The New M2 MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro Are Still Coming This Fall

MacBook Air Renders 2022 1 Credit: Appley Pro
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Although there was a lot of buzz last month that suggested that Apple was about to introduce an M2 MacBook Pro during last week’s event, those turned out to be red herrings, at best. That doesn’t mean new MacBooks aren’t still in the works, of course.

In fact, there are some reports that Apple already has at least one M2 MacBook ready to go — although more recently it’s begun to sound like that’s a MacBook Air and not a MacBook Pro.

However, it’s not surprising that Apple may be biding its time to release new products when it feels they’ll make the most impact, rather than merely when they’re ready.

It’s also important to keep in mind that “ready” is a relative term. Apple may very well have finished a final design of a new M2 MacBook Air, but that doesn’t mean it’s ready to begin mass production just yet.

Not only does Apple have to book enough capacity within its supply chain factories to make that happen, but it also has to make sure a steady stream of parts is available. There’s a big difference between making one working MacBook and being able to churn them out by the hundreds of thousands that will be required to meet customer demand.

Either way, though, it looks like we won’t have to wait too much longer. While it doesn’t require a lot of clairvoyance to predict that Apple will launch new M2 MacBooks this fall, a report from 9to5Mac is giving us some specifics on what those may look like.

The New MacBook Air

Rumours of an M2 MacBook Air with a big redesign have been floating around since early 2021 — only a few months after the M1 MacBook Air launched. After all, we all knew something better would be coming along eventually, and the biggest debate back then was what the next-generation Apple Silicon chip would be called.

It took some time before sources settled on the “M2”, and while we still can’t be absolutely certain that’s the direction Apple will go in, it seems likely, and it’s as good a working name as any for now.

By last spring, several reliable sources had also suggested Apple was working on a big redesign for the M2 MacBook Air, which would quite likely include new colours. This came on the heels of the colourful 24-inch M1 iMac, so it didn’t seem like too much of a stretch either.

The only thing that remain an open question through all of this was when this elusive new M2 MacBook Air lineup would appear.

The most optimistic rumours said that Apple could have launched them last fall, but few people were holding their breath on that one; Apple wasn’t finished with its M1 Mac family yet, and it would have been premature to introduce a whole new generation of M2 chip alongside the more powerful M1 Pro and M1 Max chips.

A spring 2022 release seemed a bit more plausible, but even though it’s still early in the year, now that this week’s Peek Performance event has come and gone, we’d caution anyone on getting their hopes up for seeing new MacBooks before the fall.

According to 9to5Mac, this is precisely the schedule that Apple is on, with a new M2 MacBook Air, codenamed J413, already in development with the new M2 chip.

It’s still going to be available in only a single version, sources say, so don’t expect Apple to return to the days of multiple sizes for its MacBook Air, and 9to5Mac’s sources don’t appear to have anything to say about the rumours of a redesign.

As we heard recently about the next-gen Mac mini, the folks at 9to5Mac have also gained some insight from their sources on what the M2 chip will be capable of, noting that Apple plans to boost it to a more powerful 10-core GPU. The CPU will remain at eight cores, although it’s fair to assume those cores are going to get faster, more powerful, and even more energy-efficient.

To be clear, as the direct successor to the M1, the M2 is still going to be an entry-level chip. Don’t expect it to stand up against even the M1 Pro, much less the M1 Max or M1 Ultra.

Apple will almost certainly come up with new M2-based versions of those as well, but there’s no word on when those are coming. If Apple follows the M1 playbook, we probably won’t see the Pro/Max/Ultra versions until next year.

Interestingly, the usually reliable Ming-Chi Kuo also said earlier this week that the next MacBook Air would only feature an M1 chip, but 9to5Mac says this isn’t what its reliable sources are saying.

Even though a colourful new MacBook Air design would be a big deal in its own right, it would be very unusual for Apple to release a new MacBook Air lineup with what would by then be a nearly two-year-old processor.

Don’t expect much apart from the M2 and the new design, however. While some have speculated that Apple could move to a mini-LED display on the new MacBook Air, we think that’s extremely unlikely. Not only will Apple prefer to reserve that for its higher-end MacBooks, but it’s not likely it could put a mini-LED display into the MacBook Air while keeping it at an affordable price.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro

Even though a new 13-inch MacBook Pro didn’t launch this month, that doesn’t mean Apple isn’t working on one.

The rumours of such a MacBook came from somewhere. The only reason we were led to believe it was going to happen this soon were supply chain reports that Apple’s partners like Foxconn had kept their factories running at full-tilt through the Lunar New Year, supposedly to produce new 13-inch MacBook Pro computers. While the reports of the productions lines running over the holiday were likely true, in hindsight they were probably cranking out Mac Studios computers and Apple Studio Displays.

However, the 13-inch MacBook Pro isn’t dead just yet, although it could end up losing its “Pro” designation, marking the return to the days when there were three MacBook tiers. Apple is said to be tossing this idea around internally, but it hasn’t come to a decision yet.

As we’ve already heard, the design is expected to remain the same, which may be another reason to drop the “Pro” from the name — it’s always been the odd duck in the MacBook Pro lineup, and now it looks the part, too, thanks to the redesign of its now-larger and more powerful siblings.

Today, the difference can be explained simply because it’s an older model that predates the redesign. If Apple were to release a new 13-inch “MacBook Pro” that looked the same as it does now, it would seem like a really strange fit for a company that prefers to keep its product designs as homogenous as possible.

This is likely why some rumours suggested Apple was going to move the entry-level model to the same design as the 14-inch MacBook Pro, without some of the advanced features like mini-LED ProMotion screens.

While that would certainly make sense, it’s not what we’re hearing, and so we can imagine Apple’s designers and marketing team are probably hotly debating right now exactly what to call this 13-inch M2 MacBook when it launches later this year.

[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]

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