In brief: An updated MacBook Air is still on track for release later this year, with mass production set to start in the coming months. However, it might not come with an M2 chip or a Mini LED display as previously expected. MagSafe is still in the cards along with a refreshed chassis design which will be available in more colors.
Apple’s Peek Performance event saw the introduction of the Mac Studio, a new desktop Mac powered by a gigantic M1 Ultra chipset and compact enough to fit below a monitor like the new 27-inch Studio Display — or pretty much any of the best monitors out there. The 27-inch Intel-powered iMac now appears to be discontinued, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be seeing an Apple Silicon version sometime in the future.
The company is still expected to unveil a new MacBook Air later this year with an updated design that is more in line with the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro, as well as the new M1-powered iPad Air. That means we’ll likely see a slightly thicker, flat-edged design, and it’s been rumored that Apple will offer more color options similar to the 24-inch iMac.
While previous rumors suggested Apple might debut a new M2 chipset with the upcoming MacBook Air, renowned analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes the company will instead go with an updated version of the M1 chip. Apple has a habit of adding more GPU cores to its A-series GPUs, so it’s possible it will do the same with the M1 chip.
With the M1 series, the company has continued to scale the original design all the way up to the M1 Ultra, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a beefed-up M1 design with a few extra GPU cores while the M2 design is being finalized.
Furthermore, Kuo says the new MacBook Air won’t come with a Mini LED display. This could have offered deeper blacks similar to an OLED screen, but a standard LCD display might also mean there won’t be a notch like with the 14-inch MacBook Pro.
Apple reportedly considered making a 15-inch MacBook Air with a slightly larger footprint than the current MacBook Air, but that’s never gone beyond the concept stage. It’s possible this idea will be revisited in the future, especially if Apple can figure out a way to further reduce the bezels around the display.
Mass production of the new MacBook Air is expected to start sometime in Q2 or Q3 this year, so we'll likely learn more in the coming months.