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MacBook Air 2021 rumored release date, price and specs

MacBook Air 2021 concept
(Image credit: Devam Jangra/YouTube)

The rumors around the MacBook Air 2021 are starting to gather pace as we get closer to the fall where Apple is expected to take the covers off a suite of next-gen products. 

After the success of the MacBook Air with M1, Apple will have a challenge to drive it's affordable laptop forwards. But there's still room for improvement, especially as the MacBook Air's design is looking a little long in the tooth compared to ultraportable laptop from the likes of Dell and Asus.

Current rumors point towards a new designs with thinner display bezels and a whole suite of new colors. So read on for everything we know so far about the MacBook Air 2021. 

MacBook Air 2021 news and rumors (updated July 7)

MacBook Air 2021 rumored release date

According to Apple insider Mark Gurman of Bloomberg, the newly redesigned MacBook Air will either go on sale in the second half of 2021 or early 2022 at the latest. Gurman has a history of releasing deep Apple intel, much of which often turns out to be true. 

Given that Apple added a new CPU to last year's model, this year could be the perfect time to pair that new chip with an updated design. While we strongly feel that 2021 will be the year of a new MacBook Air design, the ongoing effects of the coronavirus pandemic might hinder manufacturing plans.

MacBook Air 2021 price speculation

The MacBook Air has always been the more affordable option when entering into the Mac family. However, while the current Air will likely continue to start at $999, the redesigned model will reportedly sit at a higher price tier.

MacBook Air 2021 design

MacBook Air 2021 concept

(Image credit: Devam Jangra)

The reason why you should hold out for the MacBook Air 2021 over the current MacBook Air with M1 is that it's looking to be a significant design upgrade. 

Apart from MagSafe Charging that's reportedly being reintroduced to the entire MacBook lineup, the 2021 Air will reportedly be lighter as well. The current MacBook Air weighs in at 2.8 pounds, bit several Windows laptops weigh less, such as the 2.6-pound Dell XPS 13

MacBook Air 2021 concept Touch ID

(Image credit: Devam Jangra)

The MacBook Air continues to feature a chunky border around its display, a jarring inclusion considering other high-end laptops are almost bezel-less. But Bloomberg reports that Apple will make the Air smaller by "shrinking the border around the screen."

Some, it seems, are hoping that Apple will take inspiration from its new iMac 2021 lineup. These renders of super-colorful MacBook Airs are pretty neat, and breathe new life into the MacBook Air.

MacBook Air 2021 concept

(Image credit: Devam Jangra)

As for fans hoping for a 15-inch iteration of the 2021 MacBook Air, there's bad news. According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, a 15-inch model was being considered, but those plans have been put on the back burner. 

A recent leak form regular Apple tipster Jon Prosser has claimed that the MacBook Air 2021 will come in a brace of fresh colors, adding in blue and green to the mix of silver, gray and gold.

MacBook Air 2021 MagSafe charging

MacBook Air 2021 concept MagSafe

(Image credit: Devam Jangra)

For longtime MacBook fans, MagSafe charging was seen as a defining feature, one that separated Apple from PCs. Unfortunately, Apple removed MagSafe following fire safety concerns and a switch to USB Type-C. 

Rumor is that Apple is bringing MagSafe back to its laptops, and we strongly believe it'll trickle down to the redesigned MacBook Air 2021. It's likely that users will be able to charge with both MagSafe and USB Type-C charging, just like other laptops that have proprietary charge plugs. 

MacBook Air 2021 specs

Last year, Apple introduced its new M1 chip to the MacBook Air. Reviewers were stunned at the level of performance Apple's new ARM-based chip provided, especially for an ultrabook. 

There are two potential outcomes for a 2021 MacBook Air: a slightly upgraded M1 chip or the rumored M1X. 

Given that the MacBook Air is a thin-and-light machine, there's less room inside for cooling and heat dissipation. For this reason, we believe the new Air will receive a slightly upgraded M1 chip over the M1X. At the moment, the M1X is rumored to be coming in this year's MacBook Pro. Apple will likely want to reserve its most powerful laptop processor for the Pro line. 

However, a recent leak has claimed that Apple has booked production of a new M2 chip, set for use its next-gen MacBooks. It's slated to use a 4-nanometer process node, which could be the upgraded version of the M1 or a completely new chipset. According to one rumor, the M2 chip may debut with the Macbook Air 2021, rather than the next wave of MacBook Pros.

The 2021 MacBook Air will likely feature specs similar to the 2020 model. That includes 8GB of RAM, a 256 or 512 GB SSD, a Retina display with True Tone, Magic Keyboard, Touch ID, and two USB 4.0 ports.

MacBook Air 2021: What we want to see

A sharper webcam: The MacBook Air currently features a 720p webcam, which is not very sharp. We would much prefer a full HD (1080p) webcam for sharper images. 

More colors: Right now Apple offers three colors for the MacBook Air in gold, silver and space gray. We say it's time to shake things up. Perhaps Apple should take inspiration from the iPad Air, which comes in silver, space gray, rose gold, green and sky blue. 

More ports: While we don't see this changing, it doesn't hurt to wish for it. The MacBook Air packs two Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports and a headphone jack. It would be nice to see a full-size USB-A port or even an SD Card slot, though we hear the latter is coming to the new MacBook Pro 2021.

Thinner bezels: Apple finally woke up to thiner bezels with the 16-inch MacBook Pro but since then it has not updated the design of the Air. We say trim those borders so you can get the same screen real estate in a smaller chassis. 

Imad Khan

Imad Khan is news editor at Tom’s Guide, helping direct the day’s breaking coverage. Prior to working at the site, Imad was a full-time freelancer, with bylines at the New York Times, the Washington Post and ESPN. Outside of work, you can find him sitting blankly in front of a Word document trying desperately to write the first pages of a new book.