Rumors surrounding a larger MacBook Air have been circulating for several months. Now, reputable display industry analyst Ross Young reports that Apple has started production of the same model, and they will launch this upcoming model as soon as “early April.”
This will be big news for MacBook Air fans who have always wanted a larger display at a lower price, but did you know that wouldn’t be the first time that Apple offered a larger model in its lower-end laptop lineup? Back in May 2001, Apple debuted the white polycarbonate iBook that replaced the fun, but bulky clamshell design. It was a huge improvement over the previous generation since it was significantly thinner and lighter than the model it replaced. It was only offered at 12.1 inches with a resolution of 1024×768. Fast forward to January 2002, Apple added another model that had a larger display at 14.1 inches, but instead of increasing the resolution, it kept the same resolution as that of the smaller 12.1-inch model. Therefore, interface elements such as icons would appear larger instead of seeing more of the page content at once. Back then, the 12.1-inch model started at $1,199 (MSRP), and the 14.1-inch model was priced above the 12.1-inch at $1,799 (MSRP). Apple had offered both of these sizes until they announced the MacBook with a widescreen 13.3-inch display in 2006, simplifying the size options to one.
Since the introduction of the MacBook Air in 2008, Apple had offered only one screen size at 13.3-inches until October 2010 when Apple redesigned the Air and offered the 13.3-inch and the smaller 11.6-inch display with a 16:9 aspect ratio instead of the more standard 16:10 found in other MacBooks. The smaller model had stuck around for years until October 2016 when Apple went back to offering only one display size at 13.3 inches since then.
Now that Apple has redesigned the MacBook Air once again last year, and they have moved almost all of their Macs to Apple Silicon, it looks like this is a great opportunity for Apple to revamp its MacBook lineup with the potential of a larger MacBook Air. The upcoming 15-inch laptop will most likely have a higher resolution than that of the existing 13-inch Air. Logically, it would be priced higher than the standard MacBook Air, but it would sit below the 14-inch MacBook Pro. A previous report from Ming-Chi Kuo indicated that this model could feature both the M2 and M2 Pro chip options. With that said, Apple could brand this laptop as just the “MacBook,” and it would sit between the MacBook Air at the lower end and the MacBook Pro at the higher end. Additionally, the more powerful M2 Pro chip would require an active-cooling system to keep the laptop from overheating, so it’s plausible that Apple would differentiate that model from the MacBook Air with its fanless design. On the contrary, if nothing else is substantially different between this model and the 13-inch Air, Apple could simplify the lineup with just the MacBook Air (13″/15″) and MacBook Pro (14″/16″).
Still, it’s still very exciting to see which features Apple is going to put into the upcoming 15-inch model. Currently, you would have to step up to the 16-inch MacBook Pro if you want a larger display, which is obviously the most expensive option out there. With that said, the upcoming laptop is going to be the most ideal balance between portability, power, and price, and it’s definitely going to attract customers who are considering buying ultralight 15-inch laptops such as the Surface Laptop that Microsoft has offered for years.
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