Apple expected to deliver MacBook Air refresh next week


The late-2018 MacBook Air with Retina display.
Magic Keyboard on the way?
Photo: Apple

Apple will deliver a refreshed MacBook Air next week, according to a Friday report citing an anonymous tipster.

It could be the second notebook to pick up Appe’s new and improved Magic Keyboard, first introduced with the 16-inch MacBook Pro last fall. They are also likely to offer faster Intel chips and other improvements.

“Apple plans to announce new MacBook Air models next week,” reports MacRumors, citing an anonymous tipster that has been semi-reliable in the past. “We have yet to confirm this information, but given the tipster now has an established track record, we have elected to share this rumor.”

Today’s MacBook Air lineup still ships with the buttefly keys almost every Apple fan loves to hate. They’ve been plagued with problems since their debut, forcing Apple to offer free repair programs. The new Magic Keyboard is much better, but it’s exclusive to the 16-inch MacBook Pro for now. That could change next week.

New MacBook Air incoming

Reliable TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reported on Wednesday that Apple plans to introduce a new MacBook Air (and MacBook Pro) during the second quarter of 2020. One source now claims an announcement is right around the corner.

The same source last March claimed that Apple would announce iPad, iMac, and iPod models over three consecutive days. That information was partly correct. Apple did announce a new iPad Air and iPad mini on Monday, March 19, followed by a refreshed iMac on Tuesday, March 19. But Wednesday, March 20, brought new AirPods — not a new iPod.

Given that it might be easy to confuse “AirPods” with “iPod,” and the claims were accurate aside from that, it seems there is reason to believe the source is familiar with Apple’s plans. Sadly, they don’t tell us what we can expect from the next-generation MacBook Air, however. All we have for now is a rough release date.

What to expect

There’s no word on when we might see a new 13-inch MacBook Pro, either. Kuo expects the device to also arrive in the second quarter, but unlike a new MacBook Air, it doesn’t seem imminent at this point.

We can make some sensible guesses about what the new MacBook Air will bring. In addition to a Magic Keyboard, it’s likely Apple will add newer, more powerful Intel Core i5 processors. We could also see improved speakers and microphones — another improvement made with the 16-inch MacBook Pro.

There’s a slight possibility we will see other products in the coming weeks as well. Apple had planned a March event to announce iPhone SE 2 and other new devices, but that had to be scrapped due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. If — and it’s a big if — some of those products are ready to go, Apple could drop those in a surprise press release, too.