The next-generation MacBook Air refresh coming in 2022 will see Apple introduce the biggest design update to the MacBook Air since 2010, which is when Apple introduced both 11 and 13-inch models. We're expecting a total overhaul of the look of the machine, and this guide aggregates all of the rumors that we've heard about the update so far.
Apple is doing away with the wedge-shaped design of the MacBook Air, and there will be no tapered look for the next-generation version. Current MacBook Air models are thicker at the back and then taper to a thinner design at the front, but Apple will instead transition to a more MacBook Pro-like design with a uniform shape.
The next MacBook Air will be thinner and lighter than the current version, and it is expected to adopt design elements from both the MacBook Pro and the 24-inch iMac. Rumors indicate that the machine will feature slim off-white bezels and a matching off-white keyboard, with the chassis coming in multiple iMac-like colors.
Apple released the iMac in blue, green, pink, silver, yellow, orange, and purple, and we could see some of the same color options made available for the MacBook Air. This makes sense because the MacBook Air is a fun entry-level machine much like the 24-inch iMac and the colors will set it apart from the higher-end silver and space gray MacBook Pro models.
Apple introduced a mini-LED display with the MacBook Pro, and the MacBook Air could potentially adopt the same technology, though it's up in the air based on rumors. Display analyst Ross Young says that the MacBook Air will continue to use an LCD display, with Apple reserving mini-LED for more expensive Pro models.
We do not yet know if the display will feature a notch like the MacBook Pro, but it could happen if the bezels are thin enough. That said, a notch might be more noticeable in an off-white color, so Apple may decide not to include one.
The MacBook Air is expected to continue to have a size around 13 inches, but it could be 13.6 inches in size, up from 13.3 inches.
Leaker Dylandkt has claimed that Apple may once again be planning to drop the "Air" moniker, reverting to the standalone "MacBook" name. It's not clear if this will happen, but it is a possibility as Apple did the same thing in the past with the launch of the now-discontinued 12-inch MacBook. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said that a future 2023 15-inch MacBook modeled after the 13-inch MacBook Air could drop the "Air" moniker, so there could soon be a return to the "MacBook" line.
The MacBook Air's keyboard is expected to be similar to the MacBook Pro keyboard with full-size function keys. With the MacBook Pro, Apple made the entire keyboard black, including the space below the keys. Apple could perhaps do the same thing for the MacBook Air, only in white.
The next-generation MacBook Air is expected to have the same 1080p camera that's used in the MacBook Pro. It's an improvement over the current 720p camera and enhanced with the image signal processor in Apple's chips, but it isn't as good as the camera quality available from iPhones and iPads.
While the MacBook Air will feature multiple USB-C/Thunderbolt ports, it is not expected to adopt an SD card slot or an HDMI port, with those options remaining limited to the MacBook Pro to set the two machines apart.
M2 Apple Silicon Chip
Most rumors have suggested that Apple is working on a new "M2" chip for the MacBook Air. The M2 won't be as powerful as the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips that are used in the 2021 MacBook Pro models, but it will be an upgraded version of the lower-power M1 chip.
The M2 chip is expected to feature the same number of computing cores as the M1 (eight), but it is expected to feature speed improvements that make it marginally faster. It could also have improved graphics with nine or 10 GPU cores, up from seven or eight in the current M1 MacBook Air.
Though we've heard several rumors about the M2 coming to the next MacBook Air, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said that Apple could instead continue to use the M1 chip for the new machine, but a modified version that's more powerful. Other sources disagree with Kuo.
Leaker Jon Prosser, who has something of a mixed track record when it comes to predicting Apple's plans, has created renderings of the new MacBook Air in a variety of iMac-like colors.
We're expecting the MacBook Air to launch in 2022, but a firm timeline has not yet been established. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo expects mass production to begin in the late second quarter or early third quarter, suggesting a launch sometime around September, while Bloomberg has suggested the new MacBook Air will come later this year in the fall.
Given Apple's past Mac release history, if the fall timeline is accurate, we could see the MacBook Air come out at an October event that follows the initial September iPhone event.
Apple is already testing a MacBook Air with the M2 chip inside ahead of the machine's launch later this year.
Future MacBook Air Rumors
Rumors suggest that Apple is working on a 15.2-inch MacBook Air model that is set to come out in 2023, though it might not use the "Air" name. The machine will presumably feature a design similar to the 2022 13.6-inch MacBook Air.