MacBook Air 15-inch should make 13-inch MacBook Pro irrelevant — here's why

MacBook Air M2 2022
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Apple is tipped to launch a MacBook Air 15-inch at WWDC 2023 next month, which would see the Cupertino crew make a return to offering more than one size of its Air machine. 

While I have the 13-inch MacBook Air M2 and utterly love the little laptop, I’m all for a larger Air. The current model is great for taking on trips and quickly working on the move, but for everyday use, an extra couple of inches wouldn’t hurt. 

This was the case with recent generations of the Surface Laptop, which added a 15-inch model to go alongside the 13-inch version. All Microsoft really did was boost the screen size while keeping the specs the same. This meant the laptop didn’t rival the likes of the Dell XPS 15 in terms of specs. But it didn't have to, as the 15-inch Surface was aimed at people who just wanted a lovely everyday laptop with a larger display; it also meant Microsoft's notebook was reasonably light and well-priced. 

I’m positive a 15-inch MacBook Air could replicate this on the macOS side of the laptop world while having the added benefit of Apple's very capable M2 chip. That chip has impressed me given I can run some demanding games on the latest MacBook Air. But in a bigger chassis, better performance could be a possibility as there would be more space for passive cooling. 

So if the rumors prove to be correct, a 15-inch MacBook Air will get the thumbs up from me. 

No, Mr MacBook Pro 13, I expect you to die

MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022) sitting on a desk —MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022) review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

But that leaves the question of what would happen to the MacBook Pro 13-inch? Sporting an M2 chip but with active cooling, the cheapest Pro Mac can outperform the Air. Yet, it also doesn't have the wallet-clenching price tags of the 14-inch MacBook Pro and the 16-inch MacBook Pro.

On paper, this sounds great for people who want a bit more power or performance that can be sustained for longer thanks to the inclusion of a fan. But that doesn't change the fact that 13-inch MacBook Pro looks pretty homely.

Ok, I exaggerate for effect. But the design of the Pro is pretty long in the tooth compared to the Air and the more expensive Pros. Sure they have the slightly odd display notch, but I’d take that over chunky bezels any day. 

And overall the 13-inch MacBook Pro just looks a bit tired. It feels as if Apple simply threw in an M2 chip for the heck of it at 5 p.m. on a Friday before heading to the pub or... a juice bar. 

As a company known for slick industrial design, this has always irked me. I felt the same when the MacBook Air M1, which got the first Apple Silicon chip but still used a laptop design from 2018 — that’s ancient in tech terms.

So it's my hope that Apple uses the MacBook Air 15-inch as not only a way to breathe fresh air into its thin and light laptops but also to kill off the 13-inch MacBook Pro. 

With the aforementioned potential for better cooling and hopefully an appealing price, I can’t see any reason why Apple would keep the 13-inch Pro in the face of a 15-inch Air. After all the Pro felt like it struggled to justify its existence against the Air M2, outside of a particular niche of users.

My hope is such a move will introduce the latest laptop design language into the MacBook range and lead Apple to innovate from there. Given that are all manner of interesting MacBook-centric patents, I’m hoping we see some really smart laptop designs from Apple in the coming years.

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Roland Moore-Colyer

Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.