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MacBook Air 2021 leak just revealed radical changes

MacBook Air 2021 leaks
(Image credit: Getty Images)

An updated MacBook Air could arrive later this year with with MagSafe charging, thinner bezels and next Apple silicone chip, according to a new report.

The company's popular, lightweight laptop is slated for a significant refresh, said Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Gurman, an Apple tipster, identifies his sources as people familiar with upcoming MacBook Air plans. They believe the new laptop will be a "higher-end version" of the MacBook Air M1 that launched in November.  

Unlike the M1 model, which boasts MacBook Pro-like power and great battery life, the rumored top-shelf model will sport Apple's bygone magnetic charging system. MagSafe ports have likely prevented many-a falling MacBook accidents, but the more detachable charging method vanished when Apple switched to universal USB-C ports. 

Sources added that the new MacBook Air will receive a set of USB 4 ports for connecting external devices. The MacBook Air M1 already offers dual Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports, so it's unclear whether notable upgrades are coming to the port array.

The next MacBook Air could also be lighter than its predecessor. According to Gurman's sources, Apple is looking to further shrink the Air's design. While making the 2.8-pound laptop lighter would be an impressive feat, instead Apple could opt for optics and finally narrow the MacBook Air's bezels.

Apparently the company considered creating a new 15-inch MacBook Air, too. However, Gurman's sources said that those plans have stalled.

For now, we can expect the refreshed, 13-inch MacBook Air with a next-gen chip this year "at the earliest," although 2022 might be a more realistic launch target. The M1 impressed throughout Apple's most recent MacBook lineup, so we're itching to see how the company's upgraded computer powerhouse will benefit performance.

Kate Kozuch

Kate Kozuch is a senior writer at Tom’s Guide covering wearables, TVs and everything smart-home related. When she’s not in cyborg mode, you can find her on an exercise bike or channeling her inner celebrity chef. She and her robot army will rule the world one day, but until then, reach her at kate.kozuch@futurenet.com.