Skip to main content

MacBook Air 2021 release date, price, design, specs and leaks

MacBook Air
(Image credit: Future)

MacBook Air 2021 rumors have already begun surfacing. It's welcome news, because while we love the recent MacBook Air with M1, there's still plenty of room for improvement. 

At the moment, there isn't a ton of intel on this year's MacBook Air just yet, but we have on good authority that a major refresh is coming. New additions include the return of MagSafe charging, a feature that's not only available on the iPhone 12, but is rumored to be coming to MacBook Pro 2021 as well. 

We've also heard that the new MacBook Air should be lighter with (hopefully) thinner display bezels. Here's what we know so far about the MacBook Air 2021. 

MacBook Air 2021 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

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

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

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.

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

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.

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.