WWDC 2023 promises to be one of Apple’s biggest developer conferences to date. As well as the introduction of iOS 17 and the company’s first mixed-reality headset, we’re fully expecting Apple to introduce its largest ultrathin laptop to date: the 15-inch MacBook Air.
Now there’s more evidence to suggest it won’t just be an introduction, but a laptop that’ll be on store shelves not long after Apple wraps up its keynote in June.
A research note from Morgan Stanley analyst Erik Woodring seen by MacRumors states Quanta Computer — a supplier of Apple products — is looking at single-digit growth in the quantity of notebook computers it assembles in the second quarter of 2023.
Woodring believes this increase is driven — at least in part — by new MacBooks hitting stores in the near future, and the 15-inch version feels like a solid bet considering the various other rumors and leaks surrounding it.
With the second quarter of the year ending on June 30 — 25 days after Apple’s WWDC keynote wraps up — it feels likely that the biggest ever MacBook Airs will be on laps and desks next month.
15-inch MacBook Air: What are we expecting?
Currently, the MacBook Air is only available with a 13-inch screen. If you want something bigger, you need to stump up a lot more money for a 14- or 16-inch MacBook Pro.
Apple's rumored 15-inch MacBook Air seems like an attempt to bridge that gap: a larger-screened, super portable device for those that don’t need the Pro features of Apple’s most expensive laptops. That likely means no high refresh-rate ProMotion screen, fewer ports and weaker audio, among other cutbacks compared to the Pro models.
Other than having a larger 15.2-inch panel, you can likely expect the 15-inch MacBook Air to look like a larger version of the current 13.6-inch MacBook Air M2 (pictured above), complete with thin bezels, a camera notch and a flat design without the tapered edges that define previous generation Airs.
Unfortunately, we’re not expecting a performance upgrade to go alongside the bigger screen. While Apple launched the M2 chip at last year’s WWDC, the M3 is said to be a bit further behind, so we’re expecting configurations with last year’s chip, as an optional upgrade to the M2 Pro chip is currently only available on the 2022 MacBook Pro and 2022 Mac mini.
The M2 remains a powerful chip, however, putting up a decent fight against the 12th-generation Intel Core i7 CPU. While it can't quite win on raw speed, it's significantly more energy efficient, which translates to a battery that'll go on and on.
Our discussions with analysts suggest the 15-inch laptop that’ll start somewhere in the $1,299 to $1,499 range. But that’s a guesstimate, and we’ll just have to see what Apple announces when WWDC gets underway in just over two weeks' time.