After launching the redesigned MacBook Air with a 13.6-inch display and M2 processor in the summer of 2022, Apple is said to be working on a new, larger model. According to many reports, Apple is developing a 15-inch Air for the first time, which could be launched in 2023. It is a project with a very long history: as revealed in the documents used in the Apple and Epic court battle, Steve Jobs discussed the MacBook Air 15-inch back in 2007, before the 13-inch MacBook Air was released in 2008.
Update 03/06/23: Mark Gurman claims that the 15-inch MacBook Air will be one of three new Macs coming this spring and summer.
Will there be a 15-inch MacBook Air? latest news
In his March 5 newsletter, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman noted that mass production of the displays is under way and the 15-inch MacBook Air could be announced in March, with a release in April. More on that below.
in tweet On February 13, Ross Young of Display Supply Chain Consultants said that the 15.5-inch panel for the new MacBook Air has gone into production. Given the typical timeframe for such a thing, this points to a launch in early April of 2023.
In our January 2023 Power On post, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman wrote that the 15-inch MacBook Air will be a “big savings boon for the Mac lineup” in 2023. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about the larger MacBook Air: Gurman and others shared details of the device. The Mac laptop that hasn’t been released for quite some time.
Gurman first wrote in January 2021 that Apple had explored the idea of a 15-inch MacBook Air. Gurman’s sources have indicated that Apple wants to introduce this new model in order to increase its laptop market share with more models and more choices for consumers.
Then in March 2022, DSCC CEO Ross Young said that this new 15-inch model would be a variant of the MacBook Air and would not replace the current model.
Following this report, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also tweeted about 15-inch MacBooks, suggesting that this new model could arrive in 2023 and that it may offer an M2 Pro chip. Interestingly, Kuo, unlike Gurman and Young, does not refer to this as a MacBook Air, but rather calls it the MacBook.
15-inch MacBook Air: Release date
Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has suggested for a while that the new MacBook Air could see a launch in the spring of 2023. That could mean a launch in March or April — Apple often holds an event in the spring: like the 24-inch iMac event in 2021. Show analyst says Ross Young said the painting entered production in February, which would indicate a release around early April. Analyst Ming Chi Kuo also notes that the 15-inch MacBook Air will arrive in the second quarter of 2023 or later.
Instead, we could see Apple announce new Macs without an event, and instead issue press releases to announce new products, as it did with iPads in 2022.
Gurman’s March 5 newsletter suggested that a 15-inch MacBook Air with M2 or M2 Pro “could be announced in March (most likely with a glossy website update rather than a live event), with a release in early April.”
Another possibility is that Apple will unveil the new MacBook Air at WWDC 2023 in June. Gurman points out that M2 chips were introduced at WWDC in 2022 and that could mean we’ll see M3 chips at the June event. In this case: “Owning the new MacBook Air sporting an M3 would also make sense from a timing perspective.”
15-inch MacBook Air: Price
To get an idea of how Apple will price the new 15-inch MacBook Air, we can take a look at prices for Apple’s current lineup of Mac laptops.
13-inch MacBook Pro: $1,299 / £1,349 or $1,499 / £1,549.
14-inch M2 Pro MacBook Pro: starts at $1,999 / £2,149
16-inch M2 Pro MacBook Pro: starts at $2,499 / £2,699
Given this line, the first challenge is deciding where to put the new 15-inch MacBook. Assuming it’s a fanless MacBook Air, offering the 15-inch MacBook as a replacement for the 13-inch MacBook Pro makes a lot of sense. If that’s the case, we’d expect prices to be a bit more expensive than what the 13-inch MacBook Pro costs now, so: $1,399 / £1,449 or $1,599 / £1,649.
If it’s more of a high-end model, it could start as low as $1,799, which was the starting price of the original MacBook Air in 2008.
Note that we may see a price hike when new Macs are released. In October 2022, Apple raised iPad prices outside the United States in line with currency fluctuations.
15-inch MacBook Air: Design and Display
When Apple first announced the MacBook Air in 2008, it was only available in a 13-inch model, though an 11-inch model was added in 2010 and discontinued in 2015. So offering two MacBook Air sizes wouldn’t be unprecedented.
And it wouldn’t be the first time Apple has sold a 15-inch laptop. Apple introduced the popular 15-inch PowerBook in 2001 and the 15-inch MacBook Pro in 2006. Apple continued to sell a version of the 15-inch MacBook Pro until it was replaced by the 16-inch MacBook Pro in 2019.
The latest 15-inch MacBook Pro had a 15.4-inch screen and dimensions of 13.75 inches (34.93 cm) x 9.48 inches (24.07 cm) x 0.61 inches (1.55 cm). The newer model will have smaller bezels like the M2 MacBook Air, so the screen could be larger. For example, the M2 MacBook Air has a slightly larger 13.6-inch screen than the 13.3-inch display in the MacBook Pro and M1 MacBook Air, but the dimensions are practically identical.
However, Apple could go smaller instead. Analyst Ross Young, who correctly predicted the M2 Air’s 13.6-inch screen, suggested in March 2022 that the screen in this new model would be 15.2 inches. This will be about a quarter of an inch smaller than the 15-inch MacBook Pro and much smaller in stature, likely measuring about 12.5 inches by 8.75 inches. Along with smaller bezels, the new 15-inch display will likely feature a notch and have a slim profile of less than half an inch. Later reports stated that the painting would measure 15.5 inches.
While there were rumors that the MacBook Air would have a small LED display in 2022, Apple chose to use a similar LCD panel for its redesigned laptop. So it looks like the ProMotion mini-LED technology will be specific to the higher-end MacBook Pro models, so it’s likely that the new 15-inch MacBook Air won’t offer either feature. Additionally, Apple may be planning to upgrade OLED in 2024, according to analyst Ross Young, so don’t expect this technology until next year.
We assume that the 15-inch MacBook Air will come in colors other than silver and space gray like the 13-inch model. We haven’t heard rumors about specific options, though there have been previous rumors about a green version of the M2 MacBook Air that never materialized.
15-inch MacBook Air: Specifications
We don’t know much about the specifications of this new laptop, but Kuo tweeted in June that Apple may offer two CPU options: the M2 as in the new MacBook Air, and the M2 Pro option. The M2 Pro is currently only available on the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro and Mac mini models.
If Kuo is correct, it’s hard to believe that the new laptop will be marketed as the MacBook Air. The Air equipped with the M2 Pro will require at least one fan for cooling, as with the higher-end Pros, or substantial changes to the air’s thermal design, likely resulting in a thicker casing. So it’s possible Kuo was wrong or his source confused the 15-inch MacBook Air with another laptop.
Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman expects the 15-inch MacBook Air to ship with an M2 chip, and possibly an M2 Pro chip. He feels that “the 15-inch MacBook Air with the M2 chip may still get consumers excited,” but also notes that the MacBook Air may soon ship with the M3 chip. More here.
In terms of other features, we expect this new model to be similar to the 13-inch Air. It will likely feature 256GB of storage and 8GB of RAM on the entry-level model with 512GB, 1TB, 16GB, and 24GB options. It is also likely to have a MagSafe charging port, two Thunderbolt 4 ports, as well as a 1080p FaceTime camera. Finally, the new Air will likely ship with Apple’s new 35W dual-port adapter.