Sources have begun to doubt Apple will unveil its realityOS and AR/VR headset at next week’s Worldwide Developers Conference, but some folks still believe a colorful new MacBook Air could still be in the offing.
Whether or not Apple rolls out a new version of its slimmest laptop at WWDC22, here’s what you should expect to see soon enough, from the latest rumors to new renders by concept artist Darvik Patel.
At WWDC22 or beyond, see what’s in store for the next MacBook Air
Colors, colors, colors
Patel’s renders show the new MacBook Air in purple, orange, blue, red, yellow, green and silver/gray. Cupertino’s official names might not track perfectly with those. For example, the newest iPad Air comes in Space Gray, Starlight, Pink, Blue and Purple.
Speculation has also suggested a new MacBook Air might go along, color-wise, with the 24-inch iMac. It comes in blue, green, pink, silver, yellow, orange and purple.
In any case, Apple has a history of using bright colors on its non-Pro models, so it seems likely in the new MacBook Air.
The MacBook Air has been been Apple’s thinnest notebook since October 2010. Its tapered design goes from thicker at the back to thinner at the front.
But the new MacBook Air might look much more like a slimmed-down version of the MacBook Pro. That would give it rounded edges on the bottom and squared-off edges on the top.
Rumors also suggest the new version will be even thinner and lighter, with slimmer borders around the display than the current one.
White keyboard and bezels
Speculation has said the MacBook Air will take after the 24-inch iMac, with off-white bezels around the display and a matching off-white keyboard (as Patel’s renders and others show).
Apple adopted an all-black well for the MacBook Pro keyboard. Some prognosticators suggest an all-white variation is coming for the MacBook Air. If that comes to pass, you have to wonder if Apple would make it the only option or not.
Because Apple adopted full-size function keys on its latest MacBook Pro models, it may bring the look to the MacBook Air, too.
Many people got quite a surprise last year when the new MacBook Pro showed up with a notch at top center of the screen for the camera.
Rumors suggest the MacBook Air will have the same notch. Except this time it will be in white, matching the bezels and keyboard, naturally.
Whether a notch in that color fires up a new notch controversy a la iPhone remains to be seen. It hasn’t been a big deal on MacBook Pro because the black notch effectively disappears from view full-screen mode, which turns the menu bar black.
What will happen if it’s a white notch with MacBook Air?
Slightly bigger LCD display
Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSCC) analyst Ross Young said the 2022 MacBook Air will feature a display size of 13.6-inches. That would make it 0.3-inches larger than the current MacBook Air, but still 0.6-inches smaller than the current 14.2-inch MacBook Pro.
Young has also said the new MacBook Air will lack a mini-LED display or ProMotion technology. Others have said it may at least get a mini-LED display, but Young contends Apple will skip it to maintain a lower price point.
M1 or M2 processor
Earlier this year, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said the 2022 MacBook Air will retain the M1 chip rather rather than using a new M2 processor. Meanwhile, ShrimpApplePro has asserted Apple is working on the “final SoC of M1 series,” featuring updated cores. That could mean the slim laptop gets a new version of the entry-level M1 chip.
Going with an update of the standard M1 chip might buy Apple some time before releasing Macs with the M2 chip next year. That’s when TSMC’s more advanced N3 fabrication process comes into play.
The latest MacBook Pro models got a 1080p webcam for the first time. With the 27-inch iMac, 24-inch iMac, and the high-end MacBook Pro now featuring a 1080p webcam, it seems likely the MacBook Air will get one, too.
The redesigned MacBook Pro models also saw the return of Apple’s popular MagSafe charging connector.
Mark Gurman of Bloomberg has said MagSafe is also coming to the MacBook Air, in addition to a pair of Thunderbolt/USB4 ports for connecting external devices.
Patel’s renders show all of the above, though not the SD card slot or HDMI port found on the latest MacBook Pro models.
Will new MacBook Air debut at WWDC?
There’s no telling for sure if Apple will unveil the new MacBook Air at WWDC22. It could decide to wait until supply-chain issues ease. And whether it sticks with the $999 starting price is another question.
However, existing MacBook Air models are the only regular M1 Mac line in the Apple Store experiencing shipping delays right now, as Gurman tweeted Tuesday. That’s sometimes an indication the company’s about to launch a new model.