After launching a redesigned MacBook Air with a 13.6-inch display and M2 processor in the summer of 2022, Apple is reportedly working on a new, larger, model. According to many reports, Apple is developing a 15-inch Air for the first time, which can be launched in 2023. This is a project with a very long history: As revealed in the documentation used by Apple and Epic court battle, Steve Jobs discussed a 15-inch MacBook Air until 2007, before the release of the 13-inch MacBook Air 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.
Got a 15-inch MacBook Air? Latest news
In his newsletter on March 5 Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman indicated that mass production of displays continues and the 15-inch MacBook Air could be announced in March, with a release in April. More on that below.
In a tweet on February 13, Ross Young of Display Supply Chain Consultants said that the 15.5-inch panel for the new MacBook Air entered production. Given the usual timeframe for such a thing, it suggests a launch in early April of 2023.
In a January 2023 Power On newsletter, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman wrote that the 15-inch MacBook Air could be a “major saving grace for the Mac lineup,” in 2023. This isn’t the first we’ve heard of more large MacBook Air. : Gurman and others have long been sharing details of an unreleased Mac laptop.
Gurman first wrote in January 2021 that Apple was exploring the idea of a 15-inch MacBook Air. Gurman’s sources suggested that Apple wants to introduce this new model to increase its share of the laptop market with more models and more options for consumers.
Then in March 2022, DSCC CEO Ross Young said that this new 15-inch model will be a variant of the MacBook Air and not replace the current model.
Following that report, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also tweeted about a 15-inch MacBook, indicating that this new model could arrive in 2023 and that it might offer a you M2 Pro chip. Interestingly, Kuo, unlike Gurman and Young, does not call it MacBook Air, but calls it MacBook.
15-inch MacBook Air: Release date
Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman briefly suggested that the new MacBook Air could see a launch in spring 2023. This could mean a March or April launch–Apple always holds a Spring Event: like a for the 24-inch iMac in 2021. Display analyst Ross Young says the panel entered production in February, suggesting an early April launch. Analyst Ming Chi Kuo also indicated that the 15-inch MacBook Air will arrive in the second quarter of 2023 or later.
Alternatively, we could see Apple announcing new Macs without an event, instead issuing press releases to announce new products, as it did with iPads in 2022.
Gurman’s March 5 newsletter suggests that the 15-inch MacBook Air with M2 or M2 Pro “could be announced in March (likely with a flashy site update and not a live event), with release in early April.”
Another possibility is that Apple will unveil the new MacBook Air at WWDC 2023 in June. Gurman said that the M2 chips will be introduced at WWDC in 2022 and that could mean we will see the M3 chips at the June event. In that case: “Having the new MacBook Air sport the M3 can also be understood from a time perspective.”
15-inch MacBook Air: Price
To get an idea of how Apple is pricing the new 15-inch MacBook Air, we can look at the prices of Apple’s current line of Mac laptops.
- 13-inch M2 MacBook Air: $1,199/£1,249 or $1,499/£1,549.
- 13-inch M2 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
Looking at that line the first challenge was working out where the new 15-inch MacBook would sit. Assuming it’s a MacBook Air without a fan, the introduction of a 15-inch MacBook as a replacement for the 13-inch MacBook Pro makes a lot of sense. If that’s the case we expect the price to be significantly less 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 higher-end model, it could start as high as $1,799, the starting price for the original MacBook Air in 2008.
Note that we may see prices increase when new Macs are introduced. In October 2022 Apple raised the prices of iPads outside the US 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, although an 11-inch model was added in 2010 and discontinued in 2015. So offering two sizes on the MacBook Air will not happen before.
It’s also not 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 final model of the 15-inch MacBook Pro has 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 has smaller bezels like the M2 MacBook Air, so the screen can be bigger. For example, the M2 MacBook Air has a slightly larger 13.6-inch display compared to the 13.3-inch display of the MacBook Pro and M1 MacBook Air, but the dimensions are almost identical.
However, Apple may be smaller. Analyst Ross Young, who correctly predicted the 13.6-inch display of the M2 Air, suggested in March 2022 that the screen of this new model will measure 15.2 inches. That will be about a quarter-inch smaller than the 15-inch MacBook Pro and significantly smaller in size, likely measuring about 12.5 inches x 8.75 inches. With small bezels, the new 15-inch display will likely have a notch and have a thin profile of less than half an inch. Later reports say the panel will measure 15.5 inches.
While there are rumors that the MacBook Air will get a mini-LED display in 2022, Apple has chosen to use a similar LCD panel for the redesigned laptop. So it seems that the ProMotion mini-LED tech is reserved for the higher end MacBook Pro models so the new 15-inch MacBook Air probably won’t offer any feature. In addition, Apple may be planning an OLED upgrade in 2024, according to analyst Ross Young, so don’t expect this technology until next year.
We believe the 15-inch MacBook Air will come in colors other than silver and space gray like the 13-inch model. We haven’t heard any rumors about specific options, although there were earlier rumors about a green version of the M2 MacBook Air that never materialized.
15-inch MacBook Air: Specifications
We don’t know about the new laptop’s specs, but Kuo tweeted in June that Apple might offer two CPU options: an M2 like the new MacBook Air and an M2 option Prof. The M2 Pro is currently only offered in the 14-inch and 16-inch models of the MacBook Pro and Mac mini.
If Kuo is right, it’s hard to believe that the new laptop will be sold as a MacBook Air. An Air equipped with an M2 Pro requires at least one fan for cooling, like the higher-end Pros, or many changes to the Air’s thermal design, likely resulting in a more thick case. So it’s possible that Kuo made a mistake 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, and perhaps an M2 Pro chip. He feels that “A 15-inch MacBook Air with an M2 chip can still excite consumers”, but he also noted the possibility that the MacBook Air will soon ship with an M3 chip. More here.
For other features, we expect this new model to be the same as the 13-inch Air. It will likely have 256GB of storage and 8GB of RAM in the entry-level model with 512GB and 1TB, and 16GB and 24GB options. It may also have a MagSafe charging port and two Thunderbolt 4 ports as well as a 1080p FaceTime camera. Finally, the new Air will likely ship with Apple’s new dual-port 35W adapter.