The prosumer-level Mac owner no longer had to lean into larger, more expensive laptops, as the MacBook Air had more than enough for the amount of rendering and software development needed by the avid hobbyist or to a small business owner.
When it comes to the MacBook Pro, the M1 Pro and M1 Max pushed the performance envelope higher, and the M2 Pro and M2 Max built on that. Pro laptops have workstation-like power and performance. While some will continue to buy the MacBook Pro due to the status of the “Pro” name (and perhaps old habits from Intel’s days), those who really need the MacBook Pro make up a smaller portion of MacBook’s addressable audience.
The launch of the next-generation M2 chipset has increased the flexibility of MacBook Air to a level never seen before. In an instant, the MacBook Air became suitable for countless users (the less said about the 13-inch MacBook Pro M2, the better).
All that’s missing from this mix is something Apple’s loyal macOS users have repeatedly asked for…a MacBook Air with a larger screen to match the options available on Windows hardware.
The long-awaited bigger Air is on its way. Displays were ordered, certifications were sought and production lines started. At some point in the next few months – in all likelihood before the augmented reality festival that will be WWDC 2023 – Apple will deliver a 15-inch MacBook Air with power that would rival the fastest and most expensive MacBook Pro on the market. era of Intel. old.
It will hit the sweet spot of performance, size and price. This is the laptop you’ve been waiting for.
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