Apple WWDC 2022 is coming June 6 and it’s got me thinking about what I’d like to see next from the tech giant. And while it’s a software-centric event, my mind can’t help getting pulled towards Apple’s hardware, specifically the rumored MacBook Air 2022.
It’s been nearly two years since we saw the debut of the MacBook Air M1, and while the brand-new Apple M1 chip blew us and a lot of the tech community away at the time, the aged design of the MacBook Air left something to be desired. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an attractive laptop with killer performance in a compact package, it’s just looks a bit basic compared to some of the best Windows laptops, notably the Dell XPS 13.
And aside from the chip upgrade, Apple seems to have rather ignored the Air. The MacBook Pro got a redesign, now coming in 14-inch and 16-inch models, as well as the powerful new M1 Pro and M1 Max chips. Add to that rumors of a cheaper MacBook Pro 2022 with the equally rumored Apple M2 chip, and it would seem the MacBook Air is getting somewhat ignored in favor of swanky ‘professional-grade’ machines.
In fact, Digitimes (opens in new tab) reports that the MacBook Air is being pushed to the second half of the year (opens in new tab) due to "higher than expected" shipment volumes of the MacBook Pro line.
If that is the case, it would be a shame. While I’m currently a Windows user, I gave a MacBook Air a spin a good few years ago when I was but a green tech journalist blinking in the bright lights of phone launches and Apple showcases.
It was one of the archaic 11-inch models with the hefty display bezels. But the combination of the slick macOS experience and a killer keyboard (it’s now been surpassed by the excellent keyboard on the Microsoft Surface Laptop 4) turned this fledgling reporter into someone who could turn around news at a fast clip.
That MacBook Air and subsequent models were never powerhouse machines, but they were near-perfect for everyday computing when you just want to get stuff done without some of the quirks of Windows or the occasionally inconsistent experience of using Windows laptops. Granted, the move to the Butterfly keyboard, which Apple mercifully backed away from eventually, did hamper the Air experience. But the idea of a compact but capable macOS laptop has always appealed to me.
I’ve held fire getting the M1-equipped MacBook Air due to it not sporting the design features I'm after. I want to see the screen bezels get trimmed down, have more port options than just USB-C and perhaps see an evolution of the LCD Retina display.
This is what the rumors around the MacBook Air 2022 are promising, perhaps even bringing in the display notch of the newer MacBook Pro models. But so far all we’ve heard is hints at what specs a new Air could have, some concept renders, and the idea it’ll be powered by the M2 chip that still remains a rumor. There haven't been any leaked images of dummy units or prototypes either.
As such, the MacBook Air 2022 for me still exists as a bit of wishful thinking. But I really hope that I’m proven stunningly wrong.
While the iPad Pro and now the new iPad Air 2022 both have M1 chips and are doing passable impressions of pseudo laptops, having briefly used one last weekend the latter tablet is far from being a legitimate laptop replacement.
Equally, I have no need or desire to cough up some $2,000 plus for the new MacBook Pros, as all that power is far too much for my use. Rather, I want a macOS laptop that offers enough performance to handle multiple Chrome tabs and an ever-squawking Slack, yet also enough battery life to survive a day away from a power outlet.
As such, I think WWDC 2022 would be a perfect time for Apple to reveal such a machine. Not only could Cupertino wax lyrical about macOS improvements, it could also showcase an affordable laptop for people to experience them on.
And launching the MacBook Air 2022 in the summer would mean it’s not overshadowed by the predicted September reveal of the iPhone 14. It would also arrive at a time when students are prepping for a return to school or college.
Again, this could be wishful thinking on my part, as Apple has rarely revealed new hardware at WWDC, but I remain hopeful. And I really hope Apple will give the MacBook Air the attention it deserves this year… please Tim Cook, pretty please with an Apple on top.